The week's good news: September 16, 2021
An immigrant family welcomes Afghan refugees, New Orleans celebrates a World War II vet, and more
Immigrant family in Washington welcomes Afghan refugees into their home
Kenneth and Adi Martinez immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2011, and when given the opportunity to help a family of four who recently fled Afghanistan, they jumped at the chance. "We know exactly what it feels like to come to a brand new county with no family or anything," Kenneth told Good Morning America. The government expects tens of thousands of Afghan refugees will come to the United States over the next year, and resettlement agencies are working with organizations and individuals like Kenneth and Adi to help the refugees find housing. Kenneth, Adi, and their two small children live in the Seattle area, and offered their spare bedroom to the family from Afghanistan. Over the last month, they have been getting to know one another, with the adults cooking and the kids playing together. "We are happy that we can help," Kenneth said.
Retired flight attendant honors 9/11 flight crews by pushing beverage cart 200 miles
It took more than two weeks for Paul Veneto to walk from Boston Logan Airport to lower Manhattan, and he wasn't alone on his journey — he carried with him the memories of his friends who worked on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Veneto, 62, is a retired flight attendant, who regularly worked the Flight 175 route but was off on Sept. 11. For the 20th anniversary, Veneto wanted to honor the flight crews who lost their lives that day and raise money for their families. He called his fundraiser Paulie's Push, and it involved him pushing a beverage cart decorated with photos of the 9/11 flight crews from Boston to Manhattan. He traveled more than 200 miles, arriving in Manhattan on Saturday, and along the way, met other flight attendants, first responders, and supporters, whose encouragement helped keep him going.
New Orleans celebrates oldest known World War II vet's 112th birthday
To celebrate Lawrence Brooks turning 112, his friends, family, neighbors, and well-wishers pulled out all the stops. Brooks is the oldest known living World War II veteran. His birthday was Sunday, and the festivities included a Jeep parade by Brooks' New Orleans home featuring vehicles decorated with balloons and signs, musical performances from the Victory Belles and two brass bands, and lots of cake. "We all love Mr. Brooks," Peter Crean, a vice president at the National World War II Museum, said. "He represents so much. He represents a generation that helped save the world." During World War II, Brooks was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, serving in the 91st Engineer Battalion. In Brooks' honor, the City of New Orleans issued an official proclamation recognizing his birthday, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) tweeted to Brooks that the entire state "thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday."
Wife surprises baseball-loving husband with wedding gift from his favorite team
When it comes to wedding gifts, Karla Jean Holfelder knocked it out of the park. Ahead of her wedding, Holfelder decided to have some fun, and sent invitations to several celebrities. Her new husband, David Simmons, is a baseball fan, and Holfelder mailed an invite to his favorite team: the Boston Red Sox. In response, the Red Sox sent the couple a package containing bags of "Fenway Dirt," wristbands, stickers, and a heartfelt letter from the team. Holfelder posted a video on TikTok showing Simmons opening the package and getting emotional as he read the letter. The team congratulated the bride and groom, saying, "we admire your dedication to each other and wish you many years of joy and happiness," and pledged to win another World Series soon. The Red Sox didn't stop there — the team commented on Holfelder's TikTok, telling the couple, "We'd love to host you for a game to celebrate your marriage."
Scientists in Egypt identify fossil of prehistoric 4-legged whale
A fossil discovered 13 years ago in Egypt's Western Desert has been identified as a prehistoric whale that had four legs and could live both on land and sea. Paleontologist Hesham Sallam, a professor at Mansoura University in Egypt, told The Associated Press earlier this week that environmentalists stumbled upon the fossil in an area that during prehistoric times was underwater. Researchers didn't start examining the fossil until 2017, and they published their findings for the first time last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The fossil whale has been named Phiomicetus Anubis, after the ancient Egyptian god of death, and had an elongated skull and snout. "We chose the name Anubis because it had a strong and deadly bite," Sallam told AP. "It could kill any creature it crossed paths with."