11 stories of hope and resilience in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Natural disasters bring out the worst of Mother Nature but the best of humanity.

Hurricane Harvey is no exception.

The massive storm made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25, inundating the Houston metro area with record-breaking floodwaters and high winds. To avoid chaos on the highways, there was no mass evacuation order for the city's 2.3 million residents. But most homes and buildings were no match for the unprecedented storm.


Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

Local first responders and the Coast Guard are working around the clock to rescue people from roofs and attics as the waters rise. But their numbers and resources, particularly those of the aquatic variety, are limited.

Thankfully, there are ordinary heroes among us too.

These are the people who aren't afraid to step up and lend a hand, even in the face of danger or uncertainty. Here are 11 of their stories.

1. Abe Minor planned to rescue his friends. Soon, he was rescuing dozens more.

Once his friends were safe, Minor kept going, rescuing as many as 20 different people and their pets. And he's going back out today.

2. Cole Geeo put his monster truck to good use and went out to help.

Geeo saw the coverage on the news and knew he (and his 8-foot-tall truck) could be of assistance. Using a few ladders, Geeo was able to help his neighbor Deborah Wright get down from her second floor and into his truck.

"That's a redneck rescue, I do believe," Wright's coworker Dina Young Gray told local ABC affiliate WFAA.

3. Even 15-year-old Declan took to the water to help his neighbors in the Meyerland area of Houston.

Way to go, Declan!

4. These men waded into waist-deep water to help a stranger clinging tight to a road sign.

They used a refrigerator as a float to get to the man, then created a human chain to get through the rushing water.

5. This preacher went door-to-door to make sure nobody was stranded in these submerged cars.

When it was time to step up, he put his values into action.

6. Animals are in dire need, too. That's why Alicia Plunkett did her part to keep Houston's bats from drowning.

It may sound small, but in the wake of the storm and standing water, the region will be be inundated with mosquitos and the diseases they carry. Bats can assist with that problem, but only if they're alive to help.

7. Storm tracker Aaron Jayjack found a lost dog. And his story has a yappy, er, happy ending.

Jayjack stopped for gas, and the sweet pup jumped into his car. Jayjack used social media to help find the dog's owner, and the pair was reunited.

8. Local and national journalists continue to prove their mettle during this storm. A local news team helped first responders save the life of a stranded trucker.

The powerful moment of everyday heroics was captured by the crew.

9. And CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera joined local college student Austin Seth on his civilian search-and-rescue mission.

Lavandera continued to report the story while rescuing families and helping them into Seth's flatboat.

10. As a thank you to the reporters covering the storm and its aftermath, this woman delivered a six-pack on air.

It may not be strictly heroic, but in a weekend full of hardship, uncertainty, and tragedy, a little levity can go a long way.

11. Once people are rescued, they need a place to go. This screenwriter stepped up to run a shelter.

When the community of Rockport opened a shelter at an elementary school but didn't leave anyone in charge, screenwriter Zachary Dearing stepped up to the challenge. With no emergency response training, he took stock of the situation and recruited volunteers to help people get resources and organize visitors. Bravo!

Whether you're driving a flatboat around Houston picking up strangers or sending money from Seattle, there are plenty of ways to help communities devastated by this storm.

You don't need a cape or even a uniform to be a hero, just a willingness to lend a hand. Here are a few places to start.

Because near or far, when natural disasters happen, we're in this together. Thanks to everyone doing their part.

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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