Watch 80 strangers form a human chain to rescue a drowning family.

There was no lifeguard on duty at the sunny Florida beach when two young boys suddenly found themselves caught in a dangerous rip current.

Stephen and Noah Ursrey, 8 and 11 years old, cried out for help. Roberta, the boys' mother, along with three other relatives, swam out to save them, only to find themselves swept into the same rip current, desperately in need of a rescue.

If it weren't for the quick thinking of horrified beachgoers watching from land, the entire family faced almost certain doom.


Stephen and Noah Ursrey. Image from CBS Evening News/YouTube.

No single person could successfully pull off this type of rescue. It took a small army.

Nearly 80 people rushed to create a human chain from the shore to where the Ursreys were stuck. When the chain reached the family, the stranded swimmers were passed one-by-one down the chain until they made it safely back to shore.

Beachgoers stage a successful rescue operation. Image from CBS Evening News/YouTube.

This is humanity truly at its best: people going out of their way to help other people because it's the right thing to do.

In this moment, it didn't matter what anyone's politics were, what god they worshiped, where they were from, what language they spoke, what their gender was, or who they loved. Those differences certainly existed (and differences are good, wonderful things), but when lives were on the line, those things didn't matter. People who joined forces to build a human chain out into the ocean because other people needed help.

When we work together toward a common goal, we are stronger than we are working apart. This is not a new idea (stories of it have been around for thousands of years), but it's always worth remembering just how true it is.

Thanks to those Florida beachgoers for reminding the world just how great humanity can be.

You can check out a CBS report about the rescue below.

Anyone who has gone through the process of disentangling themselves from an addiction knows it's an ongoing, daily battle. It may get easier, and the payoffs may become more apparent, but it's still a decision someone makes each day to stay detached from their substance of choice.

Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

"Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free," Lowe wrote on Twitter. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo"

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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