Recession Angels Rise to the Occasion

Leonard Abess Jr. and longtime bank employee Geneva Lawson of Florida as President Obama introduced him during a Congressional address.

Linda Naughton, who has worked at City National for 50 years, said, "There's no better place to work."

She started as a file clerk, rising to the position of managing senior vice president. "It's the only job I've ever had."

Abess, who remains as chairman and CEO of the bank, said its success is all about the workers, which is not a line you hear too often in corporate America today.

"When I sold the bank, I didn't want the money so I gave $60 million of it to my employees. And I feel really good about it," Abess said.

Indiana Food Drive

For the past three weeks, Scott Tuttle, president of Livin' Lite Recreational Vehicles, has been organizing a giant food distribution program with Feed The Children. He expects to give food and care packages to 6,000 people spread out over eight towns in northern Indiana.

"I do have a business to run, but you know what? Something like this is more important to me than just keeping my head down and taking care of myself," Tuttle said.

After coordinating with area churches, truck drivers and the food donors, he then got his hands dirty packing up boxes with other volunteers.

How much time has he put into the effort?

"I don't know. I haven't kept track of it," he said. "It's been a significant amount of time, but it's worth it."

Tuttle is very modest about this effort, which will feed unemployed families in this hard-hit area.

"I'm just typical of the kind of people around here," he said. "There just a lot of good people in this area and when other people are hurting, they're willing to go out of their way to help get them back on their feet and get through things."

Gourmet Chef Helps Homeless

Timothy Tucker used to work at high-end restaurants in Seattle and Dallas, catering to well-to-do Americans.

Today he couldn't be further from the well-heeled. Tucker is helping the homeless and those living below the poverty line in Louisville, Ky., learn to cook healthy meals using fresh ingredients. Tucker hopes that once they learn various culinary skills, they can land jobs at local restaurants.

"We've never seen anything like this before," he said of the current economic climate.

His classes, taught through the Salvation Army, also feed 400 people a day at a homeless shelter.

Chef Timothy Tucker teaching and preparing a dish with his class.

Tucker said that his program is "much more magical and special" than his prior jobs.

"Here we are able to cook great food and use it to heal people's lives," he said. "It's a much bigger thing in life that cooking incredibly beautiful food for people who have a lot of money to pay for it."

Student Skipping Spring Break to Build House

Spring break is typically a time to go to the beach, relax, party or on a more moderate budget stay home and relax on the couch with a good movie or two. But Haydar Ali, a junior at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, decided this year to spend his spring break helping an unemployed man in Detroit.

Ali led a team of college students for the United Way make upgrades at the man's house.

"In these times of economic decline, more than ever we need to step up as humans and help out," Ali said.

So no beer, beach or boardwalks for Ali. Just some lumber, nails and a lesson about the economy.

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