Wednesday, January 30, 2013
In honor of fallen Navy Seal, Southlake resident creates blog to inspire random acts of kindness
Navy Seal Lt. Brendan Looney died September 21, 2010.
Flickr user jcolman
SOUTHLAKE When Navy Seal Lt. Brendan Looney died September 21, his death inspired one local resident to carry on his widow's request.
Following the death of her husband, Amy Looney requested everyone perform 10 random acts of kindness by the end of 2012. That inspired the blog and website created by Southlake resident Kara Williams.
Williams never met Brendan or Amy Looney, but both she and her husband attended the same naval academy as Brendan Looney. Williams' husband graduated from the naval academy in 2001 and was a pilot in the U.S. Navy for nine years, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Neither one of us were in Brendan's graduating class or knew him until I read an article by his widow, Amy," Williams said. "She wrote, asking people to do 10 random acts of kindness because Brendan always put other people first."
Brendan Looney graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004. In late 2006, he was transfered to the Navy SEALs. He graduated from SEAL qualification training in 2008. Three weeks later, on July 12, Brendan married his wife, Amy. Within 48 hours of the conclusion of the ceremony, he was deployed to Iraq. Looney, was one of nine U.S. service members to die in September of 2010 in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
To honor the life of Brendan Looney, and the wishes of Amy Looney, Williams began asking her children and family to do random acts of kindness, but she said she liked the premise of Amy Looney's wishes and wanted to expand the ideas.
"I talked to some of the ladies I work with and decided to start a blog. The idea was to give it to his widow as a surprise around Christmas. I thought it would be a nice thing to do."
Williams created and maintained the blog in addition to soliciting people to participate in the project by doing an act of kindness and posting it on the blog.
"The people who have done acts so far have been amazing," Williams said. "This is something that's really simple and not very time consuming. It doesn't even have to be something that costs money, people have held open doors for others all week or helped neighbor their clean yard. It's all about thinking about other people before yourself."
So far, the random acts of kindness include an act by the O'Bryan family who sent their cousin, who is stationed in Afghanistan and spent his first Christmas away from home, a care package to let him know he is missed and his service is appreciated. Another family, the Horton's, shoveled snow from their neighbor's home after that family left town due to the unexpected death of a loved one.
"I want this project to be about putting yourself second," Williams said. "I also wanted to teach my children how nice giving can be, and I've always taught them that in real life people like Brendan are the heroes and a lot of times they don't come back unharmed."
Every year, Williams' family chooses a community project to support in order to give back as well as teach their children the importance of goodwill. In addition to this project, Williams is involved with the wounded warrior program.
"I want to help others. I grew up in Long Island, New York, so I was really affected by 9/11," Williams said. "I also have a 5-year-old daughter who was close to death for a long time. While she was sick, people helped out who didn't even really know us that well. That experience impacted me -- that these people don't even know me would take the time to help. I want to return their kindness by expressing kindness to other's who maybe I don't know."
Williams said even though her New Year's Eve deadline has passed, the website will remain up and ready for people to post their random acts of kindness in Brendan Looney's honor.
For information, visit http://brendanlooney.wordpress.com.
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