thank you for your service
February 21, 2021

Instead of returning from a beach vacation to Mexico this weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and some photographers helped distribute bottled water Saturday to Texans who still don't have potable water a week after an unusually long and frigid winter storm ground the state to a halt. On Sunday, Cruz posted photos of himself slicing brisket and posing with uniformed law enforcement officers, for Houston firefighters and other first responders.

While Cruz was out in the suddenly warm Houston sunshine — and enduring even more mockery for his short-lived Cancun getaway, this time on SNL — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was continuing to raise money for Texans and, on Saturday, distributing food at the Houston Food Bank with Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

On Sunday night, she reported that her fundraising effort, launched Thursday, hit the $5 million mark.

The funds AOC raised will go to food banks around Texas, Feeding Texas, Family Eldercare, and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, and other nonprofits, Houston Public Media reports. Cruz had some helpful information for Texans, too, via the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Along with the warm weather melting the snow, Texans mostly have their power back — all but about 18,000 Sunday night, down from more than 4 million last week — and water service is coming back online, often with orders to boil it before drinking. At least 32 people Texans died from the storm, including an 11-year-old boy in Conroe, Christian Pavon, who was found dead of suspected hypothermia after two nights in an uninsulated trailer with his family. Peter Weber

August 19, 2019

"If you had asked me, say, five years ago, if there was a likelihood that Donald Trump, as U.S. president, would be quoted in an anti-democracy hip hop tune promoted by the People's Daily newspaper on social media," tweeted Bloomberg News Hong Kong correspondent Iain Marlow on Monday, "I probably would have said no and felt pretty confident." But, well, here were are.

The song juxtaposes video of President Trump saying Hong Kong is an internal Chinese matter with tweets from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporting the rights of Hong Kong's citizens to their promised limited autonomy: "Mrs. Clinton, you know nothing about Chinese citizens. Now I've got some words from your president." Generally, the officially promoted song claims that Hong Kong's massive pro-democracy protests are a plot by "somebody" to "split Hong Kong from us" by starting "a riot," adding in Chinese that the Chinese "will always protect Hong Kong without any hesitation, airplanes, tanks, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army."

The rappers, Roy & Chuckie, should probably listen to some NWA. Peter Weber

October 11, 2017

Five very good boys and girls are being awarded the American Humane Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage Award on Wednesday in honor of their service to the country, CBS This Morning reports. The retired canine heroes include Coffee, who did three tours in Afghanistan; Alphie, also an Afghanistan veteran; Capa, who served in the Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan and was assigned to protect the president; and Ranger, who served with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gabe, who passed away in 2013, will be honored in memoriam after participating in more than 200 combat missions in Iraq.

Over 1,600 dogs serve in the U.S. military, with many assigned the important task of sniffing out explosives. Army Sgt. James Bennett's family credits his four-legged partner, Coffee, for getting him home safe from Afghanistan.

"Do you consider her a hero?" asked CBS This Morning's Chip Reid.

"I consider her an angel," Bennett said. Learn more about the K-9 honorees below, and watch the full video at CBS This Morning. Jeva Lange

January 23, 2017

Protecting America's top political leaders — including the outgoing and incoming presidents, Supreme Court justices, and leaders of Congress — at an outdoor inauguration, plus the crowd of people who came to watch President Trump sworn in on Friday, is no small feat, and the various U.S. law enforcement officers who kept everyone safe deserve commendation. On Sunday, Trump gave law enforcement leaders his personal thanks — in some cases, very personal — at a reception in the White House.

Trump called newly sworn-in Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, whom he called "General," up for a hand-clasp and arm-pat, saying, "From Day 1, I have felt safe." Then he pointed to FBI Director James Comey, making a gesture with his lips. "Jim," he said. "He's become more famous than me." Trump shook Comey's hand, whispered something in his ear, and gave him a pat on the arm. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 11, 2016

Before Samson, Vietnam War veteran Jerry Martin stayed home to avoid being in public. After getting his service dog, Martin was able to cross the stage in front of hundreds of cheering supporters as he collected his high school diploma.

Martin was one of 22 World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans who received their diplomas this week through the Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project in San Bernardino County, California. The county's superintendent of schools and department of veterans affairs find veterans who were unable to earn their diplomas because of their service to the country, and making Martin's "goal a reality for him was our way of being able to say, 'Thank you for your service to your country,'" Director of Veterans Affairs Frank Guevara said. Martin was a Navy and Marines corpsman who earned a Bronze Star for valor. "To do my job was to heal and care for the wounded," he said. "The corpsman's motto is, 'To hell and back for a wounded Marine.'"

Martin said when he came home from the war, he felt deep regret and guilt over not being able to save everyone; he was short-tempered and "mad at the world," and would often have nightmares. He was first diagnosed with high-end anxiety; later, it was determined to be PTSD. That's when he was given a prescription for a service dog, and Samson entered his life. "His training has to be a partnership," Martin said. "We are together 24/7. We go everywhere and do everything together because he is an extension of me, he looks after me. If I should have an episode, he will get in my face and bring me back to reality. Samson has been a real stabilizer." Martin, who earned his GED while in the service but was never recognized, had Samson by his side as he accepted his diploma, and said he now feels complete: "It's like a missing piece to a puzzle that I always had to work around my entire life." Catherine Garcia

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