Woman paralyzed while helping crash victim walks down aisle at her wedding

Updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 @ 7:42 AM
Published: Monday, September 09, 2013 @ 1:25 PM

A bride, who doctors said would never walk again, took a trip down the aisle Saturday.

Alissa Boyle walked down the aisle then danced the night away at her reception.

Boyle was paralyzed last year when she and a fellow nursing student stopped to help a crash victim on Interstate 79.

The two women jumped off an overpass to avoid a semi-truck that was barreling toward them.

Doctors told Alissa she would never walk again, but she proved them wrong.

"It hasn't been easy.  But I just take it a day at a time and I'm here,” Boyle said. “I've met every goal that I've had since the accident and this is my last one and I did it, so it's been really good."

The nonprofit organization Jamie’s Dream Team helped  Boyle and her husband plan their wedding. The couple will honeymoon in Hawaii.

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Elizabeth Smart says motherhood changed how she thought about her abduction

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 1:03 PM
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 12:54 PM
By: Nicole Moschella

            Elizabeth Smart says motherhood changed how she thought about her abduction
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Honoree Elizabeth Smart addresses the audience during the 2nd Annual Diller-von Furstenberg Awards at United Nations on March 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

In a recent interview with People magazine, Elizabeth Smart talked about how becoming a mother helped her realize her parents' perspective while she was missing.

"Nobody should have to go through the aftermath of a terrible crime alone," she told People.

>> Read more trending stories  

Smart, 28, was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 and was held captive for nine months. In that time, she was repeatedly raped and starved by her captors, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee.

Now a true-crime reporter, Smart said that talking to the parents of victims has greatly affected her since she gave birth to her own daughter, Chloe, in February 2015.

"When I go back to my own situation, I almost think it was worse for my parents than for me," she told People. "Because I knew that I was alive, but they didn't know. I always knew how much they loved me, but until I had my own daughter, I didn't realize how all-consuming that is. The worst thing in the world would be if something happened to my little girl."

Smart said she decided to continue her work with Crime Watch Daily because she believes that keeping the stories of kidnapped victims in the media will help solve some of the cases.

"I decided to continue because sharing the stories of survivors is a way to keep their cases in the spotlight and hopefully give them a better chance of bringing criminals to justice," Smart said. "The power of the media is so strong. I know that in my own experience, if my parents hadn't kept my story alive in the press, it might have been just another sad story that came and went. So the opportunity to talk to other victims and survivors means a lot to me and to them."

Read more at People.

Why is the Pentagon going after National Guard bonuses?

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 12:44 PM
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 12:15 PM
By: Debbie Lord - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Why is the Pentagon going after National Guard bonuses?
FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, California Army National Guard soldiers watch the arrival of the body of soldier Sean Walsh, who died on Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan, at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

A decade after the Department of Defense offered bonuses to soldiers to reenlist to help fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are asking National Guard troops for that money back.

The bonuses, which averaged around $15,000, were a result of overpayments from a fraudulent scheme, federal investigators said.

Now, the Pentagon wants its money back, and is threatening the Guardsmen with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they don’t get it.

Here’s a look at what happened with the payments and what can be done now amid the outrage over the demand for repayment.

Why is the Department of Defense going after soldiers to get bonus money back?

The Department of Defense is looking for millions of dollars in bonuses that were overpaid to National Guardsmen in the early 2000s. The bonuses, along with help to pay off student loans, were offered to get guardsmen to re-enlist and to get new recruits to sign up.

What’s wrong with getting re-enlistment bonuses?

Nothing if it is done per DoD regulations. Widespread fraud and mismanagement by the California Guard led to the overpayment, according to an investigation by the DoD. California National Guard officials, under pressure to meet enlistment targets, offered the bonuses and other incentives to thousands of members, many who were not eligible under Pentagon standards. The California Guard's incentive manager pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million, according to the Department of Justice. 

According to The Associated Press, in 2014, eight current or former members were indicted on federal charges for fraudulently obtaining recruiting referral bonuses.

Who does this affect?

According to the Los Angeles Times, about 11,000 soldiers were included in a Department of Defense audit and about 9,700 are being asked to repay bonuses and student loan aid. According to CNN, Col. Michael Piazzoni, commander of the Soldier Incentive Assistance Center, said the numbers aren’t that big.

According to Piazzoni,  2,000 members were found to have received unauthorized bonus payments amounting to at least $22 million. A portion of an additional 5,400 soldiers who could not show proof they were eligible for the payments they received were also ordered to repay the funds. 

Can’t they just forgive the debt?

The affected soldiers can petition to have the debt waived, and the military has the option to waive the debts, but only on an individual basis. It does not have the authority to issue a blanket waiver. The California National Guard asked Congress to forgive the debts in 2014. That did not happen, as many congressmen said that cost – estimated to be between $70 million and $100 million – was too high.

Some members of Congress have called for the debt to be forgiven, but no action has been taken yet.

Does the DoD offer bonuses often?

Yes, and has for years.

Re-enlistment bonuses are nothing new and are used to keep qualified people in the service. According to the New York Times, the budget for re-enlistment incentives double between 2000 and 2008 to $1.4 billion, the time these bonus were being paid. It was the time the United States was involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Has it happened before?

It has. Earlier this year, the Pentagon's nine-member bomb squad was in a similar situation. According to Military.com, one member of the team committed suicide. The department agreed to forgive the debt for each of the team members individually.

Video captures ice cream man's most dogged customer, English bulldog named Rambo

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 12:44 PM
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 11:38 AM
By: Crystal Bonvillian - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Video captures ice cream man's most dogged customer, English bulldog named Rambo
An ice cream truck vendor prepares a cone for a customer.  (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

An Alabama ice cream vendor has found the most loyal -- and most slobbery -- customer he could hope for: an English bulldog named Rambo.

Rambo, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with his owner, Ashish Silwal, knows exactly what’s in store when he hears the ice cream truck’s music. Silwal told Huntsville ABC affiliate WAAY-TV that the daily ritual began about a year ago.

"Rambo was all excited out of nowhere, and I was like okay, let's go get some Popsicles, and next thing you know, he's jumping in the truck," Silwal said.

A Go Pro camera attached to a dog harness captured Rambo’s full-tilt run to the truck where he frantically jumps up to the window and the truck driver, Akins Luwoye, hands him his favorite cold treat. Silwal is left with the bill.

“He’s like, ‘Give me my ice cream; my dad will pay you,’” Silwal told the news station.

>> Read more trending stories

Video of Rambo’s daily excursions has made its way to ABC News' Facebook page as well.

It's on ABC news too 😅😎🐶
Posted by Ashish Silwal on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Luwoye said Rambo is an oddity on his route.

"Other dogs on my route, when they hear the music, they're scared. But he is not scared, so it's unique," Luwoye said.

Watch amazing video when teen's cochlear implant is turned on for the first time

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 12:44 PM
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 @ 10:51 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Watch amazing video when teen's cochlear implant is turned on for the first time
14-Year-Old Girl Hears Mom's Voice for First Time

A 14-year-old Texas girl was brought to tears after hearing her mother's voice clearly for the first time.

Breanna was diagnosed with severe hearing loss as a baby and her hearing worsened as she got older. Eventually, her hearing decreased so much that she struggled to understand speech despite wearing hearing aids.

In August, Breanna received a cochlear implant for her left ear and shortly after activating, she was able to hear her mother.

“Getting to see her hearing sounds better than she ever has before, getting to see that emotion – the happiness – is just so special,” Kelsey Gross, senior marketing manager at The Center for Hearing and Speech, told CBS.

According to CBS, Breanna will work with an audiologist and speech therapist for the first three months after her implant is turned on. They will later determine if her right ear is a candidate for an additional cochlear implant.

Read more here.