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Making a Difference

Most-viewed reports are nominated for the MSN Butterfly Awards

American Lakes Veterans Course
American Lakes Veterans Course in Tacoma, Washington is a haven for wounded warriors. The golf course is a place for disabled veterans to exercise, relax, and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the sport. Every dollar used to run the golf course is raised by volunteers, who average 72 years in age. Volunteers also maintain the course— repairing clubs, working in the kitchen, and tending the grounds.

For recovering soldiers like former joint chiefs chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili, the place is a saving grace. “It’s an excellent opportunity to show that because you have a physical or emotional injury, that doesn’t mean your life has come to an end.”
Website | Nightly News report

Joe Works
Local businessman Joe Works is the largest employer in the tiny town of Humbolt, Kansas. Despite losing about half his manufacturing business to the tough economy, Works refused to lay off any of his 180 employees.

Instead, Works paid his staff to improve the town. His craftsmen and workers refurbished baseball diamonds, repainted churches, and improved playgrounds.

“I’ve been blessed by a business that has been successful and made some money,” says Works. “I don’t want to hang onto that with a greedy attitude. I want to share.”
Website | Video
The generosity of neighbors helped the Thompson family of Bellingham, Washington survive a health and financial crisis. With sick family members and a depleted bank account, Lionel Thompson was surprised to find his neighbors at his door, offering food and cash.

Inspired by this kindness, Thompson started, a Web site that lets people donate anonymously to others. Donors can give money without worrying about the potential awkwardness of giving unsolicited cash to someone in need. The site also pairs donors with people in financial distress.
Website | Video

Same Café in Denver, Colorado
Brad and Libby Birky believe that everybody who walks through their restaurant’s door deserves to eat well. This makes Same Café in Denver, Colorado definitely different: There are no set prices on the menu, and customers pay only what they can. Patrons can also exchange an hour of work for food – like mopping floors and bussing tables. It’s an option more people have taken lately.

The food is so good and healthy that those with jobs and money are coming into the café too, even paying more for their meals to help keep the place open.
Website | Video

Veterinarian Pat McCue
Veterinarian Pat McCue made a difference to Jennifer Mears after she lost her horse, Tuesday, to a devastating tornado in rural Colorado. Mears was heartbroken as she spent every day with her prize horse for the past 10 years.

Dr. Pat McCue of Colorado State University’s Equine Reproduction Labs offered to help in an unexpected way. Using a groundbreaking process, the veterinarian and his team harvested Tuesday’s eggs and developed embryos. Neighbors offered their mares to serve as surrogate mothers.

Defying very slim odds, two healthy foals were born. One of them is a beautiful buckskin who looks remarkably like his biological mom.

“It’s a miracle… I couldn’t be happier,” says Mears.