Good News Wednesday (9/11/19)

9/11 isn’t always a reminder of bad news.  Here are a few stories that will warm your heart…

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Anonymous Man Spends Almost $50,000 On Generators And Food For Hurricane Victims In Bahamas (from truththeory.com)

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Country band Florida Georgia Line donates new K-9 to Indianapolis police (from cnn.com)

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Local man saves 5-year-old boy who nearly drowned in Corpus Christi (from kwtx.com)

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New Jersey automotive service center donates car to woman in need (from newjersey.news12.com)

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Pay it Forward recognizes Maquoketa man bringing the community together (from wqad.com)

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South Carolina Boy Saving up for Disney World Trip Donates Money to Hurricane Dorian Evacuees Instead (from ktla.com)

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They’re alive! Rescuers free all 4 crew members from capsized cargo ship off Georgia (from usatoday.com)

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Good News Wednesday (9/4/19)

We could all use a little good news to brighten our day.  Here are a few stories that are positive and uplifting that you might not see on your local news.

GNW_090419_01Homeless man given shoes by jogger in NYC now has job offer
(from abc7ny.com)

In an act of kindness that went viral, a jogger gave a homeless man the shoes off his feet last week.

That homeless man expressed his gratitude in an exclusive interview, and promised that if anyone had a job, he would work hard and prove his worth.

Now, in another Eyewitness News exclusive, it turns out someone was listening.

In the viral video, 30-year-old Joe Arroyo was seen sitting on a street in Lower Manhattan. A woman stopped in a taxi at a red light looked over, saw something spectacular and started recording.

A stranger who was jogging stopped and noticed Joe had holes in his sneakers. The man was so moved, he took off his socks and shoes and gave them to Joe.

Arroyo said he was ready to turn his life around and was willing to work.

Andrew Zurica, a successful entrepreneur, saw our story and wanted to help. On Thursday the two men met for the first time and Zurica offered Arroyo a job.

Andrew connected with Joe on many levels. Both have lived hard lives and had run-ins with the law.

When Andrew was just 13-years-old, after his father was locked up, he began hustling on the streets. In the 1990’s Zurica went to prison for four years after being arrested for international drug trafficking.

When he got out, he was determined to turn his life around and started from scratch. He started his own company, Hard Times Sundaes. He began with a food truck and the first year pulled in only $40,000. Now he owns three more eateries and is looking to expand.

Last year he made $2.9 million. Andrew is dedicated to giving back and told Joe he would be happy to have him work in one of his restaurants. Arroyo was floored by yet another kind gesture.

“I was in a hole,” he said. “I didn’t want anyone to pick me up out of the hole. I needed someone to throw me a ladder and I’d climb out myself. This is a ladder”.

“The one thing that makes me happy is to be in a position to give back and help people in some way,” said Andrew.

GNW_090419_02Man becomes legend for extreme acts of kindness toward strangers
(from washingtonpost.com)

Jon Potter was filling up his car at a Pittsburgh gas station when a woman approached and asked for a ride to a battered-women’s shelter. He said no.

She walked away, and he quickly felt a wave of regret. He got out of his car to look for her, but she was gone. Feeling terrible, he vowed to be kinder next time a stranger needed help.

A few weeks later, in the spring of 2015, he saw his opportunity when someone on a Pittsburgh Reddit group needed a hand installing a television antenna. Potter, who is handy, did it for no charge and felt great about it. Then someone on the same Reddit group asked for a cat sitter, and he jumped at the chance.

“It snowballed from there,” said Potter, 29. “I decided that for the next year, if anyone asks me for help, as long as it’s legal and as long as it won’t harm anyone else, I’d do it. It sounds ridiculous, but I did it.”

Soon, he was committing near-daily acts of kindness in the Pittsburgh community: helping someone repair vinyl siding, moving furniture, fixing a leaky roof, changing a grandmother’s tire on the side of the road. All for free. He even raised $700 for a teen in his community who was injured while stopping a hate crime.

His one year of goodness was so fulfilling that he has turned it into a four-year stretch of saying “yes” to random requests from strangers, gaining Potter fame in Pittsburgh for his hundreds — perhaps thousands — of kind acts, winning him awards, and making him the subject of local media attention.

“There is this Reddit lore of him,” said his friend Johann Guldenschuh, who met Potter when Potter agreed to help Guldenschuh and his wife move to the Pittsburgh area in 2017. “There are all these legends of these cool things he’s done, and they’re true.”

Before Potter’s do-gooder lifestyle began four years ago, he was a paragliding flight instructor, and most of his work hours fell on weekends. He was generally free on weekdays and had what he described as a bare-bones lifestyle. Instead of trying to earn more money during the week, he made the decision to dedicate himself to helping others.

It has had a profound effect on Potter, who says he has struggled with depression and anxiety since he was 8 years old. Last year, he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and said the realization was a “huge puzzle piece” in his life. He said that pushing himself to interact with people by helping them has given him new appreciation for others.

“I trust a lot more now than I did in the past,” he said. “I trust people’s intentions more.”

Two years ago, he formalized what he does by creating the website Pittsburgh Good Deeds, where people can ask for help and also volunteer their services. Potter now works as a handyman, and when he quotes his clients a price, he tells them to pay what they can. He said enough people pay the full price to keep him afloat.

“I get what I need,” he said. “I’m not very religious, but at this point I definitely believe there’s an order to my life and there’s an order to the universe, and I believe the order is good.”

GNW_090419_03Jonas Brothers surprise fan at hospital after she had to miss concert for chemotherapy treatment
(from cbsnews.com)

Teenager Lily Jordan was supposed to be rocking out at a Jonas Brothers concert this past weekend, but instead she had to undergo chemotherapy treatment. So, the famous family stopped by her hospital room to pay her a very special surprise visit before the show.
Late last week 16-year-old Jordan posted a screenshot of an Instagram story, letting her followers know that she couldn’t make the Jonas Brothers’ Hershey, Pennsylvania, concert on Saturday due to chemotherapy.

“I was supposed to be at your Hershey concert tomorrow but instead I’m across the street doing chemo,” Lily wrote on Instagram. “If y’all wanted to pop in I’ll give you my room number.”

She also asked her followers to tag the band or put her post in their stories in hopes of getting their attention. And her post did just that.

The hashtag she used, #LilySeesTheJonasBrothersChallenge2019, went viral — even Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry shared her post.

“Our good friend Lily is fighting for her life in Hershey tonight and so badly wanted to see the Jonas Brothers tomorrow night at Hersheypark, but can’t because of her urgent treatment,” he wrote on Facebook Friday. “If there is anyway for them to visit her, we are lifting up her hopes and our prayers for help.”

The Jonas Brothers saw the posts and couldn’t help but stop in to visit Jordan at Penn State Children’s Hospital before their concert.

The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center posted a sweet video of the famous trio walking into the teen’s room. “We saw your messages, we had to come over,” said Joe, to the smiling Jordan. “It went everywhere, my entire feed was filled,” added Kevin.

Even Nick’s wife, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, tagged along for the visit and met Jordan. After chatting for a bit, Nick asked Jordan if she had a favorite song they could dedicate to her during their concert that night. While Jordan was a bit flustered, she said their 2007 hit “S.O.S” was her pick — to which Kevin answered, “Done.”

The brothers also signed autographs and snapped pictures with the teen.

Jordan later posted photos from the visit on Instagram. “Wow. The power of social media you guys,” she wrote in the caption. “YOU did this. YOU made my crappy chemo session into something incredibly special and unforgettable. Thank you thank you thank you @jonasbrothers for taking time out of your day to come pay me a visit. Literally made my life.”

The Jonas Brothers are in the midst of their “Happiness Begins” tour for their recently released comeback album of the same name.

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Good News Wednesday (8/28/19)

I sure could use some good news couldn’t you?  Here are a few that will make you feel good about the world again…

GNW_082819_01After Spending Life in Cage, Rescue Dog is Adopted By Senior Care Home the Day Before She Was to Be Euthanized
(from goodnewsnetwork.org)

This rescue pup has been given a whole new leash on life after she was adopted as an official “house dog” at a senior living home—just in the nick of time.

6-year-old Journey had lived in a cage in rural Virginia for most of her life. After her owner died, she was sent to an overcrowded shelter where she was scheduled for euthanasia the very next day.

Thankfully, Amy Creel of the Knine Rescue crew in Ashton, Maryland heard about the pup’s plight and jumped into action.

She and the animal welfare team arranged for Journey to be transported from the Virginia shelter to the neighboring state of Maryland. Several community volunteers helped out by taking turns driving the rescue dog for different legs of the journey until she finally arrived in Ashton.

Coincidentally, the rescue group was actually hosting an adoption event at Sunrise Senior Living Center the day after Journey arrived.

Not only was Journey the featured guest at the adoption event, she made quite an impression on everyone there. Throughout the day, she said hello to strangers, rolled over for belly rubs, and charmed all the seniors at the facility.

The elderly residents ended up being so taken with Journey that the senior center staffers adopted the pup as a “house dog” for the facility.

Journey now spends her days comforting residents, joining them for walks, welcoming visitors, and bringing joy to everyone at the senior center.

“To think that this dog who never had anyone care for her, now has a community of folks looking after her is nothing short of amazing,” Creel told Southern Living. “We are so happy for her.”

GNW_082819_02Customer service rep more than 800 miles away saves man having stroke on phone call
(from boston25news.com)

A Michigan man has a customer service representative to thank for potentially saving his life.

MLive reported Dan Magennis was at his Walker, Michigan, home when he called Comcast about an issue with his cable. He put his phone on speaker and had a pad and pen out to take notes.

Hundreds of miles away, Kimberley Williams answered the phone in Jackson, Mississippi.

“He said his name really clear, Daniel, and then he just got quiet,” Williams, 32, told The Clarion-Ledger.

Magennis, 65, told MLive he tried to speak, but couldn’t. His wife was away, and he was at the house alone without any neighbors nearby, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

“I started to panic,” he said. “I would try to say something, and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t move. Within 20-30 seconds, I started to think maybe it was a stroke, but I wasn’t able to tell the representative that.”

“He was talking to me but I could not understand him,” Williams said. “Then, his words got slurred.”

Williams said the way he sounded reminded her of when she, at age 14, saw her grandmother have a stroke. She stayed on the line with Magennis and contacted her supervisor, Jennifer Clark. After making some calls to police departments in the Grand Rapids area, Williams got in contact with the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Officials were able to get Magennis and take him to the hospital, where he underwent an hourlong surgery to unclog a blocked artery, The Clarion-Ledger reported. Today reported Dr. Justin Singer, a neurosurgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, treated Magennis, who has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.

“He has almost no discernible signs of having a stroke (now), and that’s what we want to see,” Singer told WZZM.

“Kim is absolutely a hero,” Singer told Today. “You can envision working in a busy call center and knowing that people get interrupted during their phone calls. It would be so easy for her to dismiss it.”

“Each day, our Customer Experience Associates in Jackson, Mississippi, and across the nation go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of our customers,” Alex Horwitz, a vice president of public relations for Comcast, said in a statement to People. “In this case, Ms. Kimberly Williams took the extra steps to help save a customer’s life. We are incredibly proud of her quick thinking and dedication.”

GNW_082819_03Oklahoma deputy notices new mom out of gas on road, pays for her fuel
(from kfor.com)

A deputy went beyond his call of duty after noticing a new mom and her infant out of gas on a road in northeastern Oklahoma.

On August 14, Wagoner County K-9 Deputy D. Watkins was patrolling near U.S. Highway 69 and East 690 Road when he found a disabled vehicle.

Watkins stopped to check on the driver and discovered it was a new mom with her baby who had run out of gas.

Watkins told the mom to wait and that he would be back shortly.

During that time, he drove to a gas station and purchased enough fuel for her vehicle to make it to a nearby station.

Then, he followed her to the gas station to make sure she and her child made it safely.

When they arrived at the gas station, Watkins told the mom to park by the pumps and wait.

He went inside and paid for $10 in fuel for the mom to make it back home, the sheriff’s office says.

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott says Watkins went “above and beyond” to help a mother out and is proud of his kind act.

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Good News Wednesday (8/21/19)

Tired of the shootings, politics and negative news?  Here are few stories of good news that often gets overlooked…

GNW_082119_01ANONYMOUS ARKANSAS SHOPPER PAYS FOR GROCERIES FOR CUSTOMERS
(from www.kark.com)

A man determined to pay it forward surprised customers at a Maumelle Kroger Sunday.

The man asked the store manager if he could remain anonymous but pay for groceries of customers who may need a helping hand. So he handed store manager, Tommy Mcelmurry, his credit card and said spend $1,000 dollars.

“It’s not everyday that somebody comes in and tells you that they want to spend up to 1,000 dollars and just bless people by taking care of their groceries,” said Mcelmurry.

The kind gesture shocked just about everyone in the store.

“I was just in shock like is this really happening what is going on,” explained cashier Tiffany Pierce.

Every customer who got the surprise of free groceries was moved.

“I was like are you serious…This has never happened to me. Plus I had my daughter. I was like oh my gosh I’m so grateful,” explained mom of three, Rachael Juliet.

The anonymous shopper said a YouTube video inspired him to pay it forward. He also explained to the store manager that he was blessed and wanted to bless other people. He hoped it would get others to pay it forward.

Since Sunday, everyone said they have worked to pay it forward and learned a great lesson.

“Take this as an example step out a little bit and see what you can do to help other peoples lives,” said Pierce.

The man also said he plans to do this again sometime soon.

GNW_082119_02HERO TEACHER’S ASSISTANT SAVES CHILD FROM CHOKING AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
(from www.wsbtv.com)

A Bartow County teacher’s assistant is being hailed a hero after saving a kindergartner who was choking on a piece of candy.

Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen was at Hamilton Crossing Elementary School in Cartersville, where 5-year-old Mayah DeLoera got a piece of peppermint candy lodged in her throat at school Thursday.

Mayah and her classmates were given the candy treats in Mia Gilstrap’s class. Gilstrap talked to Petersen about the terrifying moment she realized Mayah was choking.

“Her face did not look as it normally does,” Gilstrap said. “So then I tried to do what I’ve seen before, the Heimlich.”

Gilstrap admits she wasn’t quite sure how to do it, so she ran across the hall to get the school nurse.

In the meantime, teacher’s assistant Vicki Rader raced to Mayah’s side.

“I think I just basically kicked into ‘mama mode,'” Rader said. “Actually, I’ve never done that before.”

Rader said she was trained in the Heimlich Maneuver, but many years ago.

“Years ago in CPR, we were trained to do that,” Rader said. “But I never actually had to do it in the 27 years that I’ve been here.”

Rader said she performed the move once or twice on Mayah, and the candy came out.

By Friday, Mayah was back to her normal self in the classroom, working alongside other students on an art project.

“You never know,” Principal Lynn Robertson said. “She was just the angel in the right place at the right time. She took care of that little girl like she was her own little girl.”

Mayah’s mom met Rader Friday to thank her in person for saving her daughter’s life.

“That was the best thing ever,” Rader said. “Of everything that’s been said and done, that was the best, to meet her mom.”

Gilstrap said Rader’s actions Thursday were just one indication of how important she is in the classroom.

“She’s always our hero,” Gilstrap said. “Not just because of what she did for Mayah, but what she does every day.”

GNW_082119_03NEW JERSEY MAN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS NEARLY LOSES HOME UNTIL NEIGHBORS RAISE $50,000 TO SAVE IT
(from www.cbsnews.com)

A man from New Jersey was at risk of losing his home and had no one in his corner to help him until his neighbors found out and came together to raise $50,000 save his house. Lamar Harris has special needs and “his life has been full of tragedy,” his neighbor, Terri Fretz, wrote on GoFundMe.
Fretz said Harris lost both his mom and grandmother as a child and lived with his father and brother until they both suddenly died when he was an adult.

Harris is alone, according to Fretz. In order to survive, he has a part-time job of cutting lawns for some of his neighbors.

“He cannot drive. He does not understand finances and has a very limited reading ability,” Fretz writes. “As a result of the death of his family members, his reading deficits and his inability to understand finances, he has fallen behind in his property taxes.”

Harris hasn’t paid property taxes since his father’s death in 2015 and Gloucester Township filed a lien for back taxes. “Lamar is in imminent danger of losing his home,” Fretz’s post reads.

With his family members gone, Harris seemingly had no one to help him. Luckily, he has a loving community and church who decided to rally behind him and raise the funds needed to stop the foreclosure of his home, Fretz said.

Fretz created a GoFundMe on July 23, with a deadline to raise the money by Aug. 5.

“We, his neighbors, have all banded together and have been watching out for Lamar since his dad died. This problem just recently came to light and is too big for just his neighbors to handle,” Fretz writes.

Their goal was to get outside help raising $50,000. Before reaching that goal, the Mayor of Gloucester Township released an update on Harris.

“The township has been in contact with state and county offices,” Mayor David Mayer said in a statement. “We are compiling information as to the status of not only the property, but most importantly, the status and care of Mr. Lamar Harris. The current foreclosure process is the result of a private lien holder that dates back to 2015. We will continue to research this matter to ensure the proper care of Mr. Harris.”

While the town was working to help Mr. Harris keep his property, about 1,007 people were donating to the GoFundMe. In just 13 days, they raised $64,804. Some donors gave up to $300.

As if the influx of donations wasn’t heartwarming enough, community members who knew Harris left touching messages on the GoFundMe page.

One woman said she and her children held a lemonade stand to raise money for Harris. “We are Lamar’s neighbors and care about him very much,” she wrote. “He helps everyone in our community willingly from his heart. He is our community watch ..everyone knows him and loves him .. he deserves to stay in his home.”

“I Love you man…if you need anything call me,” one man wrote to Harris.

Fretz updated the GoFundMe page to thank everyone who pitched in. “You are all proof that kindness can make a difference in a person’s life in a big way,” she wrote. She said Harris is very grateful and understands the kindness.

“All donations that he continues to receive will be applied to Lamar’s future and current needs,” Frtez said. The community is also working on finding an attorney to advocate for Harris in the future.

“There is still good in the world. There is still hope for us all,” she wrote.

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Good News Wednesday (8/14/19)

I need some good news.   What about you?  Here are a few things that will make you feel good about the world…

GNW_081419_01WOMAN IN NEED OF SURGERY WINS $5,000 ON GRAND SLAM
(from www.ourmidland.com)
When Lori Ford arrived at Dow Diamond on Sunday afternoon, she was hoping to enjoy a Great Lakes Loons’ game and maybe get her mind off of pending hip surgery. And then it happened.

A couple of hours later, one swing of the bat brought tears to her eyes — and changed her life dramatically.

The Loons’ James Outman homered to rightfield with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, making Ford the first-ever winner of the Miller Lite Grand Slam Inning, a promotion which the team has been running since 2013. Ford, whose name was randomly drawn on the day of the game to participate in the promotion, received a check in the amount of $5,000 courtesy of Miller Lite. And, as she pointed out in a voice steeped with excitement, the money will be put to good use.

Very good use.

“(Loons’ onfield host Ashley VanOchten) asked me what I would use the money for if I won, and I told her that I was having hip surgery next Monday, and that (prize money) would definitely help with medical bills,” said Ford, a resident of Mount Morris. “It’s one of those things where you have to put down a deposit (up front) or else they won’t do the surgery, so this is such a relief.

“I went (to Dow Diamond on Monday) and picked up the check, and I’ve already been able to pay some of the medical bills,” she added. “Everything is OK now. I’m going to get fixed up and get better.”

Loons’ Assistant General Manager Matt DeVries said he was thrilled that a person like Ford was the first to finally win the Grand Slam Inning.

“Anytime we do a promotion like this, we’re always hoping we can be lucky enough to draw the perfect contestant to be the winner,” DeVries said. “And we couldn’t have asked for a better winner than Lori. She was so excited and so enthusiastic, and considering her situation, with surgery coming up, to be able to help offset some of that cost is near and dear to our mission of helping the surrounding community.

“I was ecstatic (that she won),” he added, noting of the Grand Slam Inning promo, “It was a long time coming and long overdue. We’re in the seventh year of this promotion, and no one had ever won it before. We were all super thrilled that Lori was our first-ever winner.”

Ironically, Ford admitted that she almost didn’t even register to be in the drawing for the Grand Slam Inning. And even after her name was drawn, she had almost zero expectation of actually winning.

“I had taken my sister to a Loons’ game before, and we both put our names in, and she actually won the drawing (to be the Grand Slam Inning contestant),” Ford said with a chuckle. “This time, I didn’t (register) at first, but then I walked around for a little bit and finally thought, ‘Maybe I’ll put my name in again, and they’ll pick me by some odd chance.'”

Once the bottom of the sixth inning arrived, Ford noted, things got exciting very quickly.

“It went very fast. (Romer Cuadrado) hit a home run to start the inning, and then they had the bases loaded (afterward). I thought, ‘Well, I won’t win, but I’ll stand up and ring the bell and cheer for (Outman) anyway,'” Ford said. “But then Ashley (VanOchten) said to me, ‘You know, when (Outman’s) girlfriend and family are here, he always does so good. I think you’re going to win.'”

According to Ford, watching Outman’s homer sail over the rightfield wall was pretty surreal.

“The first pitch was a strike, and then he hit the second pitch, and my boyfriend said to me, ‘It’s going to go over the fence!’ And it did,” she said, the emotion in her voice continuing to build. “I started screaming and crying, and Ashley was jumping up and down next to me like a kangaroo. Everyone was so excited. They stopped playing (the game), and the players were all waving and clapping for me. It was so exciting.

” … (Winning) the money was wonderful, but the whole atmosphere was incredible,” she added. ” … It was just a wonderful thing, a great moment.”

DeVries said that he almost didn’t even get to see Outman’s homer. He was in a different part of the stadium coordinating a separate promotion when he heard that Outman was up with the bases loaded. Fortunately, he hurried back to field level just in time to witness history.

“Of course, James hits the second pitch (of the at-bat), and I was just running back up the tunnel (when he hit it),” DeVries said. “Our in-house video crew captured this funny image of me with this look on my face like, ‘Did this actually just happen?!’

“Luckily, Ashley and our video team were right there to capture the moment (with Ford),” he added. “There was a lot of hugging and jumping around and just absolute disbelief.”

Incredibly, the story only gets better from there.

According to Ford, a 10-year-old boy from Coleman, Landon Babcock, retrieved the home run ball and promptly delivered it to her without being prompted by his parents.

“That was so sweet. What a good little boy,” Ford enthused. “I said, ‘There’s a little man right there.’ He told me, ‘Good luck with your surgery.’ How many little kids say that?”

Landon’s mother, Becky Babcock, said that it didn’t take her son long to start thinking about Ford.

“He came back with the ball and sat down for a second and then said, ‘Mom, I wonder if that lady would like this ball,’ and I said, ‘Yes, she might,’ and so we went and found her,” Babcock said, adding of Ford’s reaction, ” … She was a little teary-eyed and just overjoyed. She was smiling and wanted to give Landon a hug. She was thankful and happy that he did that.”

Asked if she was a little surprised by her son’s decision, Babcock replied with a laugh, “Yeah, I was. I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I’m doing something right (as a parent).’ He’s got a soft heart, and it is pretty cool that he thought to do that.”

DeVries agreed that Babcock’s gesture was “special.”

“It speaks to the type of young man Landon is. Obviously, he’s been brought up the right way, and he did a lot for Lori that day,” DeVries said. “It makes a heartwarming story come full circle for a young man to have a thought like that.

“Very often, the young person is on the receiving end (of a home run ball), where an adult catches the ball and gives it to a young person and just makes their day,” he added. “But this time, Landon has that great memory, but so does Lori. And then James (Outman) gave Landon a signed bat, so the good times just kept on coming.”

Becky Babcock said that her son was “so excited” to be presented with a bat by Outman.

“He told me, ‘Mom, I wouldn’t have thought that any of this would happen when I gave (Ford) that ball,'” she said. “What he’s taking from this is that, when you do something nice for someone, sometimes people will do something nice for you.

“He’s ecstatic to have that bat,” she added. “I don’t know that he’s put it down yet.”

According to DeVries, Outman’s homer traveled around 380 feet and just barely cleared the rightfield wall in front of the scoreboard — not far, fittingly, from the Miller Lite sponsorship sign.

“We’ve had bases loaded at least a dozen times (during the Grand Slam Inning) in the past, and we had a ball hit the top of the wall (with bases loaded) last year,” he noted. “We’ve been very close (to having a winner), and this one finally cleared the fence.”

Ford said that she just might have had some help from above.

“My mom is (deceased), but she was a gambler. She liked to play Bingo and things like that. Before (Outman’s homer), I looked up and said, ‘Mom, if you hear me, maybe you could sprinkle some of your good luck dust on me,'” Ford said with another chuckle. “It was so exciting, and I just couldn’t believe it. I can’t get up and down real fast, but I think I jumped right out of my seat. It made me cry.”

Becky Babcock said that Sunday was a great day to be at the ballpark all the way around.

“Probably just the joy on people’s faces, especially (Ford’s) and Landon’s,” she said when asked what she’ll remember most about that day. “It’s just a nice environment down there (at Dow Diamond) anyway, but that (joy) made for a very special time for everyone.”

GNW_081419_02YOUNG MAN PAYS IT FORWARD WITH SCHOLARSHIP FOR FATHERLESS STUDENT
(from fox43.com)
“I would dream of running around the yard playing tag with my dad, yet the reality is I could never do any of these things with my dad because I did not have the opportunity to know him,” said Demetrius Howard as he sat at the kitchen table reading a student’s story.

It’s a story Demetrius knows all too well.

“I seen that other people were going through some of the things that I was going through in life and it really humbled me to see that, and be able to help others,” said Demetrius.

When he was only three months old his father was shot and killed.

“I think growing up without a father could impact anyone’s childhood,” said the Newtown High School graduate. For months he has been preparing to present an award to a hard-working senior. With the help of his supporters, Demetrius will award an African American male student, who has lost their father to gun violence, with $1,000, a computer, and a printer.

“I hope he’s happy. I hope he’s very excited, as excited as I am,” said Demetrius.” I created this scholarship to help a victim who is striving against the statistical image of the minority youth.”

Several students submitted their stories in hopes of being chosen.

“Reading the letters, it was like wow, like there are so many other people who are faced with the same challenge,” said Demetrius’ mother Tamika Grahm.

That young man is Jayden Snip, who attends Newton High School just as Demetrius once did.

“To know someone in my community who walked the same halls as I did, it brings closure and lights to what I went through, and what I grew up with the, the obstacles I had to face as well,” said Jayden. He says the scholarship means a lot to him knowing he’s not the only one who went through a similar experience.

As for Demetrius, he plans on raising money for next year. Always hoping that somewhere his father is proud.

“Knowing that my father was looking at my every action, that’s what motivated me to stay on the right track,” said Demetrius.

GNW_081419_03CHASE BANK FORGIVES DEBTS FOR CANADIAN CREDIT CARD HOLDERS
(from www.goodnewsnetwork.org)
It’s not often that banks are praised for their compassion, but Canadian credit card holders are rejoicing over their bank’s recent decision to forgive all outstanding debt on two of their old Visa programs.

After spending a little over a decade in the Canadian credit card market, US-based Chase Bank opted to retire their Amazon.ca Rewards Visa and their Marriott Rewards Premier Visa in March 2018.

As of last week, there were still Canadian cardholders who were making payments on their outstanding card debt—but Chase, rather than selling the debt to third party-collectors, sent letters to all of their Canadian customers this week explaining that their debt had been forgiven.

“Ultimately, we felt it was a better decision for all parties, particularly our customers,” Chase spokesperson Maria Martinez said in an email to CBC.

Despite how financial analysts have been confused by the bank’s decision to forgive the debt, Canadian customers are still in disbelief over their good fortune.

“Its crazy,” one customer told the Canadian news outlet. “This stuff doesn’t happen with credit cards. Credit cards are horror stories.”

Though Chase declined to say how much debt had collectively been wiped out by their decision, their former Amazon credit card boasted a 19.9% interest rate—and some Canadian cardholders told CBC that they had been forgiven for as much as $6,000 in debt.

“I was sort of over the moon all last night, with a smile on my face,” another consumer told CBC. “I couldn’t believe it.”

5 Tips on How to Make Every Day a Good Day
(from www.goalcast.com)

  1. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  2. Eat well.
  3. Dress well.
  4. Avoid situations that stress you out.
  5. Do something nice for yourself.

 

Good News Wednesday (8/7/19)

Need some good news?  Here are some stories that will restore you faith in the world…

GNW_0807_01GOOD SAMARITAN CHASES DOWN TEXAS FAMILY’S STOLEN RV SO 6-YEAR-OLD WITH CANCER CAN TRAVEL

(from Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

A family in Texas can now travel with their son thanks to a Good Samaritan with a sharp eye.

Ethan Perez was 4-years-old when he was diagnosed with leukemia after suffering with what his family thought were growing pains, the Houston Chronicle reported. For the last two years, Ethan, now 6, has undergone extensive chemotherapy treatments and spent more than his fair share of time in the hospital.

Ethan’s parents purchased an RV so they could travel with their son on short trips that wouldn’t put his health at risk, his mother Evelyn wrote in a Facebook post.

Their hopes came crashing down when the RV was stolen from the family’s driveway Thursday night, KPRC reported. A landscaper working on their neighbor’s lawn told the family a man and woman connected the RV to a Uhaul before driving off. The RV was not yet insured.

Evelyn posted about the crime on social media, imploring anyone with information to reach out.

The next day, someone did.

Rick Jones was on his way to work when he saw the Uhaul pulling the RV, Evelyn wrote. He recognized the vehicle from Evelyn’s social media post and followed it down I-10 to a gas station and called police, the Houson Chronicle reported.

“I can’t believe it,” Evelyn wrote on Facebook. “I’m in awe.”

When police arrived, they apprehended two men and two women, but later told the family they could not be arrested because the suspects were already standing outside the RV and had unhitched it from the Uhaul, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“We were floored, we could not believe it,” Evelyn said, according to the newspaper. “They were caught with a stolen RV. I would think that’s evidence to arrest these people.”

Ernesto Perez, Ethan’s dad, told KPRC the thieves had “trashed the inside,” broken a window and stolen a flat screen television.

Still, the Perez family is thankful for the diligence of their “hero.”

Ethan met Jones on Saturday and gifted him a Superman shirt along with the framed words “Not all heroes wear capes,” the post said.

“How else do you thank someone like this who saves the day for a little boy that is fighting cancer, for an entire family?” Evelyn said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “It was a really special way that our family connected with them under these sour circumstances.”

GNW_0807_02MAN DONATES MONEY TO NEIGHBOR, NEIGHBOR USES IT TO PAINT MAN’S HOUSE
(from cbs2iowa.com)

Gary Cookus remembers welcoming his new neighbors to town three years ago.

“I met (them) at Wildcat (Golf Course) having dinner,” he recalls about his first encounter with Jen and Brian Steadman. “I just felt like I needed to say, ‘Hello.'”

“Nobody was talking to them,” he laughs. “It’s what I do.”

That was the start of a friendship between Gary and the Steadmans – and what ultimately brought a bunch of runners to Gary’s house in Shellsburg on a Sunday morning in July.

Health issues had been keeping Gary from upkeep on his house, which was in dire need of a paint job. The Shellsburg City Council was even telling Gary to get it taken care of.

Unable to do the physical work on his house, Gary still recognizes good work when he sees it. That’s why he gave Jen a donation for her birthday in July for her work as a board member for Corridor Running.

“Runners are very unique in that each one of us has a story,” Jen says, “but we just support one another and we will always be that way.”

That means running a leg of life’s race that somebody else can’t.

“Right off the bat after he did that, I told my husband, ‘I know what we’re doing for Gary,'” Jen says. “We’re gonna go in and paint his house.”

A donation Gary made for someone else was sent right back to him in the form of brushes, buckets, and about eight people getting that paint job done for him.

“Very heartfelt. It’s been a really happy thing for me,” Gary says as his house is painted in the background. Others in town have been helping him with carpentry and plumbing work, as well as cleaning out his gutters.

“It’s been a great, great thing,” he says.

The same can be said for a friendship started with a simple conversation three years ago.

“He always has something funny to say,” Jen says as she sits next to Gary.

“May not be nice,” Gary replies, followed by a laugh that seems to punctuate most of his sentences.

“He keeps us going,” Jen adds. “Never a dull moment with Gary.”

GNW_0807_03MAN DRESSED AS SPIDERMAN SENDS ENCOURAGING MESSAGE TO DRIVERS AND CHILDREN
(from abc13.com)

If you think you’ve seen Spiderman lately, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.

Cameron Fielder is known to dress up as a superhero on his days off. Fielder dresses up, stands near busy intersections and holds a piece of cardboard with phrases like “You Matter” and “You are Strong” written on them.

“This world is full of negativity these days and I don’t want that to be continuing,” Fielder said. “Of course, it always will, but I want to at least try to make a difference.”

As drivers pass by, Fielder said they often honk and yell to get his attention, and he hopes he’s getting theirs.

Fielder said he wants to provide a sense of encouragement for people facing silent battles.

“I took what I dealt with and applied it to other people,” Fielder said. “Anxiety or depression, any of these types of things you may have.”

In just the two weeks he has been dressing up as Spider-Man, people are already starting to look for him around town.

“I wave at everyone and high five some kids, things like that,” Fielder said. “Then, I got the idea to pass out coloring books and sticker books.”

He said he will be in Houston in the upcoming days. Spider-Man plans to keep encouraging drivers for as long as he can.

GNW_0807_04PUPPY WITH MISSING LEG ADOPTED BY AMPUTEE VETERAN
(from people.com)

A military veteran from Tennessee who lost his leg after an IED explosion found a new best friend after adopting a dog with a missing leg.

Joshua Ferguson took home three-legged Scooter on Thursday, after adopting the pup from the Humane Society of Dickson County in Dickson, according to WTVF in Nashville.

“He makes it easier for me to remember, hey it’s still a beautiful day,” Ferguson said Scooter. “You realize really just how tremendous a journey life is.”

Scooter was discovered with a severed leg in a wooded area at Johnson Creek near Burns, Tennessee, in June, with veterinarians believing the dog got his leg stuck and was forced to gnaw it off in order to free himself and find food, WTVF reported.

The dog’s mangled leg was eventually amputated at the Animal Medical Hospital.

“It’s impossible to not smile around him,” Ferguson said. “Everybody’s so happy to see him, then they notice he’s got 3 legs. He’s happy you were overjoyed to see him, don’t pity him!”

Ferguson told the news outlet that he and four other soldiers were in a truck when it drove over an improvised explosive device, and although none of the five died, he ended up losing his leg in the ensuing explosion.

Not one to complain, the military veteran added, “There’s silver linings to anything, you can find something, and even if you can’t, somebody’s had it worse! So stop complaining.”

“The future can be better than the present and you have the power to make it so.”

Good News Wednesday (7/31/19)

Need some good news?  Here are a few things that will make you feel good about the world:

GNW_0731_01WOMAN BUYS OUT ARKANSAS PAYLESS STORE’S STOCK, DONATES SHOES TO CHILDREN IN NEED
(from Newsweek.com)

Carrie Jernigan didn’t plan on buying 1,500 pairs of shoes at the end of May, but the Arkansas woman is using that massive purchase to give back to her community.

Jernigan took her three children to a Payless Shoe Source in Alma, Arkansas, to do a bit of shopping before the family went on vacation, and during the visit to the store Jernigan’s 9-year-old daughter asked if they could purchase a pair of Avengers tennis shoes for someone in her class that needed a pair.

“She has the biggest heart, and she said ‘There is a boy in my class that loves [The] Avengers, and his shoes are too small, could you buy him these?,’ and I was like ‘of course,'” Jernigan told THV11.

Jernigan said she was touched by her daughter’s thoughtfulness and, “As I was checking out, I just said, ‘how much for the rest of the shoes in the store?’ almost joking, and then I could see the clerk’s face, her wheels start to turn.”

In February 2019, Payless announced that the company would close all of its stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico by the end of May, a move that came after the shoe and accessory retailer had filed for bankruptcy twice in two years. At the time of the announcement, the company had 2,100 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

According to Southern Living, Jernigan gave the clerk her phone number before she left the store and later that day she was contacted by the district manager who told Jernigan she could purchase the store’s remaining stock before it closed. Jernigan agreed, thinking should would go to the store to buy approximately 350 pairs of shoes.

However, when she went back to pay for them, Jernigan learned that the store was getting another shipment of shoes just days before it would close and instead of buying 350 pairs of shoes. When her children asked to buy those shoes, Jernigan ended up purchasing 1,500 pairs — all the remaining stock from the store.

“I always tell my kids, if you ask them what they want to be when they grow up they say be kind, and so I don’t care what they do in life as long as they are kind and good people. And so it just reiterates to me that their hearts are in the right place and if it’s in the right place they can do amazing things,” she told THV11.

Money reports that Jernigan bought $21,000 worth of merchandise.

Jernigan intended to donate the shoes to her local schools, where she serves at the school board president, but upon buying the additional shipment, she decided to hold off until the new school year.

“I wanted these kids to have brand new shoes for the start of school,” she told Money.

Others in the town of Alma have gotten involved, donating to a Kickstarter campaign that aims to purchase school supplies. Jernigan and a local Baptist church are hosting a back-to-school event on Aug. 10 at the Alma Middle School Gym where parents and children can get school supplies and a new pair of shoes just before classes begin for the 2019-2020 school year.

“If they can go help one person, one child, go to school with a new pair of shoes on, it will make that child’s day so much better,” Jernigan told Money.

The adult shoes Jernigan purchased will also be donated to those in need.

GNW_0731_02FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY OFFICERS SURPRISED WHEN STRANGER PAYS THEIR MEALS
(from wkyt.com)

Frankfort officers are thanking their community after someone paid for four officers to eat at Pizza Inn during the weekend.

Captain Dustin Bowman told WKYT the officers work third shift and were eating at the restaurant when someone gave them a note reading in part, “Thank you very much for serving and protecting the community! To show appreciation we are honored to buy your dinners.”

Bowman said kind gestures like this happen often but never become less shocking.

He said he typically responds by paying it forward.

“We don’t want to just receive the blessing, we want to hand them out to those who might be having a bad day and might need something to just boost them up a bit,” Bowman said.

GNW_0731_03DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY DONATES 17,000 MEALS FROM CANCELLED NEW ORLEANS CONVENTION TO STORM DISASTER RELIEF
(from thehill.com)

The Delta Sigma Theta sorority donated 17,000 meals to disaster relief efforts in New Orleans after it was forced to cut their biennial national convention short this weekend due to ongoing Tropical Storm Barry.

According to The Washington Post, nearly 16,000 people were expected to attend the convention this weekend. But the sorority decided to end the convention ahead of schedule after the storm caused heavy flooding across the Gulf Coast and prompted tens of thousands of homes to lose power.

But Beverly E. Smith, the national president and CEO of the sorority, told the newspaper that members of the sorority were “delighted” to donate food intended for their luncheon to recovery efforts.

“There was inordinate amounts of food that would have been wasted,” she told The Post.

The sorority donated the food to the Second Harvest Food Bank, which will distribute the meals to people affected by the storm in New Orleans and areas nearby.

“To have all these meals ahead of time is really a godsend,” Jay Vise, the communications director for the food bank, told the paper.

Vise added that he feels the food donated – which ranges from macaroni and cheese, chicken, chocolate cake and potatoes au gratin – could also help cheer up victims who have been hit hard by the storms and have limited resources to prepare their own meals.

According to CNN, the storm made landfall in Louisiana on Saturday. At the time, Barry had been categorized as a Category 1 hurricane. However, the storm has since weakened and is currently being labelled a tropical storm.

GNW_0731_04

Good News Wednesday (7/24/19)

Need some good news?  Here are a few things that happened this week that will make you smile:

GN724_01IOWA CARPENTER SAVED $3 MILLION TO PUT 33 STRANGERS THROUGH COLLEGE

An Iowa carpenter is responsible for sending dozens of people to college. People he never had a chance to meet.

Dale Schroeder lived simply for his entire life. He grew up poor, never married or had kids, and worked as a carpenter at the same company for 67 years. He owned just two pair of jeans and drove a rusty old Chevrolet truck.

Shortly before his death in 2005, Schroeder told his attorney, Steve Nielsen, that he wanted to use his savings to help poor students in Iowa go to college.

Read more of this story…

GN724_02GROUP OF STRANGERS SAVES MAN IN FLIPPED TRUCK

A resourceful group of construction workers and fellow commuters came together to save a man trapped in a flipped pickup truck on Monday.

A report from CNN says that between six and eight good Samaritans rushed to aid the man after his rear tire blew on I-88 in suburban Chicago.

The charge was led by Tom Meyers, a paramedic and firefighter who was passing by when he saw the wreck and a group trying to flip the truck back over.

Read more of this story…

GN724_03KANSAS CITY TV STATION PAYS IT FORWARD TO MAN WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES TO HELP VETERANS COMMUNITY PROJECT SUCCEED

This Pay-It-Forward award goes to a veteran working behind the scenes to help homeless veterans get a roof over their head and secure a job.

Veterans Community Project volunteer Joan Slawson nominated Vinnie for the award because she said he keeps things running smoothly.

“Vinny is the director of everything that goes on in the village with the residents,” Slawson said. “Whether it’s the bus passes, food bags, food boxes, some type of job counseling.”

Read more of this story…

GN724_04GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH MEMBERS GROWING FAITH WITH GARDEN IN MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE

Grace Lutheran Church members growing faith with garden in Murfreesboro

This summer, Grace Lutheran Church members in Murfreesboro have a unique way of growing their faith.

They’ve planted Katie’s Garden and give away the bounty for free to anyone in need. There are peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon and a variety of other fruits and vegetables.

“Part of it is to be of benefit to our community, get to know our neighbors, get to be a benefit to our neighbors. … We can get to know our neighbors and be friendly and invite them to church and help them in any way we can,” said the Rev. Al Thoe, assistant pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, 811 E. Clark Blvd.

Read more of this story…

“Every day may not be a good day but there is good in every day”

Good News Wednesday (7/17/19)

Take a look at some good news from the past week that you might have missed.

GN717_01CARING TARGET WORKER SAVES CUSTOMER FORM PAYING SCAMMERS $5,000

A fast-thinking Jacks Valley Target employee saved someone from buying a $5,000 pre-paid gift card at the request of telephone scammers.

“The caring Target employee halted the transaction and notified the Sheriff’s Office,” Spokesman Sgt. Jeff Schemenauer said. “The Sheriff’s Office is asking all retailers who sell pre-paid cards to conduct awareness training and help our community protect one another.”

Schemenauer asked residents, and especially seniors, to be aware that the FBI isn’t going to call and tell them they have a warrant that can only be satisfied by mailing a $2,000-$5,000 pre-paid gift card.  Read more here…

GN717_02DEPUTY SAVES INFANT’S LIFE AFTER STOPPING A CAR FOR SPEEDING

Berkeley South Carolina Deputy Will Kimbro stopped a car for speeding last month but he didn’t know he would end up saving an infant’s life.

The dramatic events took place during a routine patrol on June 11 and was caught on a newly released video recorded by the officer’s body camera.  Read more here…

GN717_03GOOD SAMARITANS IN GEORGIA TURN IN CASH PICKED UP ON HIGHWAY AFTER ARMORED TRUCK MISHAP

Georgia cops were pleasantly surprised when several Good Samaritans turned in thousands of dollars that spilled out onto a highway earlier this week after the side door of an armored truck suddenly opened.

Dunwoody Police said several people have turned in money they picked up along I-285 near Ashford-Dunwoody Road on Monday night, when the door mishap sent an unspecified amount of money flying into the air.  Read more here…

GN717_04CENTRAL FLORIDA CHURCH PAYS OFF $7.2 MILLION OF MEDICAL DEBT FOR 6,500 FAMILIES

It’s uncertain whether the struggling residents of Central Florida have ever prayed for their medical bills to be wiped out, but that’s exactly what just happened. Sixty-five hundred families are going to get letters in the mail saying their debt has been paid by people they’ve never met.

“It’s one thing for us to say, ‘God loves you,” Senior Pastor Dan Glenn told his congregation. “It’s another for us to show it.”

When Stetson Baptist Church found itself with an ‘extra Sunday’ at the end of its fiscal year calendar, its leaders decided that on June 30th, the money collected during the service would be donated to charity. Their plan was to split the proceeds to support a group foster home that provides services for underserved youngsters and also help the residents of their home county of Volusia to pay their medical bills.  Read more here…

“Today or any day that phone may ring and bring good news.”

Ethel Waters

Good News Wednesday (7/10/19)

Check out some good news from the past week:

GN01THERE IS A “GOOD SAMARITAN” APP THAT ALERTS NEARBY USERS TO MEDICAL EMERGENCIES WHICH HAS ALREADY SAVED THOUSANDS

An ingenious new app is recruiting thousands of Good Samaritans as volunteers for medical emergencies.

If an ambulance is dispatched in response to someone in the midst of cardiac arrest or some other life-threatening emergency, the “GoodSAM” app sends a cell phone alert to first responders and medically trained civilians who are nearby to the person in distress.

The Ambulance Victoria website says that for every minute that a cardiac arrest patient doesn’t get CPR or defibrillation, their chances of survival fall by 10% – so recruiting the help of nearby pedestrians can often make a world of difference for a patient’s recovery.

READ MORE OF THIS STORY HERE.

GN02CITY EMPLOYEE, BYSTANDERS SAVE DRIVER FROM FIERY CRASH

A Spring Hill, Tennessee city inspector and other bystanders saved a driver from a burning vehicle. Spring Hill Police and fire crews responded to a call of a crash on Cleburne Road with possible entrapment and fire Tuesday. But when the Fire Chief arrived on scene, he found the victim had already been pulled from the vehicle.

READ MORE OF THIS STORY HERE.

GN03COLLEGE STUDENT TURNS PLASTIC BAGS INTO MATTRESSES IN EFFORT TO REDUCE WASTE, HELP HOMELESS

Each year, an estimated 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide, with billions ending up as litter. In an effort to change those statistics, a college student is turning one of the world’s biggest wastes into a way to save lives for those living on the streets.

“Me and my mom have lived through this,” says Nataani Silversmith, who is homeless. “Sometimes our signs say ‘blankets,’ not even ‘spare change.’”

READ MORE OF THIS STORY HERE.

GN04MAN DRESSED AS BATMAN HAS RESCUED DOZENS OF SHELTER PETS FROM EUTHANASIA

Not all heroes wear capes, but this guy has already saved dozens of dogs and cats from euthanasia – and he has done it all while dressed as Batman.

27-year-old Chris Van Dorn has always been a fan of the beloved Caped Crusader; so when he began volunteering for various animal rescue organizations around Orlando, Florida, he decided to combine his two passions and use a Batman suit to bring attention to the importance of pet adoption.

“It kind of just came as a way to embody all the good I wanted to do in the world,” Van Dorn told The Dodo, “and make it easy for people to talk to me right off the bat.”

READ MORE OF THIS STORY HERE.

“Everyone has inside of them a piece of good news.  The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be.  How much you can love.  What you can accomplish and what your potential is.”

Anne Frank