Posts tagged with "People magazine"

WWII vet who escaped Nazis finally gets Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal nearly 80 years later

July 5, 2022

For nearly 80 years, World War II veteran and D-Day survivor William “Willie” Kellerman hadn’t received official recognition of his sacrifices due to a paperwork error. All that changed on Tuesday, June 29, when the 97-year-old was presented with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Prisoner of War Medal by General James C. McConville, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, at Fort Hamilton Community Club in Brooklyn, New York, reports People magazine.

“I feel like I have been living in a shadow and I’ve turned the lights on,” Kellerman tells People. “I will never forget the experience I had back in 1945.”

After growing up in the Bronx during the Great Depression, 19-year-old Kellerman ended up on a war ship off the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944, which became known as D-Day. Within days, he landed on Utah Beach, France, joining the fight against the Nazis.

Just a few weeks later, on July 4, Kellerman’s radio was shot while he faced heavy gunfire. With no way to communicate, his captain sent him to find his Battalion’s headquarters.

“I said, ‘Where do I go?” recalls Kellerman, a private first class at the time, “and he just said, ‘Just head that way.'”

But as he was jumping through hedgerows and dodging bullets, Kellerman came face-to-face with a German tank and was taken prisoner.

“They came out of the tank with machine guns,” says Kellerman, who had to stay with the Nazis in a tent that night. “The next day they took me back where they had about 60 to 70 other Americans that they had gotten.”

Kellerman recalls being given one slice of bread a day and only being able to walk at night. “Our planes would shoot a

Above, William Kellerman. (Photo source: U.S. Army)

nything moving in the daylight,” he explains.

Thankfully, he managed a daring escape: “I crawled into the bushes, and when they were out of sight, I ran in the opposite direction,” he says. “I got to a farmhouse, and it was becoming daylight.”

Kellerman says he knocked on the door and tried to explain that he was an American who had escaped, but the residents didn’t speak English.

“They gave me all their French clothes and took my uniform and burned it,” he recalls.

They wouldn’t let him stay because they could all be killed if the Germans found them, so he took off on foot and walked along the railroad tracks, Kellerman recalls. “Then I got brave,” he says of moving from the tracks to the road.

Kellerman felt that he was getting “braver and braver” as he passed the Germans and began to stop at houses for food. After finding a bike along the side of the road and getting a flat tire, he visited what he thought was a bicycle store. But to his surprise, it was actually the secret headquarters of the French Resistance.

“It’s a good thing I knew who won the World Series that year because they asked me all kinds of questions to make sure I wasn’t German,” he says. “I convinced them I was who I said I was.” They kept him hidden in the Freteval Forest, where he stayed until Allied forces took over, he recalls.

“I finished the war with them,” says Kellerman, who was shot in the leg and hand when he fought alongside Allied forces.

Kellerman says he recovered at a hospital in Bayreuth, Germany before returning home from the war. He’d go on to attend art school in New York City and live in Havana before settling down with his wife Sandy in Long Island, New York. Together they raised three children as he opened and ran a series of stores offering sewing machines, vacuum cleaners. and typewriters.

He wouldn’t return to Normandy until 2018. This time, his family joined him as he received France’s Legion of Honor. “It felt great to be back because they weren’t shooting at me,” says Kellerman, laughing. “They welcomed me, asked for my autograph and gave me a medal.”

But even after that, Kellerman doubted that recognition from his own country would ever come. For years, Kellerman and his daughter, Jean Kellerman-Powers, had been trying to get the U.S. Army to look at his service record, they tell People. The 2019 short documentary about D-Day, Sixth of June, finally made it happen.

Filmmaker Henry Roosevelt showed an early cut to Lieutenant Colonel Egan O’Reilly and General Mark Milley (now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer), and began the process to get Kellerman and other veterans the medals they deserved.

“The best thing to come out of our film is the audience that watched, listened and acted upon it,” says Roosevelt. “That piece of medal and ribbon—one that Willy and his daughter Jeanie have been pushing for decades—that means the world to him and his family. It means that William Kellerman is finally being heard.”

The film also led to Ozzie Fletcher, a 99-year-old Black man who served in WWII, receiving a Purple Heart in June 2021. Fletcher was wounded during the Battle of Normandy, but had been denied the Purple Heart due to racial inequalities.

Research contact: @people

Mane event: White lion at China zoo struts unique mullet-like mane that he styles himself

June 8, 2022

A zoogoer in China recently photographed a white lion rocking a wild hairdo—and the eye-catching look has gone viral, reports People.

Newsweek, was the first to pick up the photo, taken during a May 28 visit to the Guangzhou Zoo. In it, the male lion has a mane that looks like a mullet hairstyle, featuring short bangs in the front and long voluminous pieces of fur falling down the back.

The photos originated from a zoo visitor’s Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) before spreading across the Internet.

The Guangzhou Zoo denies it styles the white lion’s amazing mane. According to Newsweek, the zoo told the Chinese news outlet Guangdong that the animal’s hairstyle was “taken care of” by the lion himself and that keepers wouldn’t “dare” try to manage the big cat’s mane.

In its statement to Guangdong, the zoo added that the lion’s hairdo is accentuated by the humidity in the area.

Research contact: @people

‘Fuzz cut’: Toddler is diagnosed with rare uncombable hair syndrome

February 28, 2022

A couple from Roswell, Georgia, recently told People magazine about their “brush with fate.”

When Katelyn and Caleb Samples celebrated the birth of their second child just 16 months ago, baby Locklan arrived with jet-black hair similar to his mom’s color. But by the time he was six months old, that dark hair was being replaced by what his parents affectionally called “peach fuzz.”

“We were like, huh, what is this?” she tells People of Locklan’s (nicknamed Lock) newly-blond, soft hair. “We knew it was different, but didn’t know exactly how. And then it kept growing and growing.”

By nine months, Lock’s hair was white-blonde, super soft and sticking straight up out of his head. It matched his 3-year-old brother Shep’s hair in color, but could not be more different in texture.

“People we’re definitely noticing it,” Katelyn, 33, says with a laugh. That’s also when she got a message on Instagram from a stranger who asked if Lock had been diagnosed with “uncombable hair syndrome.”

“I was like, oh my god, what is this? Is something wrong with my baby?” she says. “I went into tailspins on Google.”

Katelyn called their pediatrician, who said they had never heard of the syndrome and directed her to a specialist at nearby Emory University Hospital.

“We went to see her and she said she’d only seen this once in 19 years,” Katelyn recalls. “She didn’t think it was uncombable hair syndrome, because of how rare it is, but they took samples and a pathologist looked at it under a special microscope.”

And after looking at the structure of Lock’s hair, they were able to confirm that, indeed, it was uncombable hair syndrome—an extremely rare condition that causes the hair to grow with a very soft and easily breakable texture. Lock is one of just 100 known cases of the condition.

Hearing that Lock had this syndrome was a shock at first. “You’re just going about your day thinking everything’s fine and that your kid might have curly hair, which does run in the family. And then to hear that there’s a rare syndrome associated with your kid — it was crazy,” Katelyn says.

Thankfully, the syndrome only seems to affect Lock’s hair. “They said because he was developing normally in every other area of his life, that we didn’t need to be worried about anything else being a concern,” she says.

Katelyn tried to learn more about the syndrome, but with so few cases, there’s very little information online or among specialists. She did, though, find a Facebook group of parents of kids with the syndrome or people who have it themselves.

“That’s been a great source of comfort, and we share pictures and talk about different things,” she says. “It’s cool to see how the older kids’ hair has changed over the years: For some people it does not go away, and for others it becomes a little bit more manageable.”

Research contact: @people

Hen party: U.K. pig befriends rescue chicken who loves to give him back scratches

February 22, 2022

A giant pig that lives in a house has a new best friend—a hen that had to be moved indoors due to an avian flu lockdown, reports People magazine.

Both animals currently live at Tribe Animal Sanctuary in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Vietnamese potbellied pig Francisco, 4, moved to the U.K. rescue habitat after his former owner—a teenage girl who got the pet for her birthday—could no longer care for him after he grew beyond his supposed “micropig” size.

Morag Sangster, who runs Tribe Animal Sanctuary, lets him run the house along with her four dogs, as reported by SWNS.

Alice the hen arrived at the sanctuary after Sangster rescued her from life on a battery farm used for fast food production. Then, last November, Alice moved from the sancutary’s outdoor area to the inside of the conservatory, in order to avoid an outbreak of avian flu. Alice’s lockdown forced the chicken to live with Francisco. Luckily, the hen and pig became unlikely best friends.

Alice quickly became one of Francisco’s favorites thanks to her pig backscratches, which she conducts by standing on the swine and stretching her claws.”I think all pigs love to have scratches on their back Sanagster told SWNS, adding, “Alice will jump on Francisco’s back, and you can tell he likes it.”

The two-year-old hen will eventually be allowed to move back outside, but Stranger believes that she will choose to spend her time indoors to be near Francisco.

However, one way or another, neither of them will be at a loss for company: Tattoo artist Sangster and her partner John Ryan also have four Highland cows, seven pigs, 50 sheep, three donkeys, seven goats, five geese, five turkeys, and 60 hens under their care.

“We like to see animals as fun-loving creatures, there’s no difference between pets and livestock,” Sangster said of her full house.

Research contact: @people

‘Lookin’ sharp, kid!’ Baby porcupine born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

January 26, 2022

Smithsonian’s National Zoo has welcomed a new member—a baby porcupine!

During a winter snowstorm, the quill-covered rodent arrived overnight between January 3 and January 4; and keepers discovered the newborn the next morning, People magazine reports.

The unnamed animal is the second offspring of porcupine parents Quillbur and Beatrix. The porcupine joins big brother Quilliam, who was born in 2019.

In a Facebook post on January 19, the Washington D.C. zoo said, “Lookin’ sharp, kid! Prehensile-tailed porcupines Beatrix and Quillbur recently welcomed their second offspring. Small Mammal House keepers reported for duty Januuary 4 and discovered Beatrix had given birth overnight.”

The zoo also revealed that the now two-week-old porcupine is “bonded with mom and is nursing well and gaining weight.”

The sex of the porcupette—a term for a baby porcupine—has yet to be determined. According to the zoo’s post, all baby porcupines are anatomically similar until they reach six months, so the zoo is using DNA testing to discover the young animal’s sex.

“Keepers sent quill samples to scientists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation Genomics for DNA analysis,” the zoo shared in its social media post. “In a few weeks, we’ll know our porcupette’s sex!”

Zookeepers also are waiting to learn more about the new porcupine’s personality.

“Our team is looking forward to learning if the newborn will take after Beatrix, who is relaxed and easy-going, or be more active and curious like Quillbur!” the zoo added on Facebook.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines—one of 18 species of New World porcupines —are born with soft quills that harden minutes after birth. They can climb trees and are herbivores, according to the zoo.

Research contact: @people

‘Tweets’ galore: 836 parakeets surrendered to Michigan rescue group

January 3, 2022

The son of an animal hoarder surrendered more than 800 parakeets to the Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG), People magazine reports.

Initially, the man surrendering the birds told the Michigan shelter that he would drop off 60-80 birds. Instead, he arrived with 497 parakeets on December 23 and returned with 339 more parakeets on the day after Christmas.

“A Christmas present we were not expecting,” the Detroit Animal Welfare Group wrote on Facebook of the deliveries.

“We were in shock,” the group added, “but could not turn them away.”

Many of the parakeets arrived at the rescue in tight cages that left the birds struggling to move.

“He had them all in seven cages,” Kelly LeBonty, the group’s director, told the Detroit Free Pressabout the original condition of the 800 birds“A very tight fit. They were kind of on top of each other and smothering each other …. They were very, very stressed. They were barely moving. We had to get them out and into different cages.”

The son told the animal shelter that his father had kept the birds in one room in his home and spent more than $1,200 feeding them.

“His son said that he just wanted to breed a few of them, and it got out of control,” LeBonty explained in the Detroit Free Press article. “The problem is, birds breed easily. And then you just have more babies and more babies, and more babies, if you don’t control the situation.”

The group said on Facebook that the birds were in “a very unhealthy situation and the irresponsibility of the owner is infuriating. However, it truly takes a village to help these animals, and we are so thankful for everyone that worked together to get them the care.”

According to another Detroit Animal Welfare Group Facebook post, all of the parakeets must be deemed healthy by a veterinarian before they are put up for adoption. Once a bird passes their health check, it will be put up for adoption through one of the four rescue organizations currently housing the birds.

After what the animals have already been through, the Detroit Animal Welfare Group is grateful that many are taking the time to help the birds. The rescue has received numerous monetary donations and supplies from concerned pet lovers who are helping to keep the parakeets safe, fed, and on the road to recovery.

Research contact: @people

Cold paws, warm heart: Benny, an eight-year-old Labrador retriever, is ice skating for charity

December 13, 2021

An ice-skating dog from Las Vegas is among this year’s recipients of the American Kennel Club’s Award for Canine Excellence, reports People magazine.

Benny, an eight-year-old Labrador retriever owned by Cheryl DelSangro, was named the American Kennel Club’s 2021 Exemplary Companion for his work with the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights and various local charities.

Indeed, Benny first gained popularity through his appearances at Golden Knights hockey games at the T-Mobile Arena, where he dazzles crowds on his pair of custom skates.

The idea began in August 2018 with photographer Rick Vierkandt, who asked DelSangro if her dog would partake in a cheer video for the Golden Knights, per the American Kennel Club (AKC). In the clip, Benny holds a hockey stick in his mouth and prances around the ice while chasing pucks.

After watching the video, a lightbulb went off in DelSangro’s head. “I started to think I could teach him to skate. I taught our daughter when she was 17 months old, and I figured Benny had better balance than a toddler,” the retired ice skater told the AKC. 

In no time, Benny found his footing on the ice. DelSangro told the AKC that no one expected the Labrador to learn to skate on his first try, let alone love the activity.

After the stunning discovery, DelSangro designed Benny a set of special skates, which a friend of hers helped sculpt, using an altered dog boot at the top of the shoe.

Since his first time on skates, Benny has made impressive progress. The pup showed off his various skills in clips posted to YouTube by Bark Gallery in January, including his effortless transition out of a lying-down positionturning corners, and stopping on his own.

“He no longer goes front to back with his skates but pushes out to the sides,” DelSangro explained to the AKC. “Also, he has taught himself to stop, with a reverse snowplow move. He has also learned to skate in reverse a short distance. To a major degree, he is self-taught.”

When he isn’t skating for the Golden Knights, Benny is skating for charity with Spectrum on Ice, an ice-skating program for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

“He’s like a magnet for the kids, and creates an instant comfort zone,” DelSangro told the AKC. “As one mom told me with tears in her eyes, her son had never touched an animal but petted Benny on the ice, and with a smile on his face, followed him around. That put everything in perspective for me.”

She adds, “He especially relates to children who may have to skate or learn differently, like he does,” she explained. “They know he doesn’t judge or care how they skate, just that he sees how excited and happy they are when he is with them.”

This year, four other dogs received ACE awards out of nearly 1,000 applicants, per the AKC. Each recipient receives $1,000 for a pet-related charity of their choice, a one-year supply of Eukanuba dog food, and an engraved silver medallion.

Research contact: @people

If you see this hand gesture while you’re driving or on a video call, dial 911 right away

Novemebr 11, 2021

Did you know there’s a specific, simple, and discreet hand gesture that can be used to signal distress? If you know what to look for, you might be able to rescue someone in peril—or even to get help for yourself, should you ever need it, reports Best Life.

HandIn fact, on Thursday, November 5, one eagle-eyed driver spotted the gesture when a teenage girl placed her hand outside the open window of a car—and called 911 to assist in a roadway rescue.

“The complainant was behind the vehicle and noticed a female passenger in the vehicle making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform Tik Tok to represent violence at home: I need help, domestic violence,” the sheriff’s office in Laurel County, Kentucky, said in a statement. “The complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress.”

The missing 16-year-old girl was able to communicate her need for help by using the hand signal, which she learned on the social media site TikTok, People magazine reports.

After Laurel County 911 got the call on Thursday, operators dispatched officers to a highway exit, where they conducted a traffic stop on the car carrying the teenage passenger. They discovered the girl’s parents had reported her missing from Asheville, North Carolina, two days previously.

They then arrested the driver, a 61-year-old man, and discovered he was carrying a phone that held photos that “portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner.”

According to the sheriff’s department, “The female juvenile told Sheriff’s investigators that she had gotten with the male subject and traveled through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and into Ohio, where the accused had relatives.

When the male subject’s relatives realized that the female in his custody was underage and reported missing, the accused left Ohio traveling southbound and the female juvenile then began attempting to get motorists [sic] attention to call 911.”

The driver was charged and is being held at Laurel County Correctional Center.

With domestic violence situations soaring during the pandemic, the Women’s Funding Network launched a campaign in 2020 to help people in need silently call for help—for instance, as a way of quietly communicating the danger on a video call. They called the campaign “Signal for Help,” and used it to raise awareness about the hand gestures.

The signal is made by placing one hand up with the palm facing outward. The thumb tucks in underneath the four fingers folded over it. Knowing this simple, silent gesture could save a life one day—perhaps even your own.

Research contact: @bestlife

Australian farmer herds sheep to form a heart in honor of his late aunt

August 30, 2021

Recently, an Australian farmer herded his sheep into a huge,” heartfelt” valentine shape—photographed from above by a drone—in order to pay tribute to his aunt after she died, People magazine reports.

Indeed, Ben Jackson recently lost his aunt Debby, according to the BBC—but he was prevented from attending her funeral by COVID-19 restrictions Down Under. Jackson was 400km (248 miles) away in New South Wales when his Aunt Debby lost her two-year cancer battle in Queensland—and regulations forbade him from travelling to Brisbane to be present at her last rites.

So, in an effort to participate and show his love, Jackson posted a video on social media on Tuesday, August 24. In it a drone captures the moment when hundreds of his sheep are released into a pasture to form a huge heart by following a trail of grain laid out for them.

Jackson told the BBC it took a few attempts to form the heart and that he got the exact pattern down after a “bit of guesswork.” 

“There was no way I could get up there and see her, say cheerio, or go to the funeral,” he told the outlet, “So I felt hopeless, helpless—I didn’t really know what to do. But because I was doing a bit of feeding already, I just decided to do a massive heart in the ground, which in all earnest, pales in comparison to hers.”

The farmer’s family received the video ahead of Aunt Debby’s funeral and played the sweet clip at the service while Jackson watched on through a live stream.

Jackson told BBC he had done other “sheep artworks” in the past and his aunt, an “incredibly giving” woman, was a fan of the animals’ designs. The video of Jackson’s tribute to his aunt has gone viral since the clip appeared on Twitter.

“She would be proud as punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I’ve made for her,” he said. “It’s just love. Love’s sensational.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Jackson shared that he started experimenting with shapes and spelling out his favorite bands’ names by leaving trails of feed for his sheep amid Australia’s drought last year.

“It certainly lifted my spirits back in the drought,” he told the outlet.

Speaking about the reaction people have had on social media to the sheep shape, the farmer said, “This heart that I’ve done for my auntie, it certainly seems like it’s had a bit of an effect across Australia. Maybe we all just need to give ourselves a big virtual hug.”

Research contact: @people

Whiz kid: Toddler with IQ of 146 is now the youngest member of American Mensa

June 1, 2021

Kashe Quest is a two-year-old with a bright future ahead of her. The toddler from Los Angeles is now the youngest member of American Mensa—a group of highly intelligent people who have scored in the top 2% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test, People magazine reports.

“Kashe is certainly a remarkable addition to American Mensa,” Trevor Mitchell, executive director of American Mensa, recently told People in a statement. “We are proud to have her and to be able to help her and her parents with the unique challenges that gifted youth encounter.”

While most toddlers should be able to recite some numbers by the time they’re two, Kashe’s mother, Sukhjit Athwal, told KTTV her daughter is able to count to 100. Kashe also knows more than 50 signs in sign language—an impressive feat.

“We started to notice her memory was really great. She just picked up things really fast and she was really interested in learning,” Athwal told the outlet. “At about 17, 18 months, she had recognized all the alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes.”

Adding to her many milestones, Kashe is learning Spanish and can point out all 50 U.S. states by their shape and location.

Her IQ is 146, according to Athwal, which is far above the average American IQ of about 98.

But, as Athwal noted, Kashe is still a typical child in many ways: “At the end of the day, she’s in that toddler stage,” Athwal told KTTV. “She very much is still a normal 2-year-old where we have negotiations, we have tantrums, we have everything and it’s different because the way we communicate with her, it has to be different because she’s able to understand just a little bit more.”

“I think one of the biggest things with me and [my] daughter [is] making sure she has a childhood and we don’t force anything on her,” she added. “We’re kind of going at her pace and we want to just make sure that she is youthful for as long as she can be.”

Research contact: @people