Story Shared Courtesy AP: BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — When a young Birmingham college student's car broke down the night before he was supposed to start a new job, he didn't panic. At least not for long.
Tired of bad news, crazy weather, strange reports, and more? Yup, we hear ya'. Below are a few good news stories that we hope make you smile and make your day. Share with others and let us know if you hear a good news story we can add!
Story shared via Beacon News: Jonathan Alstott had a unique start in life, as his mother underwent chemotherapy while pregnant with him, but the four-year Kaneland varsity football player has gained plenty of traction, on the field and off. I’ve met Jonathan Alstott a couple of times: First in the fall of 2000 when he was a newborn, cradled in the arms of his mother Marisue; then again when he was a rambunctious 5-year-old who didn’t seem to stop moving at a top rate of speed.
I could only catch up with the teenager again this week via cell phones because he’s in Florida on vacation. But I did read all about him in Tuesday’s Sports section of the Beacon-News: a four-year varsity football player for Kaneland High School who is being recruited by colleges because, well, he obviously never stopped moving at a top rate of speed. Which is all pretty amazing to me when I go back and read the two stories I wrote so very long ago about this talented kid’s unique start in life.
It was 18 years ago that Jonathan Alstott came into this world being touted by family and medical staff as a “miracle.” According to witnesses, there was not a dry eye in the delivery room because the 33-year-old Aurora mother giving life to him was also battling for her own survival against an aggressive form of breast cancer. When doctors had learned she was pregnant, their overwhelming recommendation had been to end the pregnancy because chemotherapy would not only harm the child but reduce her own chances of beating the disease.
But Marisue and her then-husband, Jim, had tried so desperately to have a baby that abortion was not an option. And the only doctors at that time who would treat her with chemotherapy were at Kellogg Cancer Care Center at Evanston Hospital, who put their faith in an older form of chemo that had been proven to be less risky for fetuses. That’s also how little Jonathan became known as “Chemo Baby” by the medical staff who worked hard to keep him alive for five months while his mother underwent chemo therapy for two- week intervals until she reached the 32-week gestation mark,
A premature Jonathan arrived 18 years ago weighing five pounds … and with much more hair than his mom, who had lost all hers to harsh rounds of chemo. Throughout more tough periods of treatment, that also included radiation and reconstructive surgery, this determined mom never wavered in her decision or in her faith that all would turn out OK.
And although she and Jonathan’s father divorced when he was young, both parents remarried, giving him two younger half-siblings and three older step-siblings that all together, he told me in a phone interview from Disney World, make up “an amazing family” because they work so well together and all are close. “We have all been blessed,” insisted Marisue Nagy, a social worker with West Aurora School District, who describes herself as in excellent health, despite doctor warnings her type of cancer meant the chances of it returning were significant.
Marisue says she still goes back for yearly checkups to her same Evanston oncologists, but so there’s been no recurrence of the disease that had not only threatened her own life but that of her unborn son. In addition to being an excellent two-sport athlete, “he’s just a darn nice kid,” said his grandmother Jeannie Prombo, who as Jonathan’s “No. 1 fan,” never misses a Kaneland football or baseball game.
“I look at them both as miracles,” she said of her daughter and grandson. As for Jonathan, who gradually became aware of his unique birth while moving through childhood, he now fully appreciates the sacrifices his mother made long before he was born. “I was blessed with life and if I don’t make the most of it, it would be a waste,” he said. “That’s why I’m so determined to be the best person I can be.”
Story Shared Via Fox News: A Virginia woman who donated her kidney to a stranger is being called a “guardian angel” by the family of the man whose life she likely saved. “If it wasn’t for [Crysti Shirley] I would be attending a funeral. She is a beautiful person,” Maysa Munsey Slominski, the recipient's cousin, told Fox News on Wednesday.
Until recently, Jim Abed was in desperate need of a new kidney. The Fairfax, Va., man had been on the transplant list roughly two years, receiving dialysis multiple times a week while he waited. In short, Abed’s time was running out.
So, initially against her family’s wishes, Slominski took to Facebook in February with the hope she could find a donor for her cousin. At first, her call for help went unanswered. But the following month, Slominski’s former co-worker, Crysti Shirley, saw her post for the first time. While she knew Slominski from her previous job, she and Abed were complete strangers.
In mid-March, Shirley was scrolling through her Facebook feed when a post suddenly caught her eye. "When I say caught my eye, I mean gave me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach. It was the story of someone’s loved one who needed an O kidney,” she wrote on Facebook. “I knew in my heart that I was meant to give him my kidney,” Shirley told Fox News. “I can’t explain it.” Shirley then contacted Slominski, who helped her begin the process to find out if she would be a match for Abed, a father of two. After a “whirlwind few months of blood work, evaluations and extensive testing,” Shirley was informed she was Abed’s perfect match.
“She felt like there was true calling, that her faith was telling her to do this,” Slominski said, who added that Abed’s doctors suspected his closest match would be a family member, such as a sibling or parent — not a stranger. On July 26, the two underwent the surgery, which took place at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
“It went beautifully,” Shirley said, adding that she had an “overwhelming sense of peace” and was not nervous the morning of the procedure. Shirley was released from the hospital two days after the surgery, but stayed in a nearby hotel with her husband until Abed was released as well. Both are now at home recovering. “[Abed] was very taken aback by the goodness of a complete stranger,” said Slominski of her cousin’s reaction.
While Abed’s family sees Shirley’s action as a blessing, the opposite is true for her. “I am the one who received the blessing,” she said. "My hope is that he can go out and live a full, beautiful life.” “God called me to do this; there is no thanks that’s needed,” she added.
Story Shared Via Fox News: A supermarket employee in Louisiana who went viral for letting a young customer with autism help him stock the store shelves has now been gifted $100,000 for college tuition. When Jordan Taylor, who works at Rouses Market in
In a video taken by Jack Ryan's dad and shared on Facebook by his sister, Delaney Edwards Alwosaibi, Jack Ryan and Taylor can be seen working together to put milk and juice on the shelves. “Talk about a stand-up young man!!!!” Alwosaibi wrote about
Alwosaibi and everyone who saw the video were so impressed by what
“He could have ignored him. He could have made an excuse and said he couldn’t allow him to help. Instead, he let him have his moment and in turn gave my family a moment we will never forget,” Alwosaibi wrote. “It might seem like nothing to others, but as you can hear my dad say in the video, [‘I’m watching a miracle in action’].”
GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne told Fox News the fundraiser for
Story Shared Courtesy AP: BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — When a young Birmingham college student's car broke down the night before he was supposed to start a new job, he didn't panic. At least not for long.
A Carver High School graduate and U.S. Marine hopeful, Carr walked throughout the early morning hours Friday because he needed, and wanted, the job with Bellhops moving company. He made it to Hoover by 2 a.m. and then to Pelham at 4 a.m.
It was in Pelham that the trek took a surprising turn. Kindness and concern from four Pelham police officers coupled with publicly-posted words of amazement and admiration from the moving company's clients about Carr's work ethic and dedication, led to a massive pat on the back from Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin.
Marklin drove in from Tennessee under the guise of meeting Carr for coffee to personally thank him. That meeting ended with Marklin surprising Carr by giving Carr his own barely-driven 2014 Ford Escape. "I am honestly blown away by him," Marklin said of Carr. "Everything he did that day is exactly who we are — heart and grit. So far, he's batting 1,000." An emotional Carr had just one word when Marklin handed him the keys. "Seriously?"
All the accolades over the weekend started with a post from Jenny Lamey on Facebook. She wrote that she and her husband, Chris, got up about 5:45 a.m. to get everything staged and ready for the movers. About 6:30 a.m. their doorbell rang and the Lameys found Pelham police officers at their door. "He proceeded to tell us that he had picked up 'this nice kid' in Pelham early this morning. The nice kid, Walter, said that he was supposed to help us with our move today. It was his first day on the job with this moving company (Bellhops) and he was 'training' today," Jenny Lamey wrote.
The officer then told the Lameys about Carr's perseverance in getting to work. "He WALKED ALL NIGHT to get from Homewood to Pelham. Because he needed to get to work. For those reading this that are not local, that's over 20 miles. You could tell how the officer told us this story that he had complete admiration for Walter and by my reaction he could tell I did too," she wrote. "The police officer said they picked him up earlier that morning, took him to get some breakfast and once they checked his story out, brought Walter to our house."
Jenny Lamey said Carr was welcome to stay until the rest of the Bellhops crew arrived, and even offered him the chance to go upstairs and take a nap until then. He declined and said he could go ahead and get started. So, he began alongside the Lameys until the crews got there.
"We chatted while we were working together early yesterday morning. He loved my kitchen and said that it was exactly the kind of kitchen he would want. He was from New Orleans. He and his mother lost their home in Hurricane Katrina and they came and made their home in Birmingham," she wrote. "I asked him if he was tired from all that walking, and he said replied that he wasn't and that he had a 4-hour nap before he left at midnight. He said he made it (to) Hoover around 2 a.m. and then to Pelham around 4am, that's about when the officer picked him up and took him to get breakfast. He wore black Nike joggers which he commented that he intentionally wore because he knew he had to walk thru (sic) some pretty high grass on his middle-of-the-night trek," she wrote. "He looked at me in the eye and smiled and I felt like I had known him much longer."
Jenny Lamey also praised the rest of the moving crew, but it was clear Carr left an impression on her. She has set up a GoFundMe account to help him out. "I just can't tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey. He is humble and kind and cheerful and he had big dreams! He is hardworking and tough. I can't imagine how many times on that lonely walk down 280 in the middle of the night did he want to turn back," she wrote. "How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea. How many times did he want to find a place to sit or lie down and wait til morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home. But he walked until he got here! I am in total awe of this young man!"
She said she made Carr tell his co-workers of his ordeal. "Walter said, 'I walked.' That was it. Humble. I asked him to share a little more and when he did, the crew was in awe of him too," she wrote. "I don't know that Walter would have shared if I hadn't asked him to." She ended her post with this: "So yes, yesterday we moved. Yesterday was crazy. Yesterday was long and hard and hot. But...Walter." Pelham police officer Mark Knighten was the first to encounter Walter that morning. Because it was 3 a.m., and he was walking on the side of the roadway, Knighten stopped to ask Carr if everything was OK. Carr explained to him that he was walking to work, and why, and Knighten took action. "He was very polite. It was 'yes sir' and 'no sir,'" Knighten said.
Knighten, along with officers Klint Rhodes and Carl Perkinson then took Carr to Whataburger, where they not only bought him breakfast but told him to get lunch to go as well. Because it was still so early, Knighten said they took Carr to a church because that was the safest place to leave him until it was time for him to be at work. Officer Scott Duffey was just coming on the clock and his fellow officers told them about their morning. Duffey then went in search of Carr who had already left the church to walk to his job assignment, which was almost in Chelsea. Duffey picked him and drove him to the Lamey's house, where he knocked on the door and explained the situation.
Carr plans to graduate from Lawson State in December with an associate's degree in health sciences. He wants to join the U.S. Marines and then come back to Birmingham to get his bachelor's degree in physical therapy. Carr said he is so thankful for all who stepped in. "This was the first job in a long time to give me an opportunity to get hired," he said. "I wanted to show them I got the dedication. I said I'm going to get to this job one way or another." "I want people to know this — no matter what the challenge is, you can break through the challenge. Nothing is impossible unless you make it impossible," he said. "You can do anything you set your mind to. I've got God by my side. I'm really emotional right now trying to hold back the tears."
Carr said his mother and father raised him to help others, and he plans to use his new car to do just that. "To my parents, thank you for being there for me, for the hard work and dedication they put in to keep me on the right path," he said. "And I want to thank God because without Him I wouldn't be here." "God blessed me to be a blessing," he said. "Whatever challenges God puts in front of me I know its for a reason."
Jenny Lamey also was emotional. She hugged Carr tightly and told him this: "You've changed all of our lives Walter. You have no idea how many lives you've changed and inspired. You're a very special young man and you're going to do great things. You already are."
A 9-year-old Georgia boy named Jalen Manns was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May and underwent brain surgery on Friday. Before the tough procedure, he received a special visit from local police officers who prayed with him and brought him gifts. Several officers from the Warner Robins Police Department showed up at Jalen's door before he left for the hospital. One officer, along with his K9, knelt down next to the boy and prayed with him. Video of the touching moment has gone viral. The officer gets choked up as he begins the prayer. "Lord heavenly father, we just come to you now, Lord God, asking for your words of encouragement and strength today," the officer says, with one hand on Jalen's shoulder and one on his K9. Jalen loves German shepherds and has a huge collection of stuffed German shepherds he calls "Jalen's guard dogs," his mom, Hannah Manns tells CBS News.
Manns says most of the stuffed animals were donated by people who saw Jalen's story on Facebook. She started a page about Jalen so she could share his story and ask for ideas on how to help the 9-year-old cope. Manns also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her son's surgery, and it has reached nearly half of its $8,000 goal. "We created the Team Jalen Facebook page... just to see what I could do as a mom to comfort him, because Jalen has really bad anxiety," Manns says. She says the tumor has been causing psychological and sensory issues for Jalen over time, including anxiousness.
After she posted on the Facebook page that German shepherds were Jalen's favorite animal, many people reached out and sent the boy some stuffed animals. The Warner Robins Police Department also saw the post and wanted to do something special. The police department coordinated with Manns and showed up at the family's home early on Friday morning, just before Jalen left for the hospital.
"Five or six officers came this morning and got there at 6 a.m. They knocked on the door and said we're looking for Jalen," Manns said. "He shook their hand and they gave him some gifts. ... They took him outside and he explained to them he wanted to meet all their dogs." The officers couldn't bring all of the K9s out at once, so they took turns, Manns says.
One by one, Jalen met each dog, learned their name and the officers taught him about them. The officers then escorted Jalen and his mom to Navicent Health in Macon for his biopsy.
"They walked him around the hospital to get him settled," Manns said. Jalen was worried before the surgery and suffered from anxiety. "He didn't want [the officers] to leave... I told him they have to protect our city and our homes and where we live," Manns said. Eventually, the officers had to go, but they promised Jalen they'd be back.
"They all wanted to follow up with him," Manns said. The officers gave Jalen a sense of calm during a scary time in his life, and they may be able to do that again once he has recovered from his surgery. "They said they want to redo everything again after the procedure is over," Manns said.
Jalen's surgery began around noon on Friday and was scheduled last about six to eight hours. From there, he will go straight to the pediatric intensive care unit, his mom says. The prayer before Jalen's surgery left Manns speechless, she said, and gave them the support they needed.
What a blessing! these officers arranged for a young man to be reunited with family. The South Carolina police department sent a detective to the airport to pick up the young man. Watch his family's surprise reaction! We pray for all those in the military to be reunited with family and to always know you are loved and we are praying for you.
Story shared courtesy CBS News: Clara Daly was on a flight with her mom when they heard a call from a flight attendant asking if anyone knew sign language. Clara, who had been studying sign language, decided to help, and her random act of kindess has now touched thousands of people.
This helpful teen, Louie Jordan, saw a senior in a wheelchair on an especially hot day and decided to cover her with his umbrella. Watch this touching video here. We pray God blesses this young man for his generous and kind act to help others.
Having a bad day? Not after you see these clips. Sometimes it's the simple things that can brighten up a person's day. While you might see the rain, someone might see your umbrella as the shelter. Whether it's helping a person or a pet, let your light shine to help others and be a blessing to them so we can honor Father God and Jesus!
Shared courtesy of NewsOne: The family of Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest veteran, got emotional after learning on Thursday that the ex-soldier’s bank restored money stolen from his compromised account. “Man, I teared up. I couldn’t believe it. They made it happen. The executive of the company said he’d take care of this, and he took care of it,” the World War II veteran’s third cousin Volma Overton told The Dallas Morning News, adding that the family was shocked when a Bank of America executive called to give them the good news.
A week earlier, the family of the Austin, Texas man, who was born in 1906, discovered that a large sum of money was drained from his account, USA Today reported. It appears that a thief accessed Richard Overton’s Social Security number and checking account number. The money was used to purchase savings bonds with Treasury Direct. There were several deductions from the account over the past year, according to Volma Overton, who noticed the debits on June 27. Bank of America, the Austin Police Department and federal authorities are continuing their investigations. “Everyone wants to get to the bottom of this. I don’t think it’s going to be long before we know,” Volma Overton told the Dallas Morning News.
Money in Richard Overton’s GoFundMe account, which exceeded $444,000 on Sunday, was untouched in the theft. The family launched the fund-raising campaign in December 2016 to help pay for the 24-hour, in-home care that he needs.
Overton turned 112 on May 11. He served as a marksman in a racially segregated unit while stationed at Pearl Harbor and Okinawa, Japan. The former soldier continues his lifestyle, which includes smoking 12 cigars a day and drinking whiskey.
On Sunday, Gene Work received the final four palettes of sod that he would need to place in his yard before he received a hefty fine from a homeowner association. As is typical for a July day in Florida, it was extremely hot and humid. When Gene started to feel sick, he went inside, probably in the hope of cooling down. He then collapsed on the couch. His wife, Melissa, immediately called 911. Gene was experiencing a massive heart attack, yet while he was in and out of consciousness, he was worried about the grass he needed to replace, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Sod releases nitrogen, which heats up the roll it often is delivered in, causing it to die as soon as 12 hours after it’s harvested. While it can live longer in colder temperatures, Gene, who pawned his favorite gun to buy the sod, knew that the exposure of the July heat would quickly kill the grass. The family would not be able to afford new sod in time to make the homeowner association deadline; to add to the stress, Melissa would be undergoing an expensive procedure next month for a bone marrow transplant.
Melissa wrote on Facebook: “While he was having his heart attack, literally in and out of consciousness, he kept begging me to figure out the sod and have it put down because he didn’t want it to go to waste and die. I calmed him and kept saying ‘Jesus will help us. It’s OK. Jesus will figure this out, babe.’” As Pasco County Fire Rescue transported Gene and Melissa to the hospital, Gene’s brother, Mark Rouco, stayed behind to replant the sod. Rouco was working when he saw two emergency vehicles return to his house. Initially, he thought they were checking on him, but then the seven firefighters informed him they were there to help with the yard.
The team of eight men replanted the turf in just an hour. Melissa wrote: “They saved his life, dropped him off and then cared enough to save our GRASS!! They didn’t know our HOA was going to fine us. They didn’t know that this guy’s wife (Me) is about to fight for my own life during my bone marrow transplant next month. They didn’t know that my husband pawned his favorite gun to pay for the sod that he thought was going to die. They didn’t know all we have been through as a little family. They simply saw someone in need, something in need and did this for us. This wasn’t in their job description.”
Gene, who had significant blockage in his carotid artery and had to have stents placed, is now recovering at home. His wife should also be thanked; if she had waited much longer to call an ambulance, her husband might not have made it, according to doctors.
Gene and Melissa Work are hoping that they can find the firefighters who did this for their family so they can thank them in person for their kindness.