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Uplifting

Former Green Beret Sentenced To A Night In Jail, But What The Judge Does Next Will Blow You Away

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Judge Lou Olivera doesn’t have an easy job.

Sure, it’s great to be the one to hand down justice to an unrepentant criminal or someone who poses a serious danger to society. Still, judges have hearts like anyone else and there are just as many instances where a judge like Olivera is forced to sentence someone they truly wish they could help.

Olivera, district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County, North Carolina, showed the world his kind heart after he was forced to sentence former Green Beret Joe Serna for probation violation.

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As a Gulf War veteran, Olivera is no stranger to the life-altering experience of combat. He’s seen plenty, placing him in a unique position to serve both his community and his fellow servicemen as a judge.

When Serna’s case came before him, Olivera was deeply moved.

Serna, a three-tour veteran of the war in Afghanistan and two-time Purple Heart recipient, is one of the innumerable veterans who find themselves suffering from PTSD and unable to cope back home.

For many veterans like Serna, alcohol or drugs seem to be waiting with open arms, offering false comfort and sending them on a downward spiral of self-destruction. The Veterans Treatment Court exists to serve veterans fighting this kind of battle, and it became Judge Olivera’s mission to make a difference in Serna’s life.

Serna was arrested for drunk driving a few years before this court date. One condition of his probation was that he was strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol. But when Serna lied about a recent urine test, Olivera couldn’t just let it slide.

“I gave Joe a night in jail because he had to be held accountable,” Olivera recounted to CBS.

Later on, when Serna entered his cell for the night, terrible memories came flooding back into his mind, memories of the event that sparked his PTSD.

“When I walked into the jail cell, and they closed the door behind me, I started feeling this anxiety,” Serna said. “It came back—a flashback.”

As an Army Sargent First Class, Serna survived an IED and a suicide bomber during his time in Afghanistan, but that wasn’t the event that shook him. Instead, it was a simple truck ride with three other men in his company that proved to be the most horrific event of his life.

“We were following the creek and the road gave way,” Serna recalled, tearfully, “And the vehicle went into the creek.”

As the water began rising in the truck, Serna found himself stuck and totally unable to move. The water rose up to his chin before finally subsiding and, tragically, he was the only one to leave that truck alive. Because of this incident, Serna not only suffers from PTSD, but extreme claustrophobia.

Judge Olivera, however, wasn’t finished with Serna. “I knew what Joe was going through and I knew Joe’s history. And he had to be held accountable,” Olivera said, “but I just felt I had to go with him. I felt I had to go with him.”

Within a few minutes of being locked up, Serna received the surprise of a lifetime when Judge Olivera walked through the door to join him for the night.

“We talked about our families,” Serna said, smiling. “The walls didn’t exist anymore. He brought me back to North Carolina from being in a truck in Afghanistan.”

“He is a judge, but that night, he was my battle buddy,” Serna said. “He knew what I was going through. As a warrior, he connected.”

And, just like that, Olivera, who saw his brother-in-arms struggling, lifted him up and carried him through the night, and hopefully sparked a change leading to a brighter future for Serna.

 

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Uplifting

WATCH: You Won’t Believe The Way This McDonald’s Customer Just Blessed His Favorite Drive-Through Server

The way he decided to bless her will blow your mind.

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Over the last few decades, as fast food joints seem to replace small mom and pop shops nationwide, we often find ourselves lamenting that community and human connection have gone the way of small businesses.

This is, of course, very true in many ways, but that doesn’t mean that the people behind the counter at franchizes belonging to multinational corporations aren’t human and we can’t develop friendships and strong connections with those who serve us our egg McMuffins and coffee in the morning.

Clearly, a strong friendship was formed between Kansas drive-through server Vicki Anderson and local businessman Chris Ellis when Ellis caught wind that Anderson’s car had recently broken down.

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But the way he decided to bless her will blow your mind.

Fox News has the story:

[Anderson’s] vehicle — a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra — broke down a few months ago, and Anderson was informed it would cost $500 to repair. The price was more than the car was reportedly worth, according to [The Witchita Eagle]

It just so happened that Ellis’ son, Josh, was selling his 2009 Pontiac GS.

“Fate looked me in the eye when she told me that story,” Ellis told The Wichita Eagle. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it. . . . I said, ‘I have to do something.’”

Ellis decided to purchase the car from Josh so he could gift it to Anderson.

Ellis, who also had the car cleaned and its oil changed and tires rotated, drove the vehicle to Hutchinson Wednesday with his son to surprise the Golden Arches worker.

When they arrived, the two asked Anderson to come out to the parking lot, where they surprised her with the car.

“I didn’t know what to think,” she said of her reaction.

Check out her emotional reaction. Can you imagine getting a gift like this?

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Uplifting

Homeless Man’s Dogs Distraught as Their Master is Taken to Hospital. What They Did Next Is Amazing.

Time and time again, dogs demonstrate why they have always been known as man’s best friend.

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Time and time again, dogs demonstrate why they have always been known as man’s best friend.

There really is nothing quite like the bond developed between master and loyal dog, which likely comes from their own instinct to be part of a pack.

Any dog owner knows that when you have pups, they see you as their pack leader, and things are never quite right when the pack is split up.

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This is precisely what the five loyal dogs belonging to a Brazilian man who lives in the streets demonstrated in an incredibly touching way recently, when their human pack leader was taken to the hospital and they held vigil outside.

Fox News reports:

The man, only identified as Luiz by local media, suffered a stroke last week in the southern city of Cianorte. He was taken to the Santa Cara hospital for treatment, where he was discharged a day later.

His loyal pups followed the ambulance taking their owner away and then spent hours howling outside of the hospital. They kept vigil outside the front door of the hospital, Brazilian newspaper G1 reported.

“The dogs were desperate,” Simone Zilane, a volunteer with the NGO organization Amigos de Patas Cianorte, told G1. “They followed the ambulance, racing after it down the roads and arrived just as Luis was being taken into the hospital. They went mad as they took him and howled non-stop at the entrance.”

Zilane, who photographed the pups, said Luiz was discharged a day later – the dogs none the wiser as he left with his brother through another exit.

“One of our volunteers from the NGO had to fetch Luiz at his brother’s house and take him to where the dogs were for them to leave the front [of the hospital],” Zilane added. “He hadn’t realized they were outside all this time, but he wasn’t too surprised.”

Amigos de Patas explains that Luiz has been living on the streets for over two decades, and refuses to live with his brother or accept a permanent home.

He says that his home is in the streets, and the one time he tried living in a house, his dogs, who had been taken to a shelter, jumped the fence and found him.

With a loyal pack like his, one can imagine Luiz certainly has all the love and companionship he could ask for no matter where he lays his head!

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