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Terminally ill Washington elector openly wept after sharing what casting his ballot meant

As all 50 states fulfilled their duty in the Electoral College to officially elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States on December 14, a sadly beautiful scene unfolded in the Senate chambers of the Washington State Capitol.

Jack Arends is one of Washington's 12 electors whose job it was to cast their vote for Biden, as the former vice president won the state with 58% of the vote. But for Arends, executing that duty held a special significance. The 64-year-old elector arrived at the capital in a wheelchair, wearing a mask and a hat that read "PLAY NICE." And when it came time for him to say a few words about casting his vote, his brief speech cast a solemn, patriotic atmosphere throughout the room.

He began by thanking Washington's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, his fellow electors, and Democratic leaders for the kindness and support they'd shown him in the process of getting there.

"I have noted through this time that the electoral college is not great, but it is the system we have in place," he said. "Knowing that, I was set on being faithful elector, so I cast my ballot today for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I did so enthusiastically, of my own choice. I did not need a law to tell me I had to do it. Today is a chance to begin the end of the Trump administration. I was glad to do my duty, to rid our nation of a petty dictator. Had he won a second term, there is no limit to the damage he could have done to the world."

Arends then went on to make a sobering announcement.


"It will be up to others to do the hard work of rebuilding our nation, as my health is failing. In November I was told there is no more medical treatment that can help me, so it was important for me to do this one thing that I could do, while I still can. Again, thank you. And God bless our great country."

Arends then lay his head down on the table and openly wept.

Elector Jack Arends casts his vote for Joe Bidenwww.youtube.com

The room burst into applause for Arends. The Everett Herald newspaper reported that Arends had actually received the news of his terminal heart condition just days after he was selected to serve as an elector. "I don't know how much time I am going to have on this earth, but I am going to make it count while I am here and that includes being an elector," Arends told the paper prior to the proceedings. "It's that one last box I want to check — I am determined to check it."

Another detail from Arends casting his vote is that he did so with a Sharpie pen instead of the traditional quill—a symbolic jab at Trump signing legislation with a black Sharpie.

"The ceremony and tradition of this meeting marked an end to one of the most contentious elections of our time," said Secretary of State Wyman, one of the many Republican state election officials who have defended the integrity of this election. "While some people continue to call into question this election, average citizens from all walks of life will step up today to exercise their responsibility to perform their constitutional duty."

"It's a great weight lifted from my shoulders being able to do this," Arends told The Herald after the vote. "I feel gratified to do what we were elected to do."

This is what true patriotism looks like. Thank you for your service, Mr. Arends.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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