Tag Archives: Assali family

Good News Friday: An actor and an elderly woman form a beautiful friendship. An Oklahoma special needs athlete scores a huge basket. And a Syrian family finally makes it to the U.S.

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And a Happy Friday to you all out there, from post-blizzard NYC, where we only got a few inches of snow Thursday but it felt like a lot more.

My cup runneth over with good news stories this week, notwithstanding that tremendous Duke-UNC basketball game last night. Wow, what a game. Blue Devils are coming around, Tar Heels are a fantastic team, game wasn’t decided until the final minute and thankfully the superior shade of blue got the win. Let’s go Duke.

OK, so first up this week, despite the belief of some moron in the White House that every refugee from Syria is only coming here to kill us all, there really are some beautiful, heartwarming stories coming out of the madness that the immigrant ban was.

Check this out from Allentown, Pa.: A Syrian family who was approved, vetted, and ready to re-settle in Allentown, but who was denied entry into America because of the Orange Man’s ridiculous executive order, has finally made it to the U.S.

The Assali family’s story  made international headlines when the Syrian Christian family of six (see Donald, they’re Christians! You said they get preferred treatment!) was detained at Philadelphia International Airport, had their visas canceled, and were sent back to Damascus.

But according to this story, during the past two weeks, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent and lawyers have been fighting to have the family returned, since they went through a 13-year process to obtain visas. (13 years!).

They finally arrived Monday to hugs, cheers and relief.

More goodness: Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf said he would personally reimburse the family for the six plane tickets they bought to get to the United States. A friend of the governor who asked to remain anonymous  also chipped in, paying for the van that took the family from New York to Allentown, the source said.

Ridiculous they had to go through all this, to get all the way to America and be sent back at the airport. But at least finally, thanks to some U.S. judges who are actually (gasp!) following the rule of law, the Assalis have arrived.

**Next up, this is the time of year where we start seeing a lot of these stories in amateur sports, and I love every one of them.

A teenage girl from Norman, Okla. named Lainy Frederickson got into a game last week for the first time. As you’ll see, Lainy has a lot of problems, but the special-needs athlete was put into the game and knocked home a basket. All the reactions are great, but my favorites are the referee, and No. 15 from the other team.

So, so wonderful when high school sports are used to lift up spirits and hearts.

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**Finally this week, a really sweet story involving 31-year-old actor Chris Salvatore, and his 89-year-old neighbor Norma Cook. They’re neighbors in Hollywood, and when Cook recently got leukemia and became gravely ill, Salvatore decided to spend as much time possible with her.

He hangs out with Cook at the hospital, and when doctors told Cook she couldn’t return to her apartment unless she got 24-hour care, Salvatore took the Internet, raising $50,000 for her, and then when the money ran low, he asked his octogenarian friend to move into his apartment.

She couldn’t be happier that I asked,” he said. “I was over there visiting most days anyway.”

“The only other option was for her to go into a facility,” he continued. “I just couldn’t do that to someone who is like my own grandmother.”

Really sweet. But this quote from Cook made me laugh out loud.

We always watch the news,” she added. “We mostly talk and drink Champagne and eat peanuts.”

Sounds good to me!