It’s always touching when families get to pass down their passions and talents to the next generation. Some family members inspire a love of special hobbies, skills, or even knowledge that could give them a boost in their careers.
In the case of one grandpa, the love of music he passed on to his granddaughter manifested itself in an incredibly beautiful way.
Chera Willett was cleaning out her garage one day when she and her husband stumbled upon a box of papers. Inside, Chera found something that made her heart skip a beat: the lyrics her dad, Mike Brook, wrote to a song many, many years ago.
Brook, according to The Western Journal, had wanted to join the army when he was 21, but he’d been held back due to injuries from playing football and partial deafness.
Into the 1980s, Brook had heard many incredible stories about veterans of the Vietnam War. Inspired by their heroism, he fashioned their experiences into a beautiful song Chera remembers him singing to her as a child.
“To us, it is a childhood memory of my dad putting his heart into the lyrics of a song and crying as he sang it,” Chera said of her tearjerking discovery. Chera then had the idea to turn this special memory into a beautiful gift for her dad.
Chera’s daughter, Karli Willett, takes after her grandpa Mike in the music department. As a fledgling singer-songwriter, Chera thought her daughter would be the perfect person to breathe new life into Mike’s lyrics.
“My daughter being a singer and songwriter, I immediately had the idea to finish the song and record it as a surprise for Christmas for my Dad,” Chera recalled. “It was a precious moment.”
In a Facebook post sharing her side of the story, Karli recalled the excitement of getting to cover a song that meant so much to her family.
“My Paw Paw wrote a song wayyyyyy before I was born. He wrote this when my mom was a little girl,” the young musician wrote. “My mom broke down in tears as she remembered the song. For Christmas I decided to surprise my Paw Paw and record his song.”
“This meant so much to me,” Karli continued in her post, sharing in her grandpa’s spirit of honoring those who have served. “This is a story told about a Vietnam Veteran. THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR VETERANS!!”
So, on Christmas Eve, Chera and Karli had made all the finishing touches and perfected a recording of Mike’s song to surprise him with. As they began to play the recording, Mike’s face absolutely lit up with joy upon hearing the first few lyrics to his song.
“This is a simple home recording and I hope it touches your heart the way it has mine,” Karli wrote, wrapping up her Facebook post about the patriotic song.
Chera and Karli’s love for “Paw Paw”, as well as the whole family’s honor and appreciation of the brave men and women who have given their lives for freedom, definitely have touched our hearts.
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Former Green Beret Sentenced To A Night In Jail, But What The Judge Does Next Will Blow You Away
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.
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.
WATCH: A Group of Strangers Work Together to Save Puppies From Pet Store Inferno
The incredible lengths even a stranger off the street will go to in order to save a life, even when their efforts may put their own lives at risk, never cease to amaze.
When a fire broke out at Puppy Love, a pet store in Danbury, Connecticut, 86 terrified puppies were trapped in the blaze.
According to San Antonio Express-News, the call came in around 9 pm that the building had caught fire, and firefighters arrived on the scene in just two minutes. A second alarm was called in right away, but the firefighters knew they had to act quickly to rescue the animals inside.
“Chief, we gotta get the animals out,” one firefighter was overheard saying.
That’s when concerned members of the Danbury community started coming out of the woodwork to help rescue the howling dogs inside Puppy Love.
Civilians stopped their cars in the street, diners at neighboring restaurants got up from their seats, and even the manager of a nearby bar ran to the scene to break into the building and start pulling out crates containing the helpless, whimpering pups.
Even with brave citizens boldly smashing windows to rescue dogs in their crates, the sheer volume of animals inside forced them to come up with another plan.
With the heaviest flames still at the back of the building, the incredible crew of firefighters and civilians quickly formed a “human chain” to pull the dogs out of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Williams said.
Thanks to their bravery, all 86 dogs and puppies were safely evacuated from the building and no injuries to animal or human were reported.
Sean Silverman, who co-owns Puppy Love with his wife, Nancy, revealed that the fire originated at a pole barn behind the store owned by a local utility company.
The Silvermans made their immense gratitude to the community who rallied behind them known in a recent Facebook post.
“We want to thank all of the Danbury Fire Department, City of Danbury Police Department, many veterinarian staff of Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital and South Salem Animal Hospital, staff of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza and the whole community of Danbury and beyond for reaching out and helping the Puppy Love family!”
“All of our puppies are safe, warm and happily ate an extra dinner tonight,” they continued. “Stanziatos was kind enough to open their doors to us so our puppies have temporary housing while our store can be cleaned and be put back to order.”
This fire could have been a heartrending tragedy, but thank goodness for the brave firefighters and civilians who risked their own lives to give this story a happy ending.
Democratic Senator Says We’re Headed Toward INDICTMENT of POTUS!
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Nancy’s Lame Excuse for Trying to Cancel SOTU Gets ROASTED Online
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