Feature

A veteran's toughest battle, and more

Ed Bray is a WWII veteran with two Purple Hearts and a dozen other medals, but the toughest battle he ever fought has been with illiteracy.

A veteran's toughest battleEd Bray is a WWII veteran with two Purple Hearts and a dozen other medals, but the toughest battle he ever fought has been with illiteracy. The war hero, 89, kept his inability to read or write secret for eight decades. But since his wife died in 2009, Bray has been learning, and last week he read his first-ever book, a third-grade-level biography of George Washington. He hopes his story will encourage other secret illiterates to get help. “Get in there and learn, baby—now!” he said. “You ain’t going to learn in that pine box.”

Helium balloon travels the worldA helium balloon launched by a British schoolboy was discovered in Australia after making an incredible 10,545-mile journey across the world. Joshua Blackaby, 6, from Alvaston, England, released a balloon tied to a letter in December as part of a school project. Three months later, his family received a note from a girl named Millie, informing them that she’d found the balloon in her yard in New South Wales. British meteorologist Charlie Powell said the balloon had likely been “swept up into a lower part of the jet stream” and carried away to its distant destination halfway around the world.

Mike Allsop's week of marathonsFor most amateur runners, a single marathon is challenge enough. But Mike Allsop ran seven 26-mile courses within a single week last month—in seven different countries. The 43-year-old began his global tour in the Falkland Islands, then continued on to Chile, Los Angeles, London, Morocco, and Hong Kong. He completed his last marathon in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, raising a total of $20,000 for charity. Allsop had never run a marathon before his endeavor. “I put my mind to it, and it happened,” he said. “Life’s too short. You’ve got to make the most of it.”

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