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This man is giving back to fellow veterans in a unique way — with broken TVs.

Ever since Staff Sgt. Todd Hering was a boy, he loved to take mechanical things apart.

"I always wanted to see how things were put together," Hering recalls.

As he grew up, he started learning how to use those parts to repair various electronics, like radios. Slowly but surely, he got good at it. While it was a simple hobby, it's hard not to see how those skills led him to become a mechanic in the Air Force.


And not just any mechanic — one who worked with all the components of nuclear warheads.

[rebelmouse-image 19477774 dam="1" original_size="700x465" caption="A 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron maintainer works on a Minuteman III ICBM, which is akin to the missiles Hering maintained. Photo by Senior Airman Brandon Valle/U.S. Air Force." expand=1]A 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron maintainer works on a Minuteman III ICBM, which is akin to the missiles Hering maintained. Photo by Senior Airman Brandon Valle/U.S. Air Force.

Handling all the inner workings of such dangerous weapons of war might sound terrifying to the average person, but Hering found it fascinating and even fun.

It's no wonder he ended up spending nine years working in the nuclear sect both in the States and oversees in Italy on a nuclear-tipped ground launch cruise missile.

Hering officially left the Air Force in 1993, when he got married, but his transition out of such an important military job was not the easiest.

He had no trouble finding two part-time jobs working for an airline, but it was a far cry from the responsibility he had before. He missed the high-profile work, but similar civilian jobs were hard to come by at the time.

Then a seemingly inconsequential accident led to a total lifestyle change. Hering stubbed his toe while walking around his house. Like anyone might have, he ignored the discomfort he felt — until the toe became badly infected.

When he finally saw a doctor, the infection had gotten so bad, it was in his bone. Todd had nine surgeries to try and save his foot, but in the end, the bone infection was so extensive, the doctors declared he needed to have his right leg amputated.

Photo via iStock.

Just like that, he was a veteran living on disability and a frequent visitor to the local Veterans Affairs (VA) office for medical aid and physical therapy.

During his downtime, Hering picked up his old hobby of making repairs on electronics. At first it was just for fun, but while he was at the VA, he began to realize there might be an unmet need for his skills.

He spoke to many vets on disability who were trying to turn their lives around but were down on their luck. Some mentioned how nice it would be to have a TV to pass the time — and that's when he got an idea of how he could help them.

"All these people just throw their flat-screen TVs away because it's a disposable world," Hering explains. "I thought, they're easy to fix, so I'll just start fixing them and donating them to some vets that need them."

He looked around for broken TVs that had just been thrown away. He also posted ads on Craigslist asking people to send him their old, broken TVs. Since he's a seasoned mechanic, he didn't need to spend a lot of money on replacing the motherboards; he just bought parts piecemeal and fixed the motherboards himself.

So far, Hering has repaired over 70 TVs for veterans. And while it's obviously making their lives better, it's fulfilling him in a big way, too.

Hering with one of the veterans who received one of his fixed TVs. Photo via Todd Hering, used with permission.

"This gives me a feeling of self-worth," says Hering. "I feel like I'm worth more than I was before because I'm helping other people."

He started this give back project over two years ago, and yet every time he gives a repaired TV to a deserving veteran, he's reminded that his work makes a real difference.

"One guy kept wiping his eyes, and said, 'That's the best picture I've seen in my life.'" Hering recalls. "It wasn't a big screen or anything; he was just so grateful to have one."

Hering presents a repaired TV to another veteran. Photo via Todd Hering, used with permission.

Hering has over 127 broken TVs in storage, so he's not planning on stopping his project anytime soon. In fact, he's looking to expand his reach to victims of domestic violence.

He recognizes that people in that situation sometimes have to leave everything they have behind. He hopes that by gifting them a TV, it'll give them some comfort.

That said, continuing this philanthropic mission is getting expensive for a veteran living off of disability pay. Even just buying small parts can involve hefty shipping fees or travel costs, so he now accepts donations to help maximize what he can do for fellow veterans.

When you're living with a disability and have barely enough money to pay for your basic needs, sometimes a little thing like a TV means the world. Hering understands that more than most.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

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Family

'Bachelor' alum's decision to hire a night nurse highlights the mixed messages new moms receive

Anyone who has given birth knows how difficult those first few months feel.

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

Hiring a night nurse brings out a mixed bag of opinions and advice.

"The Bachelor" alum Tia Booth is finding out firsthand how conflicting mom advice can be and she's calling it out. Booth gave birth in December of 2022 and revealed that she hired a night nurse so she and her fiancé Taylor Mock could get some sleep a few times a week. Sleep is essential to functioning properly as a human and as a parent.

Anyone who has given birth knows how difficult those first few months feel. You're essentially surviving some version of what is classified as a form of torture—sleep deprivation. New babies have weird, topsy-turvy, upside-down sleep cycles and new parents simply have to white-knuckle it until the little bundle is sleeping for several-hour stretches at a time.

The lack of sleep can not only make you delirious but can sometimes be dangerous when caring for a new baby. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by a nurse while still in the hospital because in my sleep-deprived state I fell asleep while feeding my son. Thank goodness she walked in before one or both of us fell onto the floor from the rocking chair.

I should've informed the nurse that I was tired and allowed her to take my two-day-old baby to the nursery, but asking for help seemed taboo. In today's world, women are advocating for new moms to not only ask for help, but to seek it out—until they do, and suddenly the message changes...again.

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Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

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The Cumberland Police Department's evidence examination request.

A 10-year-old girl from Cumberland, Rhode Island, had serious questions about whether Santa Claus is real and submitted DNA evidence to her local police to get the truth. On the morning of December 25, 2022, Scarlett Doumato collected a partially eaten cookie and carrots with bite marks and sent them to the Cumberland Police Department for testing, along with a handwritten note.

“Dear Cumberland Police Dapartment [sic], I took a sample of a cookie and carrots that I left for Santa and the raindeer [sic] on Christmas Eve and was wondering if you could take a sample of DNA and see if Santa is real?” Doumato wrote.

Cumberland police chief Matthew J. Benson was impressed by the child’s dedication to solving the mystery. “For her to take that initiative and to push that forward because she has a question that she wants answered, I just think was amazing,” Benson told Today.

The police department shared a photo of Doumato’s evidence, her letter and a statement on Facebook.

letter, police

Doumato's handwritten letter to the police.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

Doumato’s work collecting evidence at the scene of the crime was impressive, to say the least. “She did the work — she collected the evidence, she tagged it the right way,” Benson said. “She’s obviously watching the shows very intently. Separate baggies. She did it right by the book, so we’re taking it just as serious as she is.”

Doumato submitted evidence bagged separately.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

The Cumberland Police Department announced that after seeing her evidence it has launched a special investigation into the Santa inquiry.

The department shared in its press release:

"Earlier this month, a young investigator from the Town of Cumberland submitted the attached letter requesting a DNA analysis be conducted on the partially eaten cookie and carrot remains she acquired on the morning of December 25, 2022, for possible DNA evidence of Santa Claus (aka, Kris Kringle, aka Saint Nicholas, aka St. Nick) and/or one of his nine reindeer. As such, Chief Benson immediately instructed his Investigative Division to forward her evidence to the State of Rhode Island’s, Department of Health–Forensic Sciences Unit for analysis. Chief Benson noted, 'This young lady obviously has a keen sense for truth and the investigative process and did a tremendous job packaging her evidence for submission. We will do our very best to provide answers for her.'"

The Cumberland Police added some additional evidence they collected on the night of December 24th. The most compelling evidence was a photo of a "reindeer" spotted in the area that night.

reindeer, deer

The Cumberland Police Department shared a "reindeer sighting" on Christmas Eve.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

The girl’s mother was excited to see the police were taking her daughter’s inquiry seriously. “A giant thank you Chief Benson and the entire CPD! My Scarlett is going to be so thrilled that you are looking into her case!!!!!” Alyson Doumato wrote in the comments.

WJAR caught up with the young detective and learned that she has a Wacky Lab home detective kit sitting on her desktop. "I watch crime shows, and I thought it was like cool to be a detective,” she told the news outlet.

Her mother said that the investigation is just part of her nature. “She's always a little bit skeptical, and looking for the facts,” Alyson Doumuto said.

The open case is still being pursued by the Cumberland Police Department.

Joy

Knitters around the world unite to finish projects left behind by people who passed away

Loved ones will be able to appreciate these items the way they were intended.

Photo by rocknwool on Unsplash

The volunteers at Loose Ends finish knitting projects and mend broken hearts.

A cold reality of death is that it cares not at all about the things we’ve yet to complete while living. It comes relentlessly, even when the home is nearly remodeled…when the vacation is but a week away…when we are this close to finishing that book that brought so much joy. It comes when it comes, no exceptions.

Though there is no negotiation with this force of nature, those with loved ones who have passed on are being given a little bit of closure—one blanket, scarf or sweater at time.

When friends and knitting enthusiasts Jen Simonic and Masey Kaplan realized that they both shared the experience of frequently being asked to finish knitting items left undone by those who have died, they were inspired to create a like-minded community that expanded beyond their homes in Seattle and Falmouth. After all, this was an aspect of the hobby that both women deeply enjoyed.

“It occurred to us that there was an opportunity to let other people express that kind of generosity to each other as well, even between strangers,” Kaplan told local news outlet WMTW 8.

And thus, Loose Ends was born.

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Health

Influencers are pulling the veil off of menopause and women are shocked but thankful

"This was perhaps the most accurate and hilarious account of menopause I have ever watched! This is amazing!"

Influencers are pulling the veil off of menopause.

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly depending on who you ask, menopause and perimenopause aren't really talked about much. Women sort of fumble through this part of life relying on whatever information your mother or older relative can remember. For some reason what happens to women's bodies when hormones start to decline is still a mystery, even to some medical professionals.

Thankfully in the age of the internet and middle-aged women who no longer care for many societal niceties—like not talking about menopause in mixed company—women are being educated about their bodies. Kristina Kuzmic, a social media influencer and author, posted a video where she and a friend discuss menopause. Out loud.

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