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Monday, July 10, 2023
Teen With A Metal Detector Saves Man’s Beach Proposal

As a Tennessee man prepared to pop the question to his girlfriend on the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he realized the engagement ring was no longer in his pocket. Distressed, the man asked some nearby police officers for their help. Officers Josh LivelySean Owens and Zachary Stashick turned the moment into a “training exercise” for their colleague, Officer Shon McCluskey and his rookie K-9 partner Goggles.

The officers weren’t having much luck in their search and were near giving up when 15-year-old Isaiah Krekeler showed up with his metal detector. Krekeler, on vacation from Ohio and using his metal detector for the first time, only took a few seconds to pinpoint the missing ring’s location, returning it to its grateful owner. “I felt like I saved a marriage,” Krekeler recalls.

In a post to social media, the Myrtle Beach Police Department called the search a community effort. They also shared that the proposal was a success and wished for a happy future for the newly engaged couple.

 

Friday, July 7, 2023
Stranger Buys New Equipment For Blind Lawn Care Provider

Most residents who live within walking distance of Schenck Street in North Tonawanda, New York, would probably recognize 23-year-old entrepreneur James Porter. For the last eight years, Porter, who is legally blind and can’t operate a motor vehicle, has been operating his one-man lawncare and snow blowing service using a hand-pulled trailer to haul his equipment all around the neighborhood.

Local resident, Paul Koenig had seen Porter many times and recently stopped to inquire about hiring him for some work when he noticed that Porter’s trailer was in need of repair. Knowing that Porter was a hard worker who deserved a break, Koenig made an investment in Porter’s business, giving him a new cart and mower to help the young entrepreneur out.

But Koenig didn’t stop at just giving Porter some new equipment—he also helped spread the word about Porter’s business on social media, helping to drum up some new clients for him. And Porter is grateful for Koenig’s support. “If it wasn’t for Paul, I’d be scrambling to find a way to get transportation to pull my stuff around,” he says. “He has no idea how much I appreciate him.”

Thursday, July 6, 2023
Virginia Gas Station Sells Gas For 76-Cents A Gallon

On July 6th, an Altavista, Virginia, 76 Gas Station celebrated their customers by selling regular gas for a throwback price of just $0.76 a gallon. The event kicked off at 11am, and anyone in line before 1pm was able to get in on the special deal.

Shiv Patel, president of Heas Energy, the fuel distributor for the 76 Gas Stations in central Virginia, hopes the deal will help out folks who are struggling to fill their tank. Patel wishes they could offer the discount every day, but says they can “at least afford to do it every July 6th.” They pick a different station each year for the annual event.

Customers taking advantage of the deal say the money they’re saving will help them pay for other essentials like groceries. Amanda Tascone summed it up perfectly, “Life is so expensive and life is hard, so the little things like cheap gas just mean so much.” The station also donated $10-thousand to Amazement Square, a hands-on children’s museum in Lynchburg.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Four Sisters Find Out They’re All Pregnant

It’s special when two sisters find out they’re having babies at the same time, but one family is taking it to a new level. The Thiem sisters… four of them… are pregnant at the same time! JenaJessicaJordan, and Jaden aren’t due, though, at about the same time. The sisters all found out during an Easter gathering and stunned each other at the news. It was definitely not planned.

Jena and Jaden are both due on October 1, Jessica is due on November 17 and Jordan is due August 3. The sisters live in three different states so they keep in touch with a group chat named “Bumpin.” They’re sharing experiences, funny moments and more throughout their journey, plus their similar cravings.

This is the second child for Jena and the first for the other three. Their father Mike is over the moon and mom Nancy was keeping the secrets for each daughter and the girls say she laughed a lot as she kept it all to herself.

Monday, July 3, 2023
Plane Passengers Help Man With Mid-Flight Surprise Proposal

Last week, on a regular Delta flight from Atlanta to Cancún, love literally took off when passenger Darian Brinkley popped the question to his girlfriend, Minita Tanner, mid-flight. The proposal happened with the help of the other passengers, high above the clouds, turning the airplane aisle into a romantic backdrop.

While Tanner was briefly away in the lavatory, Brinkley enlisted the other passengers to hold up handwritten signs asking, “Will you marry me?” Other passengers had their cellphones on the ready to capture the airborne love story.

Tanner came out to find Brinkley on one knee, ring in hand, silently asking her to become his co-pilot for life. She quickly nodded yes, blinking back happy tears while every eye on the airplane was on her. Brinkley sealed the deal with a ring and a hug while their fellow passengers cheered. Tanner later shared the good news on her Facebook page, writing, “Feeling loved 30k feet in the sky🥰.”

 

Friday, June 30, 2023
Woman Credits “Lifesaver” Dog With Detecting Her Breast Cancer Early

When 50-year-old mother of two, Trisha Allison, settled down on her couch for a Saturday morning of television, she didn’t expect her two-year-old dog, Luna, to nudge her into a life-saving discovery. Allison recalls Luna’s unusual behavior started with her jumping on Allison’s chest and later sniffing and nudging at it persistently.

The pup’s unexpected behavior led Allison to perform a quick self-exam on her breast, where she noticed something “didn’t feel right.” She then booked a biopsy appointment and wasn’t entirely surprised when just two weeks later she received notice that she had breast cancer. Since the diagnosis, Allison has undergone two successful operations to remove the lump. She’s not entirely out of the woods, but she’s calling Luna her “little lifesaver.”

This wouldn’t be the first time a dog has sniffed out cancer, but doctors say regular self-exams and mammograms are vital. Allison agrees, but adds, “If it wasn’t for Luna, I would not have found it that day.” So, next time your pup’s behavior seems a bit odd, it may be worth paying attention – you never know when they might be trying to tell you something paw-fully important.

Thursday, June 29, 2023
Wyoming Community Fights Invasive Plants By Paying Kids To Pick Them

In Lincoln County, Wyoming, the local weed and pest district has found an ingenious and kid-friendly solution to combat an invasive plant species, Dyer’s Woad. For almost two decades, they’ve been running “Dyer’s Woad Week”, a program where kids are paid 50-cents a pound to pick the pesky plants. Between June 26th and 28th, young folks can make a pretty penny simply by plucking these weeds, which can overrun native species and cause significant ecological harm. “It can just pop up so fast and be so prolific that if we don’t stay on it, we’ll lose the ground,” says Travis Osmond, district supervisor for Lincoln County Weed and Pest.

According to the USDA, Dyer’s Woad degrades wildlife habitats, lessens species diversity, and reduces the available forage for livestock. This invasive plant, which can produce anywhere between 6-thousand to 30-thousand seeds, also lowers land value. Last year, the motivated kids managed to haul in a whopping 18 tons of Dyer’s Woad, earning anywhere from $10 to $12-hundred. As Osmond put it, “If a kid is willing to work really hard, there’s no reason he can’t make a lot of money pulling this invasive weed.”

While eradication may not be possible, the unique and community-driven initiative has proven effective in controlling the spread of Dyer’s Woad. So, the next time your kid complains about not having pocket money, you might just want to hand them a pair of gloves and point them towards the nearest Dyer’s Woad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Dads Adopt 6 Siblings Who Were Separated In Foster Care

During their first date, Dustin and Daniel Johnson were relieved to learn that they both wanted to have children one day. Neither of them could have guessed at the time that just a few years later, they’d be the proud fathers of six children. After a couple of years of dating, Dustin and Daniel tied the knot in 2020, and instead of opting for surrogacy to start their family, they enrolled in pre-adoption classes.

More than anything, the Tampa couple wanted to provide a safe and loving home for kids in need in their community. They made it clear to the adoption agency that they were open to adopting older kids and sibling groups, who are sometimes harder to place. “Daniel and I are both close with our siblings,” Dustin explains, “We knew how much it would hurt to be separated from them when we were growing up.”

Earlier this year, the Johnsons got their wish to start a family when they adopted six siblings who had been separated for the last three years and were living in five different foster homes at the time. Now 11-year-old ReidAmiyah, 10, Izayah, nine, Kaelix, seven, Cade, six, and three-year-old Roslin are all part of their family. Dustin says it’s been a challenge for the children to adjust to their new home, but they’re all doing well in school and, with help from therapy, growing into a tight-knit family.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Family “Adopts” Older Neighbor As Honorary Grandpa

When Sharaine and Wilson Caraballo and their six children moved from the East Coast to Texas in March of last year, one of Sharaine’s biggest concerns was who their neighbors were going to be. But soon after their arrival, their 82-year-old neighbor Paul Callahan stopped by to offer a hand to Wilson on some home repairs and Sharaine’s mind was set at ease.

Over the months, Caraballo, a retired Texas Instruments manager whose wife had passed away just a few months before the Caraballos moved into the neighborhood, became a de facto-grandpa for the Caraballo’s children. Now the neighbors see each other several times a week, and Callahan has been spending every holiday with the family.

Sharaine says that Callahan has been one of the best parts of their decision to move and the Caraballo kids have taken to calling him “Uncle Paul.” Plus, it hasn’t just been good for the Caraballo family. Sharaine thinks the busy family life has provided some much-needed company for their elderly neighbor, who grew up in a lively household and is the last of his siblings still alive. The neighbors’ bond is like the Maya Angelou quote: “Family isn’t always blood, it’s the people in your life who want you in theirs.”

Monday, June 26, 2023
Honest Ohio Man Returns $2K He Finds In Walmart Shopping Cart

Robert Sneed was heading into the Walmart in Gallipolis, Ohio, with his daughter when he discovered what he thought was a shopping list in their shopping cart. He went to throw it away and noticed “it felt a little heavy.” Then he realized it was an envelope with $2-thousand in hundred dollar bills and a bank receipt inside.

His first thought was to return it to the bank, but with the bank closed, Sneed found a Walmart manager and turned the envelope over to them. He also made a social media post hoping to find the money’s owner. “For someone who’s living paycheck to paycheck, this may set them back,” he notes, “It can really mess up someone’s summer.”

A spokesperson for Walmart later reported that, thanks to Sneed, the money was returned to its rightful owner later that night.

 

Friday, June 23, 2023
Ohio Granny Becomes A Lifeguard So Pool Can Stay Open

When Gail Rodgers learned that they would need to close the pool at her condominium complex in Sycamore Township, Ohio, on certain days this summer if they couldn’t find some new lifeguards, she figured she was just the person for the job. The 66-year-old grandmother had been a lifeguard in her teens and so she got recertified and now covers for other lifeguards when they need time off.

Rodgers is a member of the condo board and often walks her dog through the neighborhood, so she knows lots of the residents, but she says the lifeguarding has allowed her to meet some of her younger neighbors. “I’m getting to know all the kids,” she says, “And I think maybe the kids will respond to me as a lifeguard more so because I am older.”

Jeff Blume of Cincinnati Pool Management, who staffs and maintains the pool, is pleased with their newest lifeguard, saying, “We love her enthusiasm, we’re happy she’s here. She brings a new perspective to the lifeguarding world.” In addition to helping the community, Rodgers is also enjoying the flexibility of choosing her shifts and loves getting to spend time with her grandkids at the pool.

Thursday, June 22, 2023
Boy Donates His Make-A-Wish To His Community

After undergoing successful heart transplant surgery, 12-year-old Carter Julson was granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Minnesota. Over the years that he battled his serious heart condition, he’d gotten so much support from his community. Teachers, neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers had helped the family make it through the ordeal, and the Princeton, Minnesota, boy wanted to use his wish to repay them all.

Carter’s older brother Drew had been lifting weights at Princeton High School and had mentioned how old and outdated the gym was. That gave Carter an idea to use his wish to have the gym totally rebuilt. His dad asked him if he was sure about his wish, reminding him that he could use it to go to the Super Bowl or on a family vacation, but Carter had made up his mind. At a school board meeting earlier this year, he got permission for his wish to move forward and when word got out, multiple community members approached the Julsons wanting to help with the project.

After months of planning and building, the gym was opened earlier this month, in time for the summer weight-lifting program, which Carter is now healthy enough to participate in. At the opening ceremony of the new gym, Princeton School Board Chair Sue VanHooser thanked Carter for his wish to give back. “Of all the wishes, you chose to give back to your community,” she said. “Thank you for your generous gift.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Baby Left In Safe Haven Box Adopted By First Responder Who Found Her

A baby girl surrendered to a Florida Safe Haven box has found a home with the first responder who was the one to first discover her. About six months ago, an alarm at the Ocala Fire Rescue signaled that someone had anonymously surrendered a newborn in the building’s safe haven baby box. The responding firefighter found the baby with her umbilical cord tied off with a shoelace.

The firefighter and his wife had been wanting a child for nearly a decade and they were immediately taken with the baby girl and started the process to adopt her right after rushing her to the hospital. The family didn’t want to get their hopes up, but soon got the call that they could visit the baby in the NICU. The baby’s new adoptive mother says that’s when she felt like it was real.

Now the adoption has been finalized and the firefighter and his wife have welcomed baby Zoey into their family. They’re grateful for the brave decision Zoey’s birth mother made in giving her up and want her to know that she’s with a caring family. “I think it’s very respectable, what she did,” Zoey’s adoptive mom says, “We really felt in our hearts that we wanted to let the birth mom know in some way, shape or form that she is safe, she is happy, and she is very loved.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2023
K9 Police Dog Calms Suicidal Woman, Helps Save Her Life

A Marietta, Georgia, police officer and his K9 partner are being praised for helping to stop a woman from committing suicide. Marietta Police Department Officer Paul Hill and his K9 partner Barney normally work at Marietta City Elementary Schools, but with school out, they’ve been responding to help the community at large.

On June 7th, Barney and Hill responded to a call involving a woman who had locked herself in a bathroom and was threatening to harm herself. When they arrived on scene, the woman had come out of the bathroom and was laying on a bed saying she had nothing to live for and that she didn’t want to go back to the hospital. Barney was well trained for the situation and got in the bed and lay down next to the woman, snuggling up to her and helping her to calm down.

Barney stayed by the woman’s side for 45 minutes until an ambulance arrived and she voluntarily agreed to go to the hospital for treatment. In a press release, the Marietta Police Department praised their K9 officer, writing that “Barney’s presence and demeanor gave her the time to calm down and begin to relax.” They noted that there’s been an uptick in calls for help related to mental health and that Officer Barney is just one more way they’re able to be there for the community.

 

Monday, June 19, 2023
Couple Spends 4 Months Cleaning Up 3K Pounds Of Litter In Rhode Island

Fed up with the fight over whose responsibility it is to clean up a section of shoreline in Gulf Cove near Portsmouth, Rhode Island, local residents Randy and Kathy Matsch decide to take matters into their own hands. Parts of Gulf Cove are the responsibility of the state Department of Transportation and others the Department of Environmental Management. But with no one claiming responsibility to one particular coastal area, the trash was starting to pile up.

Randy became aware of the problem while volunteering for a local cleanup effort and when he realized nothing was going to be done about the area, he and his wife jumped on the task. For four months, the couple painstakingly scoured the coastline, collecting over 3-thousand pounds of trash from a quarter-mile stretch of Gull Cove. They did manage to get some help from the Department of Environmental Management, which agreed to haul away the waste once it was moved into their jurisdiction.

Beyond the months-long cleanup, Randy and Kathy’s work may be moving the needle on preventing the problem from coming back. Randy’s been sharing their work on his Instagram where he’s garnered over 16-hundred followers and after reaching out to the organization Clean Ocean Access, they’re now working with him on a long-term strategy to maintain the area. What Randy would really like to see is the state taking responsibility for the area, but until then, he’ll keep working to make the world a cleaner place for future generations. “We have a granddaughter,” Randy says, “We’re looking at her future, and her kids future.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Woman Scores Half-Court Shot To Win Free Beer For A Year

On Saturday, June 10th, during an Edmonton Stingers Canadian pro basketball game, fan Blyss Ward won a year’s supply of beer by sinking a basket from half-court. Ward, who used to play college basketball before an injury sidelined her career, described it as an “out-of-body experience” that left her wondering if she was dreaming.

The half-court shot contest, a collaboration between the Stingers and Polar Park Brewing, takes place during every home game. Reed Clarke, president and CEO of the Edmonton Stingers, praised Ward, saying her shot got the attention of the players and is now helping to fuel excitement for the team online. “It shows the environment we are building at the Edmonton Stingers,” Clarke says, “That’s what we’re all about, enhancing the fan experience.”

Ward’s prize is 365 tallboys of Polar Park’s Champion Pilsner, delivered quarterly, and has a $1-thousand wholesale value. Polar Park Brewery’s founder, Robert Oeming, was surprised and delighted at the result and says they’re eager for the next winner. Ward plans to share her beer windfall with family and friends, with the first round due to be delivered this week.

 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Officer Bonds With 94-Year-Old With Weekly Trips To Get Cookies

When 94-year-old Detroit resident Gracie Majors took a fall while riding on a city bus on her way to pick up her favorite molasses cookies from Eastern Market, Detroit Transit Police Sergeant Corey Garrison responded to make sure she was okay. She declined being taken to the hospital, so Garrison insisted on driving her home.

At Major’s home, Garrison met her grandson and asked if it was okay if he came back later to check on the nonagenarian. Garrison and Majors struck up a friendship and the sergeant started making weekly visits to his new friend and accompanying her to the market to get those molasses cookies. “She actually turned me on to those cookies, they are good and remind me of ginger cookies,” Garrison says.

Grateful for Garrison’s assistance and their talks, Majors now looks forward to his visits as does the sergeant. And he says their story demonstrates the valuable community connections that his job can lead to.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Pit Bull Gets Adopted After Four Years At Shelter

Donatello, the pit bull mix who charmed animal lovers across the U.S. when he was featured in the news as the longest resident of a Kentucky animal shelter, has finally been adopted after spending over four years at the facility. The 5½-year-old dog arrived at the Woodford Humane Society on May 13th, 2019, after being picked up by animal control and not being claimed.

Over the years, Donatello watched as his sheltermates left to go and live better lives with their forever families, but no one came to take him home. Then, last week, a couple with a passion for pit bulls saw Donatello and decided he needed to become part of their family. Marketing Director for the Humane Society, Beth Oleson, reveals that the couple is already working with Donatello on new commands and leash manners, and says, “He’s in very good hands.”

Donatello’s tale reflects common misconceptions about pit bulls. Sara Ondrako, founder of the American Pit Bull Foundation, says that these dogs are individuals, known for their sense of independence and love for human companionship. She dismisses the notion that pit bulls are inherently dangerous, and emphasizes that dogs’ behaviors result from a combination of nature and nurture. She also urges potential adopters to research and understand the dogs’ needs to increase the chance for a successful adoption.

Monday, June 5, 2023
Ohio Man Spreads Kindness By Cleaning Up His Community

A Toledo, Ohio, man is taking neighborhood beautification into his own hands by mowing grass at overgrown abandoned properties and vacant lots. Brett Fry, along with his best friend, has spent the last few weeks providing this free service to uplift his community and spread happiness. “This is all for the joy of making someone else happy,” he says.

Fry estimates that they’ve already spruced up around 10 to 15 properties. His acts of kindness haven’t gone unnoticed, with neighbors taking note and saying how they appreciate his work. He believes that, “One by one we can all make a difference if we just decide to.”

Even though Fry isn’t looking for financial compensation for his acts of kindness, asking nothing for the work he’s doing, he does get the occasional donation from community members who value his work, which Fry says he appreciates “more than anything.” Through his actions, Fry is proving how small acts can transform neighborhoods, one mowed lawn at a time.

Friday, June 2, 2023
Former Teacher Travels Thousands Of Miles To Surprise Students At Graduation

When Tiana Gilbert was teaching middle schoolers at Roberts Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio, she became close with four students in particular. Though she has since moved away from Ohio, she’s remained close with the students. So when the time came for her four former students to graduate from Depaul Cristo Rey High School, Gilbert took a 21-hundred-mile road trip to surprise them on the big day.

She hasn’t just been a cheerleader for the four students, but has actively helped them navigate the unique challenges over the years since she was their teacher. All four of the students will be going to college, a first in their respective families for each of them. And Gilbert was instrumental in that process, helping them apply to schools and writing letters of recommendation.

The special relationship that she has with her former students is held mutually. One of the four, Micah Beiser, will be attending Xavier University in the fall and credits Gilbert with helping him to live authentically, saying, “She told me to be myself and don’t change for anybody.” Gilbert was there for each of them at the most important times in their lives so far and doesn’t plan to stop, promising “to be at the next one with them.”

Thursday, June 1, 2023
Blind Navy Veteran Reaches Top Of Mount Everest

Blind Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell, with the support of his friend Michael Neal and others, recently scaled Mount Everest, making him the fourth blind person to achieve this feat. Bedwell undertook the endeavor primarily “for his community of blinded veterans,” saying, “I did it for them, and I have no reason to do something like that again.”

But Neal insists that Bedwell’s remarkable feat extends beyond his community, inspiring even those without direct ties to blindness or military service. The pair co-founded Sightless Summits, an initiative that challenges blind veterans to conquer the highest peaks on each continent. Everest, a challenging climb for even the most talented sighted climbers, marks the pair’s second summit that they’ve conquered.

Neal describes the effort as particularly demanding for Bedwell, explaining, “Everything on a mountain is harder. Everything is more challenging and more difficult for him.” Despite setbacks, including having their oxygen stolen by another team, Bedwell remained undeterred, completing the climb and setting his sights on another peak in December. The pair are already starting on raising funds for the upcoming adventure.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Wisconsin Boy Sends Bday Cards To Every Kid In His City

Lukas Smith, from Antigo, Wisconsin, has turned a community service project into his full-time hobby. The creative five-year-old has pledged to craft a handmade birthday card for every kid in his small Central Wisconsin town.

Lukas’ mom, Sam Smith, explains, the endeavor began as a means of fulfilling community service hours, but soon turned into an outpouring of Lukas’ love and desire to give back to his community. “He decided that he was going to make birthday cards for every kid in Antigo and that’s what he wanted to do,” she shares. As for what his favorite part is, Lukas explains, “Drawing inside the cards and then outside the cards. Putting stickers on is my favorite.”

For Megan Novak, whose son Eddie received a card from Lukas, it made his birthday that much more special, spotlighting Lukas’ wish “to spread happiness and just share some joy with the other kids.” Needless to say, Lukas’ dedication to spreading kindness has raised the spirits of his whole community, but it’s also brought immense joy and pride to his mother: “I’m so proud of him,” she confesses.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Social Media Leads Houston Man To Donate Kidney To A Stranger

For more than a decade, Houston resident Dave Barrett has been battling an autoimmune disease and in 2021, his worsening condition led to kidney failure. His survival required kidney dialysis treatment three times a week, but that was unsustainable and his friends and family started the search for a kidney donor.

Barrett’s wife posted to the neighborhood app Nextdoor to get the word out about their kidney search and the post was seen by their neighbor Benny Hooper. For years, Hooper had been thinking about becoming a living organ donor and was inspired to take the leap after reading Barrett’s story. The two men contacted one another and realized they had a lot in common. They both drove the same make and color car, both had dogs named Lulu, both lived in the same neighborhood, and as it turns out, they were a perfect match for a kidney transplant.

The neighbors underwent successful transplant surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital. Hooper has completely healed and is back to his normal routine, while Barrett is feeling better than he has in many years. And through the process, Barrett and Hooper have become close friends. Barrett hopes other people will hear their story and be inspired to donate, saying, “There’s a lot more need than there are kidneys available.”

Monday, May 29, 2023
California School’s Entire Graduating Class Accepted To 4-Year Universities

Collegiate Charter High School in Boyle Heights, California, celebrates another landmark as it sends its entire graduating class to four-year universities for the fourth time in five years. The school, which serves one of the densest Latino populations living at or below the poverty level, marked this achievement with a special “Senior Signing Day.”

The accomplishment is especially significant because most of the graduates come from low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrant families. Additionally, a majority of the students will be making history as the first in their families to attend college, or even graduate from high school. Principal Hector Alvarado expressed his pride in being part of their journey, saying his students will “help solve some of the biggest, toughest problems our society faces today.”

Collegiate Charter emphasizes the pursuit of higher education as a critical tool to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. “These 45 Collegiate scholars are proving that, with the right supports, a rigorous curriculum, and dedicated teachers, any student can reach their college dreams in the City of Los Angeles,” Alvarado says. In addition to each and every student getting into a four-year university, the graduating class has also earned a combined total of $630-thousand in scholarships.

 

 

Friday, May 26, 2023
WWII Vet Officially Gets Diploma 80 Years After Missing Graduation For War

On Sunday, May 14th, Fred Taylor of La Mesa, California, walked the graduation stage at Cornell College in Iowa, 80 years after missing his graduation because he was called up for duty in World War II. “My only regret is missing my graduation ceremony,” said the vet, who left at the end of his senior year in college to serve in the Army Air Corp Reserve following Pearl Harbor.

Cornell College President Jonathan Brand described the ceremony as “heartwarming” and “emotional.” Taylor’s daughter, Linda Taylor, a professor emeritus at the University of Miami, first contacted Cornell College to see if it was possible for her father to walk across the stage and finish what he started. Brand was onboard with the idea, saying it was important to honor a man who “left college so that he could help literally save the world from the greatest threat.”

The 101-year-old received a standing ovation as he was introduced and walked onto the stage. He then led the graduating class in moving their tassels from right to left. Despite his vast life experience, the vet says he doesn’t have much in the way of advice to offer his fellow graduates. He simply wishes them well in their future endeavors.

Thursday, May 25, 2023
High School Grad Has Perfect Attendance Since Kindergarten

Michigan student Emma Jones is about to graduate from high school having never missed a single day of school since kindergarten. The Taylor High School senior has also never been late to a class and is set to graduate with a 3.8 GPA. “In middle school, I received awards all three years for perfect attendance,” Jones recalls, “So once I moved to the high school, that’s when I kind of made it my goal to do this.”

Notably, Jones’ habit of never missing school started even earlier than kindergarten – she didn’t miss a day of pre-K, although she admits, “they didn’t really keep track of that.” The Detroit area teen even managed to keep her flawless record through the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a shift to online classes – a period she admits was “a little bit difficult to do.”

Jones plans to study nursing at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. While her classmates prepare for senior skip day, she intends to stick to her routine: “The hardest thing right now is senior skip day, but I’ll be in school.” Her mother says she’ll make up for it with a special trip this summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Tween Rushes To Save Choking Twin Brother’s Life At School

A quick-thinking 12-year-old girl in Massachusetts is being hailed a hero for saving her twin brother from choking. Earlier this month, Amelia Loverme was having lunch with her twin brother Charlie at Leicester Middle School when he choked on a piece of cheese.

Surveillance video caught the moment that the panicking tween gestured to his throat. “I thought I was going to pass out, or like die,” Charlie recalls. As other students back away from him, unsure what to do, his sister rushes toward him and, despite having no formal training, she starts performing the heimlich maneuver on him. After a couple of attempts, Amelia dislodges the obstruction, likely saving his life.

The twins’ mother, Christy Ruth, expressed her gratitude, saying, “Kids need to pay attention and look out for one another, and I’m just grateful that Amelia did.” For her part, the tween says she was just doing what she thought was right, saying, “I just knew that I needed to help him.” Amelia was recognized by her school for her lifesaving effort and local officials plan to give her an award too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Kids Write Impressive Resumes For Shelter Dogs & Get Them Adopted

Students at Polk Middle School in Albuquerque’s South Valley have joined forces with the Bernalillo County Animal Care Center to help long-term shelter dogs find loving homes. The collaboration started last fall when the animal shelter shared photographs and stories of the hard-to-place pets with art and writing students at Polk.

Under the guidance of Ms. McCrady, art students painted portraits of the dogs while writing students in Ms. Arriaga’s class penned first-person appeals on behalf of the dogs. Each kennel then displayed these creative and touching works, making them accessible to all shelter visitors. Then this spring, Mr. Beverly‘s seventh-grade gifted class took the project a step further by creating “resumes” for the dogs, highlighting their individual skills and tricks. The objective was to showcase traits that would make each dog a perfect addition to a family.

The resumes seemed to really help, because by May 17th, six of these dogs have found their ‘fur-ever’ homes. Animal Protection New Mexico Education Director Sherry Mangold praised the students, saying the successful adoptions were due to the students’ “empathy and concern for shelter dogs.”

Monday, May 22, 2023
Engagement Ring Lost Down Toilet Found After 14 Months

A man in Chino Hills, California, has been reunited with an engagement ring that spent over a year in the sewer system. The ring made its way into the depths last March after his soon-to-be stepson accidentally flushed it down the toilet. At that time, he removed the toilet and even hired someone to run a camera down the plumbing. They were able to spot the ring but were afraid they might have pushed it further down the pipes.

The man then enlisted the help of city maintenance workers who scoured the sewer system and city main line using a pipe inspection camera of their own, but even though they came up empty handed, they told the man to not give up hope.

Then last week, during a routine maintenance check, the city crew spotted the ring. After a thorough sterilization, it was returned to the owner, 14 months after it started its journey into the depths. The man posed for a picture with the Chino Hills sanitation crew, who were all clearly excited to have helped the man recover the ring.

 

Friday, May 19, 2023
Ohio Triplets Become Co-Valedictorians & Salutatorian

Over the weekend, Ohio triplets SadieCaydin, and Gage Barker graduated from Sebring McKinley High School as co-valedictorians and salutatorian. All their lives they’ve done everything together, but co-valedictorian Sadie admits that the honor “still feels great.”

In addition to being recognized as the top performers of their graduating class, the Barker triplets have also earned multiple scholarships. After graduation, Caydin and Sadie are headed to the University of Cincinnati where they plan to major in engineering, while Gage plans to enter trade school to become an electrical lineman.

The siblings are quick to credit their success to their support system. “We have really great parents and teachers,” Sadie says. “I don’t know where we would be without some of them. They really pushed us to be the people we are today.”

Thursday, May 18, 2023
Teen Athletes Who Beat The Same Cancer Go To Prom Together

Star high school athletes, Vivian Eagle, a 17-year-old junior from Avon, Indiana, and her friend Cade Thompson, 18, from Indianapolis, both faced an opponent much tougher than any they’d met on the sports fields: osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. The pair connected through their mothers, who recognized that their children needed someone who could relate to their struggle. The two became best friends, with Cade—who was diagnosed eighteen months before Vivian—providing invaluable support and understanding.

Vivian spent 80 nights in the hospital and underwent 32 chemo infusions, but with Cade’s help, she made it through. Both Vivian and Cade are now NED, meaning no evidence of disease, with Vivian celebrating seven months cancer-free at her school’s prom, which she attended with Cade, who‘s been cancer free for two years. Both still undergo regular scans to ensure the cancer hasn’t returned.

Treatment forced both teens to give up sports, but Cade, a high school senior, was able to return to his sports career and is planning a future in modeling and acting, and he wants to create a line of chemo-friendly clothing. Vivian has a longer road to get back to where she was pre-cancer, but her mom says the same stubbornness and determination that helped her in her battle against cancer will carry her through. Despite the hardships, the bond between Vivian and Cade has been a silver lining in their tragic story, a friendship that will “last forever,” according to Vivian.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Over 40 Families Of Strangers Go To 12-Year-Old’s Bday Party After Friends Didn’t Show

Dozens of families came out to celebrate a 12-year-old boy’s birthday party in Columbia, South Carolina, after all his school friends were unable to attend. Jamel Nichols had originally invited his entire class to his slime-themed bash, but was disappointed when no one could make it. So his mom, Zenas Jett, turned to a local Facebook group for help.

“So my son is having a slime obstacle course party tomorrow but all of his classmates bailed,” Jett writes on social media, “Would anyone be willing to come show him some support?” Her post sparked quite a reaction, garnering over 100 responses and leading to an unexpected crowd showing up to Jamel’s birthday bash.

Among the attendees was Ashley Berendzen, who jumped at an opportunity for her children to get some valuable social experience, especially given one of her sons has autism. “Everyone at this party was so friendly and warm and inviting,” she says. The grateful birthday boy was overjoyed at the turnout and thanked the attendees, saying, “You could have been somewhere else, you could have been doing what you wanted to do but instead, you came to my party, so thank you.” What could have been a disappointing day for Jamel turned out to be a celebration he’ll never forget.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Mom Of 9 Graduates From Medical School On Way To Being Neurosurgeon

Arizona mother of nine, Sarah Merrill, recently graduated from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona, and is set to begin her neurosurgery residency at Indiana University next month. Now 41, Merrill started her journey to medicine when she was a 17-year-old at Dartmouth College as a pre-med major. It was there that she met her husband and they had her first child.

Merrill initially planned to go straight into medical school but decided to put her schooling on hold to become a stay-at-home mom while her first daughter was young. Over the years, she and her husband expanded their family to nine children. Merrill never gave up on wanting to go into medicine and worked part-time in medical research. And then when her youngest child was two, she decided to go back to school.

Her family, including her mother, made the move together from Pennsylvania to Arizona so Merrill could attend medical school. At first, she thought she might just get her master’s degree, but decided to go all-in and follow her original dream of getting a degree in medicine. She encourages other women to not give up on their dreams and to “set the goals that are what you’re really passionate about,” and focus on each step to achieve them.

Monday, May 15, 2023
Mom, Dad & Daughter Graduate From Texas University Together

When Ashley Adams graduated from Texas Lutheran University (TLU), over the weekend, she did so alongside her parents, Robyn and Greg Adams, marking a historic first for the university. Adams was completing her education degree while her mother earned a master’s degree in accounting and her father, a retired Army veteran, graduated with a business major.

The family began their studies separately, with Ashley’s parents initially attending Northeast Lakeview College. However, they transferred to TLU after falling in love with the campus during their daughter’s admission process. Despite the age gap with their peers, Robyn and Greg have embraced campus life. Robyn served as a supplemental instructor for an accounting course and Greg joined the golf team.

Ashley says her parents had put off their own education to start a family but later decided to return to school. “I remember how proud I was when they decided to go back to school at a local community college,” she says. After graduation, Ashley hopes to become a math teacher, while her parents have secured jobs at a CPA firm and Randolph Air Force Base. Greg has encouraging words for anyone thinking of returning to school. “Don’t be afraid; just do it,” he says. “You might have to change your mindset a bit, but just go for it because it’s worth it.”

 

Friday, May 12, 2023
World’s Oldest Dog Celebrates 31st Birthday

After being declared the oldest dog in the world by Guinness World Records earlier this year Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, just celebrated his 31st birthday. Bobi’s owner, Leonel Costa, threw the pup a “very traditional” Portuguese birthday party with over 100 guests and a dance troupe performance at their home in Conqueiros, a rural village in southern Portugal.

Since being named the world’s oldest dog, Bobi has been enjoying a lot of attention, with journalists and people from around the world coming to meet him. Despite the frequent visitors, Bobi recently got a clean bill of health from his vet, although he does have a some age-related ailments, like trouble with his vision and difficulty walking. Costa attributes Bobi’s longevity to the “calm, peaceful environment” in which he lives.

Besides being the oldest living dog, Bobi also holds the record for the oldest dog ever. Costa, who was only eight when Bobi was born and says seeing his pup is a nice reminder of family members who have passed away, saying, “looking at him is like remembering the people who were part of our family and unfortunately are no longer here.”

Thursday, May 11, 2023
KFC Honors Employee On The Job For 47 Years

After nearly 47 years working at the KFC in West Memphis, Arkansas, Loretta Neely has decided to finally retire. Over the years, she’s held multiple positions at the establishment, eventually rising to the rank of manager. Her coworkers and customers have grown to love and appreciate Neely and now she’s being recognized for her hard work and commitment.

Before joining up with KFC, Neely worked in the cotton fields, but she says her prayers were answered when she got the job at the restaurant the same year she and her husband got married. She says it’s her dedication to serving others and her passion for the job that have kept her going. Neely has come to enjoy working with people, helping them develop their talents, and ensuring their success.

Upon learning of her retirement plans, her managers and the corporate leadership promptly celebrated her, recognizing her passion and strong work ethic. In her honor, the company has created the Loretta Neely Drive and Passion Award, which they’re calling the Living Legend Award. Neely is looking forward to traveling and spending time with her family and church after she retires.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Holocaust Survivor Throws 1st Pitch At Yankees-Rays Game On 100th Bday

Helen Kahan, a 100-year-old Holocaust survivor, threw the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees game, cheered on by over 25-thousand spectators. The event took place on Kahan’s 100th birthday and served to honor her and the Florida Holocaust Museum. Kahan’s family members, sporting jerseys with the word “Bubbi,” joined her at the game.

The Rays won the game 5-4 and later closed the series with another victory. Proceeds from the game went to the Florida Holocaust Museum, and the Rays Baseball Foundation presented the museum with an additional $10-thousand grant. Kahan has been sharing her life story with museum visitors for years.

Born Hani Sabo in 1923 in Romania, Kahan says she had a happy childhood before the Holocaust. After surviving multiple concentration camps, she married a fellow survivor, and they had two children. In 1967, Kahan immigrated to the U.S. with her family and went on to have five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Woman Beats Breast Cancer To Graduate College With Honors At 55

Last week, 55-year-old Teresa Cox had a full-circle moment when she completed her first clinical rotation as a nurse at the same cancer center where she received treatment for breast cancer. For Cox, being diagnosed with breast cancer was a “wake-up call” to live authentically, and it only strengthened her desire to help others.

Cox’s interest in the medical field grew out of her personal experiences with her family’s health issues, including her twins’ NICU stay, her son’s mental health struggles, and her mother’s heart condition. But it was her first clinical experience that confirmed she’d chosen the right path. She helped a patient who had survived a near-fatal car crash, and she felt her own life experience made her able to relate.

When she was first diagnosed with cancer, Cox wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to finish her schooling, but she overcame all obstacles and was able to rise to the challenge. On Friday, she graduated near the top of her class at Nebraska Methodist College. “I set the goal when I was a fifth grader,” she says, “So to be here now at 55 … I’m feeling very accomplished today.”

Monday, May 8, 2023
Hero Who Saved Baby In Runaway Stroller Scores A New Job

We told you last week about Ron Nessman, a homeless former truck driver in Southern California who saved a baby in a stroller from rolling out onto a busy roadway. Video of the dramatic rescue has gone viral and prompted praise for Nessman from around the world. At the time of the incident, he was attending a job interview at a nearby Applebee’s and we’re happy to report that he got the job.

Nessman was hired as a dishwasher at the Victorville Applebee’s restaurant. The restaurant’s general manager Emily Canady confirms that the hiring decision was not influenced by the video, saying, “He’s a great guy and he was a great candidate.” Nessman, who has struggled with depression, is thankful for the chance: “I’ll earn everything I get so with that in mind, you know, I appreciate the opportunity that Applebee’s has given me.”

It was days after his heroic rescue when Nessman’s niece told him that the video had gone viral. He says he’s just thankful that the baby and the great-grandaunt are safe and although he says he doesn’t want to capitalize on his newfound fame, a GoFundMe has been set up to help Nessman get started with his new life.

 

Friday, May 5, 2023
Iowa School Superintendent Gets Bus License To Help During Driver Shortage

When the Solon Community School District in Iowa was facing a bus driver shortage, Superintendent Davis Eidahl took decisive action. The superintendent of the district for the last eight years secured a grant to train new bus drivers and then decided to go the extra mile and participate in the training himself.

The district often has to send out several buses and multiple vans for various school activities, which sometimes leads to a shortage of drivers. So, after obtaining his bus license, Eidahl began driving students to and from school, helping to personally address the shortage. District employees were surprised but appreciative of Eidahl’s efforts. “I think it’s a great way for him to lead by example,” says the district’s director of transportation Dave Johnson. “Obviously, we’re short on drivers, so every driver is crucial at this point.”

Eidahl admits that he was initially nervous about the new role but has come to enjoy the challenge. He also appreciates getting the chance to interact with students in a different setting. His efforts have not only filled a need, but have also fostered a stronger connection with the district he serves.

Thursday, May 4, 2023
Girl Receives Replacement Teddy Bear With Late Mom’s Heartbeat

A four-year-old girl received a new teddy bear with her late mother’s heartbeat, thanks to a collaboration between Build-A-Bear, a radio station, and Goodwill. The girl’s original bear was accidentally donated to a Goodwill Store in Tennessee last month. When her father couldn’t find it, a sign was placed in the store, and a local radio station shared the story on social media, where it gained national attention.

Build-A-Bear’s Public Relations Director, Jamie Ludwig, contacted the station for a description of the custom stuffed animal, and said they were heartbroken over the situation. The company was able to locate a matching Rainbow Sparkle Bear and added the original recording provided by the girl’s grandmother. The new bear was then shipped to the radio station and given to Cynthia Dodson, Communications Director of Goodwill in Knoxville, who met with the girl and her father.

The father expressed his gratitude for the tremendous effort in helping his family. Both Build-A-Bear and Goodwill hope the original bear will be found, but they hope the new bear will provide comfort to the child and her family in the meantime.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023
North Carolina Community Pitches In To Send Special Needs Teens To Prom

A group of special-needs students at Washington High School in Washington, North Carolina, experienced a dream come true when the community came together to help send them to prom. Pam Smith, a proud parent of a special-needs son, expressed her gratitude for the support, saying it was “a blessing and a dream come true.” Donations poured in to help fund prom attire, a dinner at the Washington Yacht and Country Club, photos, and a red carpet leading to a stretch limousine.

Special needs teacher Serena Current emphasized the importance of giving the students the same opportunities as their peers, saying, “People don’t realize how important things like this are for them because they don’t always get the same opportunity as all their peers.” Parent Ebony Sneed echoed this sentiment, saying she wants her child to feel included and equal to others.

The students were excited to hit the dance floor and listen to their favorite songs during the prom night. As they left the Washington Yacht and Country Club in a limousine, community members and loved ones cheered them on with signs and sparklers. Parents report that the students spent the entire night dancing, making for an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Pregnant Wife Of Deployed Marine Treated To $800 Tip

With her first child on the way and her husband, a U.S. Marine, deployed overseas in Okinawa, Japan, Breann Lindholm decided to move back to her home town of Spanish Fork, Utah, to be close to family during the birth. She even got her old job back waiting tables at HuHot Mongolian Grill. During her first shift at the restaurant since she and her husband were in high school, Breann was sharing with a customer how difficult it’s been with him so far away. Breann also shared that he’d recently broken his cellphone, making staying in touch that much more difficult. After the customer left, she was cleaning up the table and realized the man had left her an $800 tip! On the bottom of the check, he’d written, “Buy your husband a new phone. Thank you for the service!” Breann was brought to tears by the kind gesture. Since sharing her story, tips have increased for the entire staff at the restaurant, and customers have been leaving supportive notes. Unfortunately, Breann doesn’t know who the generous customer was, but she wants to thank him for his act of kindness. “It meant a lot to both of us. Without it, we’d still be waiting to get that phone and still be struggling to talk with each other,” she says. “I was amazed by the generosity.”

Monday, May 1, 2023
California Diner Feeds Anyone Who’s Hungry For Free

A few years ago, Collin Doran, owner of the Homemade Cafe in Berkeley, California, had a crazy idea: offer free breakfast to anyone in need. Then during the pandemic, food insecurity became a major problem, so Doran made the policy official and created the “Everybody Eats Program.” The program provides a basic two-eggs breakfast with home fries and toast to anyone who takes a coupon from the diner bulletin board. The only payment that is required is a thank you and paying customers can support the program by adding $5 to their bill, an option that many regulars appreciate. Doran says his customers have reacted positively, either contributing financially or choosing to visit the cafe more often. The program’s popularity has led Doran to give away around 200 meals a month. Despite his initial concerns about how the program might affect the business, Doran has actually seen a 5% increase in their sales. He hopes that his program will inspire other businesses to adopt similar socially responsible practices.