Posts Tagged ‘WWII’

What the Mormons Know About Welfare

March 2, 2012

Mitt Romney has raised the issue of the social safety net. Washington could learn from the lesson of his church.

By NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY

Salt Lake City

Ever since Mitt Romney said he was “not concerned about the very poor” but would fix America’s social safety net “if it needs repair,” conservatives and liberals have been frantically making suggestions. Gov. Romney says he would consider options like restructuring Medicaid. But if he wants to see a welfare system that lets almost no one fall through the cracks while at the same time ensuring that its beneficiaries don’t become lifelong dependents, he could look to his own church.

As I ride in a golf cart through a new 15-acre warehouse on the outskirts of Utah’s capital, I can’t help but wonder: How many Wal-Marts would fit in here? How many burgers can you make from 4,400 industrial pallets of frozen meat? And how do they keep this place cleaner than my kitchen floor?

Dedicated last month, the Bishops Central Storehouse contains a two-year supply of food to support the Mormon church’s welfare system in the U.S. and Canada (primarily for church members in need) and its humanitarian program, which sends food, medical supplies and other necessities to the needy (of all faiths) world-wide.

In addition to goods from canned peaches to emergency generators, the facility also houses the church’s own trucking company, complete with 43 tractors and 98 trailers, as well as a one-year supply of fuel, parts and tires for the vehicles. Just in case.

The storehouse is not only a kind of physical marvel — it has been built to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude as high as 7.5 — but also a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency.

Launched during the Great Depression, the Mormon welfare system was designed by church leaders as a way to match the armies of the unemployed faithful with some of the nearby farms that needed temporary labor. As storehouse manager Richard Humpherys explains, goods and services were traded so that if a father needed food for his family he could get some in exchange for, say, repairing the fence of a widow down the road.

Mormons and U.S. Marines carry aid to landslide victims in central Philippines in 2006.

In 1936, Heber Grant, one of the church leaders, reported the reasoning behind this effort: “Our primary purpose was to set up insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established among our people. The aim of the Church is help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.”

Over the ensuing decades, the church acquired farms and ranches of its own. It built grain silos and dairies and canneries to store and process the food. By the end of World War II, church leaders had enough in the way of reserves that they contacted President Truman to ask if they might assist in feeding and clothing the destitute across Europe. The president readily agreed.

Because it has members on the ground around the world, the church continues to be an important force in bringing food and supplies to the impoverished and victims of natural disasters. Local church leaders contact the central headquarters in Salt Lake City to tell them what is needed — gauze pads, school supplies, wheelchairs — and the church does its best to accommodate.

The Department of Defense recently visited the new storehouse to find out how the Mormons are able to mobilize so quickly, and there is an almost military sense of efficiency and strategy to the church’s efforts. When Hurricane Katrina struck, for instance, the church had positioned its fully loaded trucks in a kind of semicircle from South Carolina to Texas because no one knew how the storm was going to move. The church used reserves of fuel that it has placed around the country, and drivers were able to bring full tanker trucks into New Orleans, powering rescue vehicles and even chain saws to remove tree limbs.

Most of the inventory in the central storehouse, though, goes to supply more than 100 smaller storehouses around the country, plus hundreds of soup kitchens and homeless shelters of other religious communities around North America. Members of the Mormon church who find themselves in difficult circumstances can go to their local bishop and ask for aid.

The bishop then fills out an order allowing them to go and receive food from the local storehouse. Seventy percent of the items on the shelves are produced by the church itself and the remainder are purchased at steep wholesale discounts. According to Rick Foster, who oversees a smaller storehouse in Salt Lake City along with the cannery and dairy at Welfare Square (the original site of all the church’s welfare services), people depend on the food at the storehouse for an average of three to six months

That’s because the church’s goal is to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible. And the storehouse is only one of the tools at the disposal of local bishops, who may also refer members to other church programs, including employment counseling or family services. The bishop may even use money from a fund at his disposal to help pay for education, housing or utilities.

The labor behind the farming, food production, counseling and even cattle ranching is provided almost entirely by volunteers. Some are retired folks who come in every day. Other times an entire ward, or congregation, will come for the day, each of the members standing on an industrial assembly line packaging bread, processing cheese or sealing jars of apple sauce.

Regular tithing by church members helps pay for the facilities, but the primary source of capital support is the Mormons’ monthly fast, as church members are asked to contribute what they would have spent on two meals. Many give much more, says Mr. Foster.

It is safe to assume that Mr. Romney is among them. The tens of millions of dollars he has given the church over the years have raised suspicion in some quarters. What does the church do with all that cash? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent paying a higher income-tax rate? But his donations are supporting the kind of safety net that government can never hope to create. Jesus may have said the poor will always be with you, but he didn’t say Medicaid would.

Ms. Riley, a former Journal editor, writes frequently about religion.

Wall Street Journal article on 2/18/12: What the Mormons Know About Welfare


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Walter Breuning – The OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD…

March 17, 2011

Walter Breuning – The OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD…
Living in Great Falls, Montana, USA

Walter Breuning (born September 21, 1896) is a Super-centenarian. At the age of 114 years, he is currently the 2nd oldest [verified] person in the world.  He has been the oldest living MAN in the world since July 18 2009, and the last known man still living who was born in 1896. On his 110th birthday, Breuning was declared the oldest living retired railroader in the United States. The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, and the city mayor attended his celebration. He is one of the last two males still alive today who were verifiably born before the year 1900. He is one of only five men in history to have undisputedly reached the age of 114. Breuning is the oldest undisputed American-born man ever, and since December 12, 2010, the fourth oldest undisputed man ever.

 

Walter Breuning was born in Melrose, Minnesota. He is the son of John Breuning and Cora Morehouse Breuning, and had two brothers and two sisters.  In 1901 when he was 5, his family moved to DeSmet, South Dakota, where he went to school for nine years until his family broke up in 1910.  Breuning referred to this time as “the dark ages”, as his family lived without electricity, water, or plumbing, describing it as “carry the water in, heat it on the stove. That’s what you took your bath in. Wake up in the dark, go to bed in the dark. That’s not very pleasant”.  Longevity runs in Breuning’s family. His paternal grandparents lived into their 90s, and his siblings lived to ages 78, 85, 91, and 100 although his parents had more typical life spans for their cohorts.

In 1910 aged 14, Breuning dropped out of school; he began scraping bakery pans for $2.50 weekly.  He joined the Great Northern Railway in 1913, working for it for over fifty years. Breuning commented that during his early years, he would have to hide from the railway owner, James J. Hill, as Hill did not want any railroad employees under the age of 18 (Breuning was first hired at age 17).  Breuning worked for the Great Northern Railway until age 66, and was also a manager/secretary for the local Shriner’s club until age 99.  During World War I, he signed up for military service, but was never called up. He moved to Montana in 1918, where he continued working as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway. There, he met Agnes Twokey, a telegraph operator from Butte, Montana. He was married to her from 1922 until her death in 1957. They had no children and Walter never married again stating that “Second marriages never work; even first marriages don’t work today.” When World War II broke out, he was too old to serve.

In later years

Having lived at the Rainbow Retirement and Assisted Living Center in Great Falls Montana for the last 32 years, Breuning is in excellent health, even after a lifelong habit of smoking cigars, which he quit in 1999.  He is able to walk, and eats two meals a day. He still maintains a sharp mind and accurate memory. For example, he can remember his grandfather talking about his experiences in the American Civil War when he (Breuning) was three years old, and remembers the day President William McKinley was shot as the day “I got my first haircut”.  He takes no prescription medications. In November 2007, at the age of 111, Breuning was fitted with hearing aids.

On his 112th birthday, Breuning said the secret to long life is being active: “[If] you keep your mind busy and keep your body busy, you’re going to be around a long time.”

The week before his 113th birthday in September 2009, Breuning had fallen and bruised his scalp, but was otherwise unhurt.

Breuning still dresses in a suit and tie every day. In a recent interview, Breuning said, “Every day I exercise. Every morning I do all my exercises.” On April 24, 2009 at the age of 112, Breuning was interviewed on CBS by Steve Hartman for Assignment America. When asked by Hartman if he would do a second CBS interview in four years, Breuning said, “Well hell you sure can!”

On February 16, 2009, Breuning made an appearance on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, giving his views about the current state of the economy and the newly elected president. Breuning said that the first President he ever voted for was Woodrow Wilson, and that the most memorable news item he ever heard about in his life was the Stock Market Crash of 1929. He also described life during the Great Depression.

On April 24, 2009, Breuning was the focus of a segment done by Steve Hartman’s “Assignment America” on the CBS Evening News.  On September 21, 2009, Breuning was the focus of another such segment. During his 113th birthday celebrations, Breuning said: “Remember that life’s length is not measured by its hours and days, but by that which we have done therein. A useless life is short if it lasts a century. There are greater and better things in us all, if we would find them out. There will always be in this world – wrongs. No wrong is really successful. The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever.”

The BNSF Railway named the west end of its new Broadview Subdivision, where it meets the ex-Great Northern Laurel Subdivision near Broadview, Montana, “Walter Junction” after Breuning. He was present at the dedication of the new line, which serves the Signal Peak Mine, on September 2, 2009.

On February 25, 2010, Breuning was honored by Montana Ambassadors for shining a spotlight on the state of Montana.

Here’s Some Photos of Walter


In this school photo, Walter is standing under the window, with the “X” above his head.  The slate carries the date of 1907, making Walter about 9 years old.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer chats with Walter.

Walter receives “his copy” of the Guinness Book of World Records, listing him as the World’s Oldest Man.

Weatherman for KRTV Television Fred Pfieffer – N7NMY, with Walter

(This story from Great Falls Area Amateur Radio Club – W7ECA)

 

UPDATE 6-11 Walter passed away April 2011 at 114 years of age. The current oldest man in the world is a 114 year old man in Japan.

WHO GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE WORDS OF HISTORY?

January 10, 2010

SHALL WE HIRE A MONUMENT ENGRAVER TO GO TO ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY AND ADD THE MISSING WORDS?

THIS IS A MESSAGE FROM AN APPALLED OBSERVER:

Today I went to visit the new World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. I got an unexpected history lesson. Because I’m a baby boomer, I was one of the youngest in the crowd.  Most were the age of my parents, Veterans of ‘the greatest war,’ with their families.  It was a beautiful day, and people were smiling and happy to be there. Hundreds of us milled around the memorial, reading the inspiring words of Eisenhower and Truman that are engraved there.

On the Pacific side of the memorial, a group of us gathered to read the words President Roosevelt used to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941- a date which will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.

One elderly woman read the words aloud:

‘With confidence in our armed forces, with the abounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.’

But as she read, she was suddenly turned angry. ‘Wait a minute,’ she said, ‘they left out the end of the quote.  They left out the most important part.   Roosevelt ended the message with ‘so help us God.’

Her husband said, ‘You are probably right. We’re not supposed to say things like that now.’

‘I know I’m right,’ she insisted.  ‘I remember the speech.’ The two looked dismayed, shook their heads sadly and walked away.

Listening to their conversation, I thought to myself, ‘Well, it has been over 50 years; she’s probably forgotten.’

But she had not forgotten. She was right.

I went home and pulled out the book my book club is reading — ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ by James Bradley.  It’s all about the battle at Iwo Jima.

I haven’t gotten too far in the book. It’s tough to read because it’s a graphic description of the WWII battles in the Pacific.

But right there it was on page 58. Roosevelt ‘s speech to the nation ends in ‘so help us God.’

The people who edited out that part of the speech when they engraved it on the memorial could have fooled me. I was born after the war! But they couldn’t fool the people who were there.   Roosevelt ‘s words are engraved on their hearts.

Now I ask: ‘WHO GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE WORDS OF HISTORY?’

Send this around to your friends. People need to know before everyone forgets.

People today are trying to change the history of America by leaving God out of it, but the truth is, God has been a part of this nation, since the beginning.
He still wants to be… and He always will be!


If you agree, pass this on and God Bless YOU!


If not, May God Forgive You!

To Our Veterans – Video “Before You Go”

November 3, 2009

The elderly parking lot attendant wasn’t in a good mood!

Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Florida, eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker, and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.

He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. ‘I took two bullets for this country and look what I’m doing,’ he said bitterly.

At first, Bierstock didn’t know what to say to the World War II veteran.  But he rolled down his window and told the man, ‘Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.’

Then the old soldier began to cry.

‘That really got to me,’ Bierstock says.

Cut to today.

Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach – a member of Bierstock’s band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band – have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot.
The mournful ‘Before You Go’ does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.

‘If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot,’ says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. ‘The WWII soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them.’

The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.  ‘It made me cry,’ wrote one veteran’s son.  Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss ‘the unspeakable horrors’ he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan, and Omaha Beach.  ‘I can never thank them enough,’ the son wrote.  ‘Thank you for thinking about them.’

Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web.  They’ve sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington.  Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute – this after just a few days on the Web.  They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it.

GOD BLESS EVERY veteran…
and THANK YOU to those of you veterans who may receive this!

CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO HEAR THE SONG AND SEE THE PICTURES:

‘Before You Go’

There are only two people that have died for us.  One is Jesus Christ and the other is the American soldier. Take the time and thank a veteran today!

God bless America.


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