For these vets, getting the right surfboard was more than a gift — it was a lifeline.

After 15 deployments, Navy SEAL Alex West returned home a different man.

“[It] really put a lot of strain on my body,” he explained, and that strain left West struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and a traumatic brain injury.

But, despite the pain and trauma from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, one thing still remained a constant: West's love for the water.


“I joined the Navy to be a SEAL," he says. "I think there is something special about the saltwater.”

All photos provided by Starbucks.

It comes as no surprise, then, that West would find healing and recovery in the waves.

Tapping into the sense of wholeness he found in the water, he turned to surfing as a way to cope with the after-effects of war.

“The moment that you catch a wave, there’s something about it in your mind that there is nothing else that goes on in the world,” he shared. “You just step away from that everyday life of getting ready for deployments or for combat.”

Turns out, he wasn’t the only vet to find a sense of calm in the water.

Fellow Navy SEAL James McFadden found comfort from the ocean too, after he returned from his first deployment having taken two bullets to the leg. He had to have 27 operations.

At first, he had worried he wouldn't be able to surf again, but he was determined to try, so he joined an adaptive surf program at Balboa Hospital. That's where he met West.

“When we first met each other, it was a huge surf day,” West explains. “And I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh man, this is not good, this is going to be kind of dangerous.’”

But McFadden was unfazed. “I just crushed it out to the lineup,” he says.

West was amazed and inspired — watching McFadden skimming across the waves, he realized there was a real opportunity to make surfing more accessible for veterans like McFadden, who would benefit from custom equipment.

“Just because some of these guys and gals are missing legs or have serious injuries, it doesn’t mean that they can’t push it,” he says. “But there wasn’t one place that just specifically designed adaptive surfing equipment [for them].”

That’s how West got the idea for One More Wave — a nonprofit to help disabled veterans get back on the water with equipment designed especially for them.

If you are missing a limb, West explains, you might need a handle to hold the board better, or you might need to move the fins of the board for better support.

West and his crew connected with vets who badly needed new gear to get back on the water and helped them through inventive designs and community support.

“We’re bringing guys out, we’re studying them, we’re surfing with them,” West explains. “By providing them with a truly customized adaptive surfboard, we are able to help [them] catch more waves.”

But it’s about more than just surfboards it’s about the healing that happens when they get back out on the water.

One of the veterans whose life was transformed by One More Wave is Tommy Counihan, who says he finally found the sense of belonging and peace that he had been searching for on the water.

“I went from wanting to kill myself to wanting to conquer the f***ing world,” he admits. “[I wanted] to go out and break down all those limitations that I had set up for myself."

“I got that from surfing,” he continues.

When West heard stories like Counihan’s, he realized he was offering something much more important than just gear — he was offering a sense of kinship and community, which veterans returning from war so often needed.

For these vets, finding a sense of purpose, healing, and community can be life-saving.

War can be incredibly traumatic, with upward of 11-20% of veterans returning from Iraq suffering from PTSD, and nearly 1 million veterans living with a disability after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

And with nonprofits like West's, the quality of life for these veterans can be vastly improved with the right support.

“Whether you are dealing with an injury [or] you’re down, there is a way to get out of the darkness,” West says. “There’s a lot to live for in life. There’s still another wave to catch.”

Check out the amazing work of One More Wave in the video below:

Upstanders: The Wave to Recovery

Two Navy SEALs are giving wounded veterans a new adventure on the water. #VeteransDay

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, November 10, 2017
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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