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  • Writer's pictureSteve Pemberton

The Human Lighthouse Report Volume 5

Many of us have at least one individual that completely changed the course of our lives through acts of kindness. Claire Levin was one of those people for me. Reading is a real-life super-power. It transports and transforms. The books that Claire offered me as a child became a magical escape, taking me to enchanted places that the foster family could never go. They gave me vision and a way to move beyond the place where I lived, a cold, hard dwelling devoid of kindness and caring. Once I saw this other world, its promise and its possibilities, I could not unsee it.

I call these people “human lighthouses”. They provide light and hope in uncertain times, with their help we can make it on the right path. You’re probably wondering, who are these lighthouses? What do they do that makes them so impactful? On a weekly basis we cover some of these stories of real people making a big impact on their communities to help us unite our more common story. Donna Parker

Donna Parker found old Army uniforms in the bottom of a dumpster two years ago and made it her mission to find its owner. All she had was the last name - McKenzie - and eventually after posting on social media and even setting up tables at local events in town, she eventually discovered that his full name was Kevin McKenkie. He had survived two deployments in Afghanistan but unfortunately, took his own life after being diagnosed with PTSD. This wasn’t the answer Parker was hoping for, but it did make finding the owner even more important. She found the soldier's son and wife, Kevin McKenzie Jr. and Crystal. "She answered a prayer that I didn't know I was praying for — some faith that there's people out there that care," Crystal said. Donna Parker could have left those uniforms in the trash, but instead she returned hope to their family.

Diane Owens

Diane Owens is one of 30,000 runners in the NYC Marathon. She began running when her son, Alex, was diagnosed with a rare disease called neurofibromatosis, which has left tumors in his back, brain, and his arms. By the time her son was two, she had raised $70,000 for the disease and the Children’s Tumor Foundation through her running. Unexpectedly, about 5 years ago, she began to experience her own medical issues. Owens was paralyzed with a rare illness, Guillain-Barré syndrome. She said she was actually quadriplegic, head to toe, for two months. Although the doctors thought she may never walk again, she is not only walking but running again for her son and has raised close to a half million dollars for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Her story is an example that it is possible to get through impossible barriers and lead by doing.

Lester Stein

When the pandemic lock-down occurred in April 2020, Lester Stein became worried about elderly neighbors in his community. He lives in a 55+ neighborhood, and many of the residents need help with miscellaneous tasks and have little social interaction as it is. Hoping to give everyone a chance to interact with others, Stein and a neighbor put up flyers on everyone's door, inviting them to a socially distanced meeting outside. Stein said, “Some people would come out and stand on their sidewalk, and then other people would walk up and down the aisle talking to people to see what’s going on, do you need anything, etc., it kind of just happened.” Every night, a group would end up at the gazebo in the center of the neighborhood and coordinate help for neighbors who need it. All this time later, they still meet daily. Stein said that he was inspired to help by those who assisted his late mother, who lived in West Virginia. Now, he hopes to do the same for others and help wherever needed. Do you have a Lighthouse you want to thank?

Human Lighthouses are often humble, steady, and seek no reward. That is why they should be honored that much more. If you have a Lighthouse you want to thank, go to and fill in their information. A thank you certificate with a special message of recognition will be sent to them that includes their name, your name, and is signed by The Lighthouse Effect author Steve Pemberton.

Lighthouse Effect Thought of The Week

Even small actions or words can completely change someone's mindset. If you see a little opportunity, take it even if it may not seem like a big deal. The Lighthouse Effect is the idea that any of us - immersed in the hustle and bustle of our lives, wrestling with our own ambitions and imperfections - can pause, and change the arc of the life of another-and find one for ourselves.

See a video about The Lighthouse Effect

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