This year had a lot of bad news, a lot of confusing news, and a lot of news that just didn’t need to be told. But, especially on Christmas, it’s important to remember that the world is not made up of these bad stories. There are a lot of good people out there still doing things that are fantastic and noteworthy. In remembrance of those good people of 2017 whose selfless, heroic, and charitable stories made their way to our newspapers, here are nine of the top heartwarming news stories of 2017.
The Chainsaw Nun
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sister Margaret Ann, the principal of a catholic high school, set out to clear the streets of the neighborhoods surrounding her school. Armed with a chainsaw, she began to cut through the trees that were blocking the street – in full habit. Her message of giving back moved beyond the walls of her high school this day and inspired us all.
A Picture to Rebuild Hope
Hurricane Harvey produced one of the most devastating storms since Hurricane Katrina, but it also produced many stories of bravery and people helping people. In the aftermath of the storm, a Houston mom decided to let her kids be kids and enjoy a run around the neighborhood after being cooped up for days. Then she took out her camera and captured an image that inspired her so much she knew she had to share it. The result was a piece of art that became a source of inspiration for all.
A Nature for Giving
Like many little girls, Sidney Fahrenbruch has a love of police officers; however, her love moves past a childhood appreciation for their job. She wants to help them however she can — from giving water to a police officer directing traffic to dropping off treats once a week. This year, she learned of a local police officer who was in need of assistance to pay for a surgery in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Without thinking, this little girl donated the entire contents of her piggy bank.
Providing Food – Illegally
In Lansing, Michigan, a woman erected a free-standing food bank in her front yard to help feed her community despite being told it was illegal by local officials. While the officials debate over whether or not to let her keep the structure, she has continued to stock the pantry, and other members of the community have joined in by dropping off food and other items.
Color Me a Rainbow
Seven-year-old Ella spent some time at a local hospital this year, suffering from a severe allergic reaction to gluten. While there, she passed the time and kept her spirits up by drawing and coloring. She couldn’t help but notice that there were not enough supplies for all and inquired. The hospital wasn’t able to maintain the supplies they needed due to cross-contamination concerns. Since leaving the hospital, Ella has rallied her neighbors and the nation to donate crayons and art supplies to the hospitals in a project she calls Color Me a Rainbow. So far her project has donated 13,132 boxes of crayons and 254 coloring books to hospitals across the country.
His Last 20
Earlier this year in New Jersey, a woman ran out of gas on an exit ramp coming off of the highway. Who came to the rescue? A homeless man who used his last $20 to buy the woman a tank of gas. So touched by his generosity, the woman began a GoFundMe site for him, and he was able to buy a home of his own.
Working hard and studying hard paid off this year for a sixteen-year-old in Louisiana. The video of his acceptance to Harvard was so powerful it has gone viral. There is nothing like a pack of people cheering you on when your hard work pays off!
Doing the Right Thing
On a routine shoplifting call at a local store, a police officer made the choice to do the right thing. Instead of taking the shoplifter to jail, he payed for the diapers that she was stealing for her baby.
Teens Give Back
A group of teenagers from Detroit responded to the Flint water crisis by donating and bringing senior citizens in the town 300 cases of water. The teens call themselves the Dream Kings and plan to make their donation a yearly event.
Merry Christmas, everyone!