Want Some Good News for a Change? Here It Is!
After a year of a pandemic, numerous extreme weather events, record-breaking wildfires, civil unrest and election controversies, I’m ready for some good news.
I hope you are too. And if so, you’ve come to the right place. Today I want to focus on some positive news.
These are the types of stories rarely covered by mainstream media. When they are, they’re buried under the obituaries.
Too much bad news can affect us mentally and emotionally. It starts us thinking, “What will go wrong next?” Good news puts us in a better frame of mind and gives us an optimistic outlook. Here they are.
Marine Veteran Gets Renovated Home
A U.S. Marine veteran who was homeless off and on for the past 15 years got a big surprise recently. Torre Harris, 60, served from 1978 to 1981. He fell upon hard times after returning to Louisville, Kentucky.
A carpenter by trade, he was helping renovate and restore abandoned homes. But a car accident limited him physically.
Operation Victory found out about Harris. The coalition of unions, businesses and community groups renovated an abandoned house just for him. After more than 100 volunteers completed the six-month project, Harris moved in.
“I felt like a celebrity,” Harris said. “I just couldn’t believe there were so many nice people in the world… it’s such a touching thing to me.”
12-Year-Old Steps Up to the Plate
In August, parts of Iowa were devastated by violent winds and rains that became known as the Midwest Derecho. Fallen tree branches were seemingly everywhere.
A 12-year-old boy named Tommy Rhomberg didn’t just see a big mess. He saw an opportunity. The young Mount Vernon resident used his grandfather’s whittling tools and sandpaper to carve 200 baseball bats out of those branches.
He then sold the bats and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. This fund helps victims of the storm.
“I like being able to help,” Tommy said. “And I’m glad if people don’t have money to rebuild they can use some of the money donated from the bats instead.”
Taking Time to Say ‘Thanks’
When Ana Reyes was 5 years old in the early 1980s, she immigrated to America from Spain. Barely able to speak English, she struggled with acclimating to her new country.
Luckily for Ana, her first-grade teacher arranged for free tutoring sessions one hour prior to the start of school each day. Ana went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and is now an attorney in Washington, D.C.
Recently Ana located that 77-year-old, retired teacher to say thank you. “What Mrs. (Pat) Harkleroad did for me was extraordinary,” Ana said. “When you help one person, you also help all the people that person goes on to help.”
Pat said, “I couldn’t believe it. I was so glad that she thought enough of me to want to meet with me again. And to think that I had a small part in her success.”
Quarantined Folks Get Free Food
A large amount of food was prepared for Jordana Shmidman’s bat mitzvah. But the family cancelled the event due to the pandemic. Rather than freeze or toss out the food, they made a different choice.
Approximately 150 boxes of food from the canceled ceremony were delivered to quarantined people in the New York City metropolitan area.
Parents of children attending Jordana’s school, SAR Academy in the Bronx, volunteered to make the deliveries.
Eventually Jordana was able to celebrate her bat mitzvah with friends and family during a Zoom session.
Nursing Home Residents Receive Flowers
Jordana and her family were not the only people to repurpose items from an event canceled by the coronavirus.
Kristall Goytia and Jason Oswald of New Braunfels, Texas decided to hold off on their wedding ceremony. But it was too late to cancel their order for flowers. That order included 500 roses, 300 hydrangeas and assorted greenery.
So, they decided to use the flowers to brighten the lives of people living in area nursing homes.
“We knew that so many people were being impacted by the virus, but we knew the people it was affecting the most were (the) elderly and healthcare workers,” Kristall said. “We wanted somebody to… enjoy our flowers since we wouldn’t be able to.”
Navy Veteran and Dog Find Each Other
We know dogs are man’s best friends. But sometimes they can even be lifesavers. Damian spent 14 years serving in the U.S. Navy. Including three deployments to Afghanistan. Among his duties were disarming and removing explosives.
The dangerous work caused him considerable stress and an injury. He returned to the States with PTSD, depression and a traumatic brain injury. While attending school at Columbia University, he felt things were getting worse for him.
Upon the suggestion of a friend, he acquired a rescue dog through K9s for Warriors. Shai bonded very quickly with Damian. He said they are good for each other.
“I wanted to stay in my apartment away from everyone, but now with Shai I’m engaging in the world more,” Damian said. “Shai has given me a quality of life that I had lost.” Damian is now a dog trainer for K9s for Warriors.
During these troubling times, we can all use more good news. All we have to do is look for it.