Taking action

#1068 Quebec Davids take on the Walmart Goliath

David and Goliath

When Walmart opened its first Canadian store in 1994, I wondered how it would fare. The rah-rah enthusiasm expected of employees did not sound like something Canadians would easily adopt. I figured without the advertiser-driven hunger for the lowest price…


#1063 They focus on what’s right with youth

Mountain biking

SADI flips concerns about The Youth of Today on their head by focusing on what should be valued in everyone of us: ASSETS, not deficits. The small-town British Columbia youth organization has a mission statement focused on the positive: The…


#1057 Play Station or smoke detectors? 9-year-old’s choice is inspiring

Hector Montoya

Grand Prairie Fire Department installing smoke detectors with Hector Montoya; photo from CBS video

Hector Montoya was saving his money for a Play Station 4. The 9-year-old video-game fan was edging closer to his goal when news of a deadly house fire broke his heart. Hearing the mother and daughter might have survived had they just had a smoke detector, he decided saving lives was a better use for the money he had saved.

Saying, “It hurts my heart,” Montoya responded to the deaths by contacting the Grand Prairie, Texas fire department and offering to buy smoke detectors with his money. They took him up on his offer and went one better, involving him in installing them in the homes of people most at risk.

The boy’s savings bought the first 100 smoke detectors. An online plea brought in more than $7000 for others. The local Walmart added another 500.

In fact, Walmart made sure Montoya’s original wish was granted. In a special celebration, they gave him not only a PS4 but also a flat-screen TV and some games besides.

They were not the only ones. A pair of siblings bought him a PS4 and drove 45 minutes each way to deliver it. They also gave him $150 to buy more smoke detectors.

Though Hector Montoya was thrilled with the new Play Station and seemed to enjoy the attention, he appeared even happier to be able to provide smoke detectors for elderly people and for families who reminded him of the mother and daughter who lost their lives.

With his values and priorities focused on helping his community, Hector Montoya is already making a difference. He gives me hope.


#1023 In the shadow of giants

President Tree

They stand tall and majestic, the last of their kind. In 2012 a National Geographic team visited one of these trees in Sequoia National Park. It was 247 feet tall, 3200 years old, with approximately 2 billion leaves. The President,…