The first half the 20th century was not a good one for Blanche Fixler. As a Jew, she was a target for the Nazis, who succeeded in killing at least 6 million of her countrymen. They were so close to Fixler, at one point she was hiding underneath a bed trying not to breathe. Had she made a noise, the Nazi troops searching the room she was in would have grabbed her in an instant. Through luck, fear, feistiness and perseverance, Fixler survived the Holocaust.
Now, almost some 80 years later, Blanche Fixler is relieving history thanks to artificial intelligence, or AI. A program written by Daniel Pratt, also known as a engineer at Google, has become extremely effective at matching people’s faces to their parts in history. In fact, it was so effective, it had a direct impact on Fixler; the software found her face in a historical image from the war period that no one previously knew was Blanche at all. She was just another face of thousands lost until she wasn’t.
Dubbed “Numbers to Names,” Pratt’s program relies on the technology of facial recognition to do its work. While a person’s appearance might change over time, their facial structure doesn’t. And that makes for a comparable identification when the details are run through the thousands of calculations per second via the software.
In some respects, the software works with the logic of connecting dots. As it makes connections, it builds on that library and makes more connections. Many photos may have one or even two connections, but they still have five or a dozen more than are unknown. By constantly running and making new connections, the software persistently whittles away at the challenge. As it turned out, one of those successes was Blanche Fixler.
Blanche Fixler today is at the ripe age of 86. She is a world away from Germany and Poland and the nightmare she lived through, ensconced in the urban distance of New York. However, thanks to Pratt’s program, Fixler has now been identified as a child in two historical photos. Pratt’s software did the hard work and connected the dots.
Among the many who were grabbed, rounded up and killed in Poland, Fixler’s entire family were victims of the Nazis. At the time, Blanche’s name was Bronia to her family, but that was left in the past as she survived the war. Her luck was made possible by an aunt who hid Fixler from the soldiers regularly looking for Jews in hiding. When Fixler saw the photos that had her in them, she also identified her aunt as well as other relatives. That in turn creates more connections that Pratt and those using the software can benefit from in their ongoing work of identification.
The work has been partnered with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and it continues to be worked on to provide closure and dignity for the thousands of families related to the victims of the Holocaust. By personalizing the faces of the 6 million, they gain a confirmed history versus being nameless and unknown among the masses lost.
Generous Farmer Secretly Paid Alabama Residents Pharmacy Bills
Alabama farmer Hody Childress has recently drawn recognition for his secret deeds of goodwill toward his neighborhood. Childress has been covering people’s pharmacy expenses in secret to make it easier for individuals in need to pay for the prescriptions they need. His charitable contributions weren’t revealed until after he passed away. People were inspired by his good deeds.
Childress, a farmer for more than 40 years, started paying people’s pharmacy bills as a way to give back to his neighborhood. As someone who has been blessed in life, he says, “I wanted to help others who may not be as fortunate.”
The people Childress has assisted have been profoundly affected by his unselfish deed of charity. One person thanks Childress for helping them, as they were unable to pay the hefty cost of their chronic condition’s medication. “Hody came to my aid when I was unsure how to pay for my prescription. I will always be grateful to him for his kindness because he saved my life “they claim.
Childress’s actions have also inspired others in the community to do the same. “I may not have much money to give, but I can definitely spare some for those in need,” says one community member. “Hody has set a great example of how one person’s kindness can make a big difference in the lives of others.”
Childress’s secret acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed, and he has been recognized by local organizations and businesses for his generosity. “Hody is a true role model in our community, and we are proud to have him as a member of our community,” says a representative of a local pharmacy.
The actions of Hody Childress serve as a testament to the effectiveness of charity and kindness. His discreet gestures of generosity haven’t just assisted individuals in need; they’ve also motivated others to follow in his footsteps. His unselfish acts have had a significant positive impact on many people’s lives as well as a long-lasting effect on his town.
Boosting a Special Seahawks Fan
For an entire community to come together to send one of its own to a professional football game with the Seattle Seahawks versus the Cardinals, he’s got to be pretty special. However, as it turns out, Dustin Ehinger more than meets that eligibility requirement.
For years, Dustin has been well known as a dedicated Seahawks fan, the NFL football team for Seattle. Dustin works every day at a local Safeway as a courtesy clerk, but he has challenges. Being autistic, not everyone understands Dustin or how he behaves. Unfortunately, one customer really was lacking in the understanding department, or just wanted to be a jerk, but the person really ruined Dustin’s day, insulting him at work.
To make up for it, Dustin’s mom wanted to take him to a Seahawks game so the young man would forget the experience and move on. Unfortunately, the tickets weren’t the most affordable. So, Debbie Henderson posted an ad asking for help on a GoFundMe page for the same. The goal was to raise enough funds so that Dustin could attend a big Seahawks home game at Lumen field, essentially to give him a day in a “happy” place. As it turned out, some $2,300 was raised for the effort from his community chipping in, and the Seattle Seahawks also contributed with a load of fan paraphernalia and gifts as well.
With going to the game a sure thing, Dustin and Reid, a very close friend, suited up in the Seahawk jerseys and hats were off to the big game, funded by all the contributions. Along the way, Dustin got to meet in person probably the most dedicated Seahawks fan, Margy Wick from Ephrata. However, Dustin still kept in mind all the good things he had been taught. Knowing there were some funds leftover from the GoFundMe donations, Dustin made a point to donate the remainder to help out the local food banks. The gift easily totaled over $500. Additionally, a smaller portion was also given to help out the Autism Society in his home county as well.
And, not to be outdone, Safeway has a few surprises for the holidays in store for Dustin and his commitment to customer service despite his bad experience. It’s all hush hush for the holidays, but Dustin is probably going to be pretty excited and happy about the surprises when he finds out.
Rescuing Senior Dogs And Giving Them The Best Home
There is a location that goes by the name of Frosted Faces Foundation. Located near the town of Ramona, two acres are home to senior dogs who are completely cared for by a dedicated rescue program.
The program is more than just a simple kennel. Instead, it’s designed to be a comfortable home, with comfortable dog beds, blankets, sweaters for canines that get cold, and regular activities. There is also a program for those with arthritis and health problems to get their regular medicine as well. And the dogs reflect their care; their eyes tell the story of appreciation for the care they receive.
All of the dogs rescued have had some kind of loss. Whether its psychological, in the form of abandonment, or physical in the form of harm and injuries, they’ve all suffered from something. So, one of the things the Foundation makes a point of achieving is providing a comfortable life for the dogs taken in by the rescue operation.
The Foundation was established in 2014, at that time being a simple group trying to create a bond between various dog owners that wanted to give their dogs more socialization. Andy and Kelly Smíšek, finally created a real rescue location and, surprisingly, as soon as they opened the front doors, a family showed up to adopt a dog.
The non-profit makes a specific point of helping older dogs. These canines have the hardest chance of being adopted, oftentimes being passed over by families who want a younger dog that will grow up in front of them and will live longer. The value of longevity is something that older dogs have very little currency, so they automatically lose in most adoptions. It doesn’t help that older dogs have more health problems and behavioral issues as well. That combination only decreases their chances of adoption.
The rescue operations have made a huge impact. In 2022 it produced 406 adoptions, placing that number of older dogs in homes that will genuinely care for them. Small dogs are the fastest to place, but larger dogs can be adopted out as well within a few months of dedicated work. One of the key factors that helps is the fact that the rescue makes a point of covering the medical costs of the adopted dogs. That commitment allows the older dogs to be accepted versus rejected over fears of their expensive care otherwise. It’s not a small commitment; guaranteeing the care of over 1,500 dogs charges something past $83,000 a month. The cost is addressed through donations and fundraising.
So, if you know an old dog that needs help, know there’s also a place that wants to care for it in Ramona. It’s just a matter of getting the dog to its better home.
Time for a Free Pizza in Edinburgh
If people live in Edinburgh, they’re going to get a bonus in January. As it turns out, just living in the town will entitle each resident to a free pizza, courtesy of Mark Wilkenson. As the owner of Pure Pizza, a well known hot cheese pie establishment located in Morningside, Wilkenson had been itching to do something for his neighbors. Inflation and the cost of living has been a recurring concern, especially for the business owner who relies on consumers having discretionary cash to go out and buy food to go.
As it turned out, Wilkenson had the means to make a difference, specifically his pizza offerings. So, at the fine young age of 55, he has made an impression on everyone in his immediate market by basically making a clear dent in the local inflation chaos. He’s giving everyone living in Edinburgh a free pizza. Now is a pizza going to push back on inflation?
Well, first off, with the cutback on spending, things are a bit slow around the pizzeria. So, Wilkenson recognized immediately that he needed something to keep his staff busy so they wouldn’t just walk off and ghost him one day soon. Second, everyone locally gets the benefit of a free meal, and not a small pizza either. Third, Wilkenson hopes, of course, that the effort goes a bit further than just a thank you; in fact, he’s hoping that the gesture is reciprocated with continued business when people can afford pizza on a regular basis again. It’s not a dumb move; consumer loyalty does tend to be generated by making people feel valuable. Wilkenson is quite honest about the affair – he dubs it a win-win for all involved.
The cost isn’t a small affair either. Wilkenson expects that with the size of the population and the number expected to want a pizza, he’s likely going to spend something near £12,000. And that’s on top of the fact that his pizza business couldn’t have been timed worse in terms of a business start; Pure Pizza was established in March 2020. It was the same month when COVID hit full steam and forced social lockdowns.
The business was designed originally for high capacity. At full demand, Pure Pizza can put out 18 complete, large-size pizzas every six minutes or thereabout. However, once the pandemic hit, most of the ovens were sitting unused. It was not how Wilkenson imagined his business operating on New Year’s before 2020 got started.
Of course, there are some limitations to freebie pizzas. Folks have to show up in person, they have to visit during January only. And there are no free pizzas during the prime hours of 5:30pm and 8:30pm. The rules aren’t too difficult and, Wilkenson suspects, folks will likely more than cooperate for a sizeable meal that can probably last a good dinner, even breakfast the next morning.
Wilkenson also has another hope. Ideally, if everyone who gets a free pizza turns around and repeats the favor in some way with more folks, it could start an interesting social reaction. He’s not a blind idealist; Wilkenson fully expects some people will just show up for a free pizza, and then that’s it. However, if even one out of ten goes further, Wilkenson might just realize the results of his effort around town in a far bigger way than just a warm pizza.
Fans of NFL Safety Damar Hamlin Donate Millions to his Charity Following his Cardiac Arrest Incident
Up to two days after NFL Player, Damar Hamlin experienced a cardiac arrest during a game, hundreds of thousands of fans were donating millions to his online charity. Within two days, contributions had surpassed five million dollars.
When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin passed out on the turf during Monday evening’s match versus the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL community was shocked.
Following a tackle in the first quarter, the 24-year-old experienced cardiac arrest and is still in critical condition.
When Hamlin was brought off the field approximately 19 minutes after collapsing at 8:55 p.m., the Bills had gathered for prayer. The game was called off a short while after the paramedics left the field, and the players slowly filed off the field and then into their changing rooms.
A GoFundMe for his foundation “Chasing M’s” began spreading online when the game was formally rescheduled.
Hamlin initiated the digital toy drive campaign just over two years ago with an initial target of $2,500. Following his incident on the field, fans have donated more than five million dollars.
GoFundMe tweeted Monday evening, “Following his injuries on the field tonight, supporters throughout the nation are paying their respects for him as well as his family by contributing to his charity.
In his birthplace of Pittsburgh, where he attended college for five years, Hamlin played in 48 games with the Panthers. As a senior, he was selected as a team captain and made the second-team All-ACC.
The Bills selected Hamlin in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He appeared in fourteen games as a rookie before taking over as the starter this season when Micah Hyde injured himself.
The Buffalo Bills announced in a statement that Damar Hamlin was still in serious condition on Wednesday after spending one more night inside an intensive care unit. He is, however, displaying “signs of improvement,” they pointed out.
In Monday evening’s game versus the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL player who is 24 years old, passed out. According to Bills officials, he experienced a cardiac arrest.
During a play with 5:58 left in the first quarter of the game, Tee Higgins, a Bengals wide receiver, who’d been carrying the ball, struck 24-year-old safety Hamlin in the torso with his helmet. Higgins was pulled to the ground by Hamlin. After that, Hamlin got up but soon fell to the ground.
On the night after the incident, Dorrian Glenn, Hamlin’s uncle, told the media just outside of the Medical Center that his nephew’s heart had stopped twice—once on the field and once inside the hospital. Charlie De Mar of CBS Chicago reported this. Glenn added that Hamlin isn’t able to breathe independently due to a lung injury. He stated that the player was previously receiving a hundred percent oxygen through a ventilator, but that now only received fifty percent.
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