Honoring Vets and Feeding Children

ByABC News

Dec. 26, 2006 — -- "World News" profiled a range of individuals during 2006 who are finding ways to benefit others in the United States and abroad. We caught up with a few of those featured and have these updates as they are named "Persons of the Year."

As a Marine serving in Iraq, Capt. Rye Barcott was fighting on two fronts. He split his time between fighting with U.S. troops and running a charity in a notorious slum in Nairobi, Kenya, to fight poverty and diffuse ethnic tensions. He got involved in the project during a college semester abroad.

"For me, personally, it's enormously gratifying because I'm engaged in two forms of public service," Barcott said.

Since the profile of Barcott ran on "World News" in October, he has received enough donations to the charity Carolina for Kibera to build a 16-room medical clinic that will treat over 15,000 patients per year.

Barcott now attends graduate school at Harvard and is still involved in Kenya, even though he's halfway around the world.

He said it's important to "expose yourself to how the majority of the world lives."

"I think it'll make you a lot more appreciative of what you've got, and make you a better American and make you a better global citizen."

Texas kindergarten teacher Kayla Brown started an organization to feed students when she discovered the reason one of her charges was suddenly failing his schoolwork.

"I walked by and noticed that he was licking his plate. He had his plate up in the air and he was licking it," Brown said. "I took him to the side and I said, you know, 'Honey, what's wrong? What's going on?' And he said, 'I'm hungry.'"

She started collecting food to supplement the meals kids received in school and slipped the items into their backpacks for dinner or weekends.

Backpack Buddies serves 170 children whose schoolwork has blossomed since the program began. Now, the students are getting enough to eat.

Since the story aired on "World News," Brown said she has heard from almost 500 other schools who are starting their own programs to feed their students.

Brown said while she believes you can't fix the whole world, everyone should fix "what you can."

Earl Morse has made it his mission to fly World War II veterans to Washington to see the memorial in their honor and funds the flights though donations.

"You're escorting them through the airport. And you see all these people standing up and clapping for them," he said.

The physician's assistant said when he began asking veterans if they wanted the flight, emotional responses followed.

"I said, 'How about if I fly you out to see your memorial? And it's absolutely free to you. Would you like to go?'" he explained. "I was ready for him to say yes or no or 'Let me check with my wife.' I wasn't ready for him to start crying."

To date, Morse has flown more than 10 missions and 217 veterans to the site and there will be more.

He urges everyone to thank these heroes for their work as soldiers.

"Just thank them for what they've done," Morse said. "For the blessings and for the liberties that we all enjoy. They'll remember that for the rest of their lives."

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