Fantastic Friday: David Hanks

David Hanks

Morven, Georgia native and author, David Hanks, shared the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize with Mohamed ElBaradei, given to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for their efforts in preventing nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way. He has also served as an international nuclear safeguards analyst for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC.

David Hanks is a world citizen, he and his family divide their residency between Washington, DC and Vienna, Austria but his heart is still rooted is Brooks County.  While a young man, the Hanks family endured a heart wrenching tragedy after his Mother, Hellen G. Hanks was murdered in 1972 by a man who investigators believe killed her for rebuffing his sexual advances.

When a farmer uncovered Hanks’ skeletal remains while clearing land in 1980, it put an end to questions about her whereabouts when prominent Valdosta businessman Keller Wilcox, one of her bosses, was convicted in 1982 of strangling Hellen Hanks. Son, David Hanks, wrote The Disappearance, the fictional account of what he and his siblings endured after the disappearance of their mother in Valdosta as a cathartic tribute to his mother.

Even so, Hanks says “I don’t dwell too much on that. I try to live in the present.”  Fantastic!

“Our past is not the thing that matters so much in this world as what we intend to do with our future.” ~Shoghi Effendi

Fantastic Friday: Scott Rigsby

It seems that you need heart, not legs, to accomplish the unthinkable. Double amputee Ironman Scott Rigsby has a big-actually huge-heart. His story inspires and oftentimes takes away excuses; he embodies the unthinkable which he will now share with new amputee Amiee Copeland (both from Georgia).

Double amputee Ironman Scott Rigsby

“Life goes on,” is part of the salient message Scott will share with Aimee. She’s in the international spotlight now partly because of the flesh eating bacteria that caused her to loose arms and legs and begin to live as a quadruple amputee. The e other reason Aimee is so endearing is because of her positive perspective. She says,” My attitude is going to determine my altitude, and I’m going to keep positive”

Rigsby, a double amputee, knows firsthand about the challenges Aimee Copeland will face when she is introduced to a life with prosthesis.

Twenty six years ago it happened. A tractor trailer truck slammed into the vehicle Scott was in and one leg was severed and hlis other leg was mangled. Ten years ago, he became a double amputee, the other leg was removed. Eventually an Atlanta Thrashers team physician fitted him with high-tech prosthetic legs, Rigsby, now an internationally known triathlete, said he was finally able to get on with his life.

Through his foundation, Rigsby has also worked with hundreds of wounded veterans who have lost limbs in combat, and he’ll draw on that experience in working with Copeland. This man has a big heart, a message of courage, indomitable strength and endurance; he has become an “overcomer” and personifies the belief that anyone can and shall overcome.

“I want to be able to take away people’s excuses.” ~Scott Rigsby


Fantastic Friday: FODAC

There are so many caring people, businesses and organizations that truly care.  Whether caring is embedded in their personal or company mission, there are a plethora of examples where actions match or exceed their promise because of the people who have a compassionate heart.

FODAC or Friends of Disabled Adults and Children in Georgia is fantastic and deserve Friday fanfare.  This organization states: “We seek to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages who have any type of illness or physical disability.” In recent months, due to the illnesses of my neighbor or others in my care circle, I have first-hand awareness of what they do and I have gotten to spend time with the staff.  Let me tell you, they have gotten their mission right.

The volunteers and staff at FODAC do awesome, life enhancing work without Medicare funding. Mostly, they provide durable medical equipment and supplies for those with disabilities for a suggested donation. The stories of caring, and the tangible evidence of how much the workers extend themselves, is inspiring.

FODAC is fantastic!

Fantastic Friday

What a day to celebrate – today is the day of one.  11-11-11 all ones that equal 1. One you, One God, One Faith, One humanity, One love, One grace, One focus, One family, One heart, One grace, One expectation….

Make your own One …. declaration. One ?


Today I want to highlight a concept for Fantastic Friday.  11 Alive News (, a local television station in Atlanta, is celebrating what is fantastic, fabulous, and factitive about sharing and giving goodness from the heart.   The news takes a new twist at this station; instead of all gloom, fear and death, they are championing what is good that children and young people do to make this world a better place.

“It’s a movement meant to have a positive impact on people’s lives every day.”  Add to the Chain, using the example of Rachel Scott,  the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 is linking up Georgians all across the state. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for Rachel’s Challenge, is Georgia’s response of trans-formative positive impact.

Schools and businesses and people from across Georgia   volunteered time, contributed creative solutions and took an active part in giving that added to the chain of kindness. One random act from the heart makes a difference.

I plan to join the thousands of celeebrants at the Georgia Dome today for the culmination of  this year of service,  kindness and thoughtfulness and bask in the prominence of happiness and joy so that I have an indelible imprint to carry forward.

Don’t stop! It does not matter where you are in the world, keep the chain of kindness going.

Make a fantastic contribution of positive sharing today and everyday.  As six year old Zalissa Lomax of Gainesville, Georgia knows,  “just a smile can change something, and that’s never too small of an act of kindness.”

Recommended Reading: One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity Debbie Macomber, Howard Books, 2009

You are fantastic, be fantastic and give what is fantastic in you.

Happy Friday!

Fantastic Friday

Crystal Forrester, a mother of three children, is an angel to grieving parents. This Gainesville, Georgia woman has a compassionate heart to serve others in spite of her hectic schedule which includes working part-time delivering pizza for Domino’s.  Forrester started a charity called Charlie’s Little Angels.  “If a child passes away and the parents can’t afford to pay for their funeral, we will come in and help them out, buying headstones, donating coffins.”

Fantastic, sympathetic, sensitive, servant – these are just a few words I would use to describe Crystal. To step in and help heal a family’s grief when one of their children ascends is an incredible good deed that deserves recognition.  Be sure that recognition is not important to Forrester at all, but others notice her generous heart and feel that her acts of kindness deserve a spotlight or two.

Crystal Forrester is a fantastic woman who deserves praise on Fantastic Friday. Read her story: For more information on Charlie’s Little Angels here’s their web site,

(Let me know about someone you think is fantastic and I will post their story here on Fantastic Friday. Let’s celebrate and honor what is Fantastic in each other.)

Fantastic Friday

Life is precious and wonderful. You, and what you do for others, make it fantastic!

The Habeeb’u’llah family in South Dekalb county Georgia is fantastic. For the past 18 years this Mother, Father and son have operated “Umoja Souljahs and Project Aza Nia, free of charge and without government funding, at the Baha’i Unity Center, for youth – male and female – all around the community.  Let me share a piece of their story:

Vernada Habeeb’u’llah and her husband, Nasif, and their son Anthony saw a need right where they live – they saw a desperate segment of society lacking solutions to teen drop-out rates, increased teen pregnancies, teen violence, teen suicide, and overall despair almost at their doorstep.  They responded to the urgency by creating this youth program to counter the injuries of hopelessness. The core of the program is two fold: 1.) teach these kids, regardless of race, history as African American males and females to let them know they are descendents of kings and queens and 2.) to develop virtuous character within each child.

The impact was immediate. Grades and deportment drastically improved because every Friday they huddle in a circle and talk about grades and situations in their home and at school.  If there were incidents, they sit together in counsel and come to solutions. Soon each child would keep each other in check so that the bond of respect was tight. Max and his wife, Nadia, joined in as adult leaders. Not one girl in the group became pregnant over the years and not one boy was arrested – that’s fantastic. Each child has graduated high school and college and those still in elementary or middle or high school are model students.

We can make a difference in the world, right where we are.


Favorite Friday

What a glorious day – may you get to feel every element of your special gifts.  Touch your heart with one hand and touch your forehead with the other hand and say out loud: This is a glorious day and I am grateful to be a part of it.

These words, or some words similar, is what Georgia native, Scott Hunt, blasts to the heavens almost everyday.  His mother, Wynell, author of the book Why Scotty writes about her son’s life lifts after he was paralyzed in a car accident.  In his words, “On August 1, 1985, my life was changed forever!! I was a passenger in a car that was involved in a head-on collision. I was knocked into a coma that lasted for nine weeks. Doctors suggested to my parents that I be put into a nursing home, because they had never seen a person with brain injuries as serious as mine ever come out of his coma. And come out I did!!”

Scotty Hunt, a devout Christian, has a will to live and experience each glorious day.  Now, he is a college graduate and is married and lives an independent, glorious life.

Oh what a wonder-you make my Fridays a Favorite.