Today’s Good News

In Blog, Home Page, Outreach by Josh

Every day we share stories of hope – joy – Love! Enjoy some GOOD NEWS each day with LifeSongs. And if you know of some good news, share it here!  Thank you for sharing hope each day with listener-supported, uplifting LifeSongs!

Friday, June 11, 2021

When California couple Krystal Duhaney and her husband Patrick had their first baby, they struggled to make ends meet. Now Krystal owns a successful business and they wanted to help out other struggling new parents.  Krystal & Patrick decided to spread some kindness by leaving $1,000 worth of cash inside baby products at various Target stores in Southern California. They slipped dollar bills into diaper boxes and under unopened formula lids at the Target stores.

Krystal posted about her Target adventure on Instagram at the end of April and in the weeks that followed, Krystal’s post went viral and has since earned nearly 96,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people commending the couple for their generous actions.

Though the couple was praised on social media, Krystal said she just hopes their gesture will inspire their children, and people raising kids all over the world, to be kind to others.

“As parents raising two young children, it’s really important for us to let our children know… kindness matters and that you never know what somebody’s going through.”

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Charter boat captains Mark Pisano and Paul Strasser have a whopper of a story to tell! Thirty-five years ago, Mark & Paul were piloting a charter back from Catalina Island off the California coast, when they came across a capsized boat and an orange life vest bobbing in the waves. Mark jumped in and pulled out 9-year-old Desiree Rodriguez — the only survivor. Her mother, father, sister, aunt, and uncle all perished in the incident. Desiree had been in the water for 20 hours when they found her.

Thirty-five years passed. Mark & Paul always wondered what happened to Desiree. Then a podcaster invited both men on his show, along with a surprise guest. On the show, Mark & Paul were reintroduced to Desiree Rodriguez and they could not hide their joy.

Now Captains Mark and Paul keep in touch with Desiree, who said the podcast recording really gave her a sense of closure about the tragedy in her past. Desiree and her aunt, who raised her after the incident, were invited to join Mark & Paul on their boat. It was the first time Desiree had been back on the ocean since she was rescued at age 9.

The journey was their first memorial — a commemoration of the family she lost — but also a celebration of guardian angels she gained.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Zohaib Begg is one incredible 8 year-old. He fought and beat cancer at age 4. When the pandemic hit last year, the then 7 year-old self-proclaimed “Chief Kindness Officer” collected more than 6,000 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment for the doctors who helped heal him as a preschooler. Now Zohaib has turned his big heart to helping the homeless in his hometown of Washington DC.

Zohaib gave himself a lofty goal of helping 1,000 homeless people on Global Youth Service Day. He got some help from Sharon Wise, who was once homeless and now advocates for the homeless in the D.C. metro. The pair passed out food, toiletry kits and other supplies to people in need at an underpass off New Jersey Avenue in the shadow of our nation’s Capital.

Each supply pack was filled with donations from local companies that 8 year-old Zohaib personally reached out to, including socks from Bombas, food from Chickfila and groceries from Trader Joe’s.

Zohaib says, “I believe in spreading kindness, and all my donors and partners for this event share this vision and also believe that no one is too young to make a difference.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Meredith Crane watched with frustration as her children (born deaf) struggled to find jobs. With that in mind, she started a company called Keepsake. She produces T-shirt quilts and blankets out of Columbus, OH. Over the last twenty years, Meredith has employed around 125 deaf and hard-of-hearing people at her company.

Keepsake takes old t-shirts and turns them into quilts for their clients. It’s pure comfort – and for many of the deaf employees at Keepsake, each blanket is a vote of confidence in their abilities and achievements.

Monday, June 7, 2021

It was March 29, 2011. Michael Shannon was off for a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway near Dana Point, about an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles. But this joyride wasn’t going to end well. A tractor-trailer crashed into Michael’s SUV.

Michael was alive – but trapped – and he could feel a fire starting to move towards him. He had no way of calling for help. Michael probably shouldn’t have survived. But that’s when the heroes showed up.

A team of two county firefighters and two paramedics were on their way back from another call. Two minutes after the crash they were on the scene of the accident and helping free Michael from the wreck. The paramedics broke out the Jaws of Life and extracted him from the vehicle while other firefighters worked to put out the fire. Michael was air-lifted to a hospital, where he spent the next 45 days undergoing treatment. The crash cost him two toes, which had to be amputated, but he otherwise — miraculously — survived and recovered.

And in a strange way, he had himself to thank.

Orange County paramedic Chris Trokey was one of the heroes of the day, helping rescue Michael from the fiery crash. And while Chris didn’t know it until he arrived at the hospital, it turned out that they had met before – 25 years earlier.

Chris Trokey was just 3.2 pounds at birth, and doctors had initially given him a 50/50 chance at surviving, but the attending pediatrician monitored his health around the clock and made sure he was stable. That pediatrician? Dr. Michael Shannon.

Trokey’s family long credited Dr. Shannon for saving the future paramedic’s life, and as coincidence would have it, the once-premature baby was able to repay the favor. They’ve made a habit of keeping in touch since. The pair get together for dinner every year on the anniversary of the car accident. And Chris recently became a father. Can you guess who his son’s pediatrician is?  Dr. Shannon.


Today's Good News - Heroes & Helpers

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Friday, June 4, 2021

The owner of a car dealership in Opelousas, LA says it isn’t unusual for his staff to find homeless folks sleeping on his lot every morning. Some find a way into the cars – others on boats or simply under awnings to get out of the weather. They try to help out whenever they can. Al and his team found Jamie outside one morning and the friendly homeless guy hit it off with the car sales team.

They took Jamie to a local hotel, fed him a hot meal, shopped at Walmart for some of his needs and while the men took care of him, Jamie shared his story. He had recently become homeless when his grandparents had passed away. Sean, one of the guys from the car dealership, shared the entire day on TikTok and before they knew it – donations and care packages came pouring in!

They set up a GoFundMe page to manage the gifts, which have surpassed $23,000 to keep Jamie off the streets and help him get his life straight. This group of men are determined to hold Jamie accountable and walk this journey with him.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

A girl named Monyay from Bradenton, FL had just about given up hope of ever having parents. She grew up in foster care and had resigned herself to doing life on her own. But at age 19, everything changed.

Monyay met Leah through the Safe Children Coalition – a non-profit in Florida that helps with the foster care system. Leah was assigned Monyay’s case and they hit it off. She became a mentor to Monyay while she was in high school. But the 32 year old Leah really loved Monyay like a daughter – and decided to make it official if Monyay would have her.

Monyay (left) and Leah (right) celebrate becoming daughter and mother.

On April 27th the pair, 32 year old Leah and 19 year old Monyay, sat before a judge and he proclaimed them officially mother and daughter.

“I still can’t really describe the way I felt in that moment. It was beyond words,” Monyay said. “That’s the one thing I’ve wanted my entire life, to have a mom.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Ashley Fox was shopping with her 3 year old son Norris in tow. Norris is non-verbal and was recently diagnosed with autism. At the checkout, a stuffed animal puppy they had picked up turned out to be too expensive, so Ashley put it back.

Cue meltdown.

Ashley said it must have looked like she was kidnapping her own child as she rushed the toddler to the car as he screamed and cried over the stuffed animal. As Ashley was trying to buckle Norris into his car seat, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

A woman from the store held out the stuffed animal and offered it to Ashley to give to Norris. He immediately calmed down and before Ashley could even fully process the gift, the lady walked away with a knowing smile.

Thousands have now heard the story because Ashley shared the encounter on social media. A random act of kindness changed the world for that mom and her son. Miracles can happen – even in a Walmart parking lot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A lot of retirees head for Florida. The state has invested in a lot of senior care facilities, medical care and of course they are famous for tax breaks. A dozen former circus performers recently made the move to the sunshine state and they are loving it.

Oh, by the way, the retirees are elephants. The former Ringling Bros circus performers are making a new life at a wildlife refuge outside of Jacksonville, FL.

The White Oak Conservation staff was concerned the circus elephants might have a hard time adjusting to a wilder lifestyle after a career spent with acrobats and applause, but so far the dozen elephants, ranging from 8 to 38 years old, have all enjoyed exploring the North Florida woods – living their best lives for the rest of their lives.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Earlier this year in Toledo, OH, Jimmy Preston was driving to work and saw a young man trudging through a snowstorm on foot, headed to work at his job at a Kroger supermarket. Jimmy stopped and offered John Brandeberry a ride, taking him to work and learning his story.

After dropping his new friend off at work, Jimmy connected with a non-profit called Blessings in Disguise and started a journey of helping the young man. They paid for John to take driver’s ed and get his license. Then Jimmy and a local Toyota dealership raised funds to buy the young man a used car!

So now John drives to work in his 2013 Toyota Rav4 that was given to him – complete with a new bike and bike rack plus 6 months of car insurance!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Najee Harris was drafted in the first round (24th overall) this Spring by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In college, the Running Back played for Alabama – but before that, he was just a kid from California whose family received a helping hand.

In 2010, Najee’s family (two parents with four kids) lived in a small room at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program Homeless Shelter. Instead of sweeping a sad and scary part of his life under the rug, Najee is using his newfound fame to educate others about homelessness.

When Najee Harris got the call that he would be a Pittsburgh Steeler – he was celebrating with his family at the very homeless shelter he spent time in as a child. The now-NFL star threw a pizza party for the shelter workers and families that are currently living there.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Joshua Nelson got a scholarship worth nearly $50,000 – which will cover tuition and boarding for four full years. That’s some serious good news. But Joshua had been preparing for college for a while – saving up his money in case he didn’t get a scholarship. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about school costs – he is using his college savings to bless another student in need.

As the president of his High School’s Multicultural Achievement Council, Joshua is putting up $1000 and asking other individuals and local businesses to match his investment to create a scholarship for a deserving minority student. And he hopes that the newly created Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship will take off for years to come.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Students from Valley Christian School spent two days packing 10,000 meals for families in need – and not just for their community. About 1500 of the meals were sent to churches and food banks near the school. The rest were shipped to Haiti to be distributed in schools and orphanages.

Haiti is in a constant state of emergency and need. From natural disasters to failed governments – it is a dangerous place. But a handful of students using their free time are going to share meals and the gospel with the people of the island nation.

Every student at Valley Christian – no matter their age or grade – took part in this food project. Some decorated the shipping boxes, others wrote messages of hope, while older high school students prepared the food and loaded boxes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Ronnie Kass has been driving a school bus for St. Tammany Parish since August 2020. The kids love him and say he is sweet and loves to laugh and joke. But one Monday morning earlier this year, no one was laughing.

Ronnie has been undergoing chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer. On a recent Monday, his body just gave out. He started shaking – he was having a seizure. Ronnie still – somehow – managed to pull the bus over and put it in park before passing out – keeping all of his students safe. The kids noticed the danger and called 9-1-1 immediately.

Doctors discovered the cancer has spread to Ronnie’s brain. But the community is rallying around the Kass family – starting a GoFundMe to provide for their needs while Ronnie gets treatment.

The fundraiser hit $7000 in less than six hours. Now it is up over $35,000 with a goal of $50,000 to help the family.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Singer Tabitha Haly has some serious pipes, and her strong singing voice is precious to her in more ways than one. Tabi has spinal muscular atrophy, also known as SMA, which is a degenerative condition that affects muscle movement and respiration. She has never been able to walk, but her father introduced her to music when she was three years old, setting off a lifelong healthy singing practice.

Some physical tasks have become difficult for her over the years, but being able to maintain strong lungs and vocal cords has kept her voice ringing loud and clear. Tabi released her first album, “I Wrote Life,” in 2019.

At her live shows, she advocates for disability rights. Her first single, “I Am Able,” is Tabi’s personal reminder that if, “I can help someone. I can be someone. I can be generous to someone. And most importantly, I can be loved like anyone else.”

Friday, May 21, 2021

You never know when your love story will begin. Some couples meet online – or at church – or a cursed Prince kidnaps a girl who grows fond of his talking teacups and singing candlesticks and then one day there’s just something there that wasn’t there before…

For Evan and Sydney, a chance encounter and mountain rescue led to their one-year anniversary all during a pandemic.

Evan is in the Air Force – stationed in Colorado Springs. But he was visiting his mom and step-father in Sedona, AZ to help around the house as his step-father was battling cancer. An avid mountain-biker, Evan set out to get some exercise and came across a damsel in distress.

Sydney is a massage therapist, going to school to be a social worker. She was enjoying a run along a hiking trail in Sedona – but took a tumble and broke her leg. She was waiting on a friend to come help her when Evan found her. Even carried Sydney the last half-mile of the trail to get her help.

In all the excitement the pair failed to exchange numbers. Months of recovery passed – and Sydney couldn’t find Evan on social media. She and her mother reached out to their local newspaper to get help searching for her Knight in Shining Biking Shorts. Eventually news made its way to Colorado and found Evan.

Sydney and Even just celebrated their one-year anniversary of their fateful meet-cute and are madly in love.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

If you knew your time was limited, how would you spend your remaining days and dollars? A man in Tennessee decided he would use his remaining time and resources to be a blessing.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, went to Gatlinburg, TN to enjoy the serenity of the mountains, while preparing for his step into eternity. He and his daughter enjoyed lunch and dinner at the always-busy Burg Steakhouse. After dinner, the man left a hefty tip – and then some.

Wanting to bless the staff of the steakhouse, the terminally ill customer left a $1000 tip for the waitstaff. Then he went on to pay for two other tables’ meals anonymously.

Hopefully it doesn’t take a diagnosis for us to live so generously. Thank you to everyone who supports LifeSongs – in the good times and the difficult times.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Walker Smallwood grew up playing baseball. He was good too. He dreamed of going to college and then playing professional ball. But life can be messy.

The 17-year-old Kentucky boy was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of taking the mound – he was taking chemotherapy. He had a rare bone cancer in his leg that required six surgeries and 18 lengthy hospital stays. The result was Walker went into remission! Praise God! But his leg is permanently weakened, making it too dangerous to play ball.

Walker would still play catch with his friends and cheer on his teammates. Before his senior season was over, his coaches and parents decided to let Walker take the mound one last time. They figured he could pitch for an inning without risking too much. Walker agreed to pitch until he gave up a hit.

But then a Disney sports movie happened. Walker never gave up a hit. He struck out all but two batters and ended the game with a no-hitter! The game ended and both teams were in tears, celebrating the incredible story of a young man who defeated cancer and still played the game of his life!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Leticia Flores-Gonzalez was having some Christmas fun with her 4-year-old twins Luna and Gianella. They wrote out their Christmas wish lists to Santa and tied them to a couple of balloons – releasing them into the wind from their home in Liberal, Kansas.

The winds did not blow the balloons to the North Pole. In fact – they went the opposite way. Luna’s balloon made it all the way to Grand Cane, Louisiana before getting snagged by a tree. It was there that Alvin Bamburg spotted the debris while out deer hunting. Alvin was so excited to see Luna’s Christmas wish list. She asked for Candy, Spiderman and Frozen dolls, My Little Pony – and of course, a puppy!

Alvin showed the list to his wife, Lee Ann – they shared with some other family and friends and put together the presents for the little girl, whose list they believe God blew directly to them. They were able to connect with the girls’ mother, Leticia, and get Gianella’s list as well – so many people in their community wanted to be a part of blessing these little girls.

Finally this Spring – Alvin and Lee Ann got to top off the Christmas wish list in person – making the 600 mile trip to meet the family and drop off the most important item on Luna’s list – a new dachshund puppy!

The girls’ named their pup Max – the families are now forever bonded in friendship – and many have been inspired by their story.

Monday, May 17, 2021

He’s only been painting for five months, and already, Jake Garcia’s art is a collector’s item. The Boston resident is a nursing student, but he recently discovered a love for painting.

“I just thought it would be really nice if you’re walking down the street and you see this scene you really like and you look down and there was an oil painting of it,” Garcia said.

He ran with the idea, and has left several of his original paintings in spots around Boston. “I’ll see something I like, I’ll set up, I’ll do a painting of it, and I’ll do my best to leave it somewhere in the vicinity.”

Jake hopes this inspires others to pick up their own paintbrushes. “We’ve all been inside and a beautiful thing to do is to just go outside and just enjoy the sounds and the sights and the smells and just paint what you see.”

Friday, May 14, 2021

8 year old Jaxson and his almost-2 year old sister Leila were in the backseat of the car munching on chicken nuggies. Suddenly Leila began to choke – a chicken nugget was lodged in her esophagus. Jaxson didn’t panic, though – he knew exactly what to do thanks to Nickelodeon and wrestler turned actor John Cena.

Jaxson calmly alerted their dad and asked him to pull over. Then Jaxson used the heel of his hand to strike Leila’s back – dislodging the food and allowing her to breath again. The hero 8 year old did all of this before Dad could even pull the car over and get to the backseat.

Where did the 8 year old learn this life saving maneuver?

John Cena taught it to him on the Nickelodeon show The Substitute. Local news shared the story – which eventually made its way to John Cena. The former wrestler immediately reached out to Jaxson to congratulate him on his heroic, brave action.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Asking for help can be a real hit to our self esteem. Thankfully the world has girls like Andi Musser in it.

Andi is in 5th grade. When one of her friends at Shreve Elementary mentioned needing new clothes – Andi didn’t hesitate. She went home and rummaged through her closet, grabbing everything she had outgrown. The next day her friend was thrilled to have some cute clothes from a great friend.

Andi was so overwhelmed by the good feeling of helping others, she asked her mom Jessica if they could help even more people. Andi and Jessica pitched the idea of a Kindness Closet at the school to the principal. It would be a safe, private space where students could pick up needed gently used or new donated clothes.

Principal Adam Stein was all about the idea – so Andi gathered clothing donations from a bunch of local stores and the school opened up the student organized Kindness Closet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Olympics are just 72 days away (hopefully). After a year delay – a global pandemic – and miraculous vaccine distributions, the world is ready to compete and celebrate incredible stories of incredible athletes.

One of those stories belongs to a Japanese swimmer named Rikako Ikee. Miss Ikee first competed in the Olympics back in 2016 when she was only 16 years old. In February 2019 she announced she had been diagnosed with leukemia. Rikako fought the cancer with the same tenacity she showed training for the Olympics. After chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, she returned to the pool and began to train once again.

Rikako was discouraged by how weak her body had become from the leukemia, but continued to push herself. She hoped she might be able to contend in the Paris games of 2024, but expected to sit out the Olympics being held in her home country of Japan. But at qualifiers, Rikako became fired up – wanting to represent her country at Tokyo – and won the 100-meter butterfly qualifier!

This Summer we will all get to cheer Rikako Ikee on when she competes for Japan in the 4×100 medley relay.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A couple of pageant princesses are spreading friendship in a variety of ways! 7-year-old Skylar Catron makes and hands out friendship bracelets everywhere she goes. She loves the smiles and thank yous she gets from each person.

This spunky 7-year-old earned the crown she’s wearing – Skylar is a USA National Miss South Carolina Princess. Her sister Sloan is a Junior Princess who also spreads kindness with crayons, through the Coloring Kindness program.

The sisters also collect bottle caps to be recycled into Buddy Benches – a spot on playgrounds where friends can be made. The idea is any lonely child can visit a Buddy Bench and other kids will immediately invite them to play.

Monday, May 10, 2021

He’s the mayor of FlavorTown – host of the Triple D – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – Guy Fieri is one of the most recognizable food personalities on TV – with his killer Camaro and bleached spiked hair. He felt the sting of the pandemic at his restaurants around the country – and personally, not getting to spend Christmas with his elderly parents.

He’s also watched many of his peers in the restaurant industry struggle to make ends meet – so he used his fame to help – by raising over $25 million to support the restaurant employee relief fund.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Dustin Vitale cooks his mom breakfast every morning and thanks to her for the privilege. When his mom, Gloria, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, he decided he would try to take her on one last trip — the trip she always dreamed of — to see the pyramids in Egypt. He also wanted to bring along all 14 family members.

Never mind that Dustin works as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and could never afford the $10,000 to bring everyone. Dustin decided to raise the cash by selling cheesesteak sandwiches. He told neighbors and spread the word on social media. Before long cars were double parked outside his house to buy cheesesteaks. A local food truck offered to peddle the sandwiches at another location to help.

In less than six weeks the family had brought in almost double what they needed for the family trip to Eqypt – over $18,000! The trip is booked for later this year.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jessie Hamilton worked as the house cook at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house at LSU in the 80s and 90s. She would start her days at 4am – serving her boys breakfast, lunch and dinner. She was basically the Phi Gamma Delta momma – giving rides to the grocery store and the doctor to baby-faced college boys.

Andrew, a Phi Gamma Delta brother back in the 80s, has kept in touch with Jessie over the past 30 years, and called her at the start of the pandemic just to check on her. He found out she was still working two jobs because she couldn’t afford to retire.

So Andrew and nearly 100 other fraternity brothers pulled the greatest Animal House prank of all time – they raised over $50,000 to pay off Jessie’s mortgage! On her 74th birthday the fraternity gave Jessie two checks – one to pay off her house, the other to spend however she wants.

Andrew said, “[Jessie] is the type of person that inspires me, people that don’t have a lot, but give a lot. She’s the most giving person you’ve ever met.”

Jessie Hamilton said she plans to enjoy retirement from the comfort of her paid-off home, adding, “This has been a blessing to me. I am grateful for what God has done. Andrew answered my prayers. He’s my guardian angel.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Garett Talcott teaches kindergarten at Ella Baker Elementary. During the pandemic, Mr. Talcott would go on field trips by himself – and film them for his kids. It was like each video was a virtual field trip. Of course Garett Talcott went viral for his awesome teaching – and has only expanded his virtual curriculum.

From hiking wildlife parks to doing kitchen science experiments and dance parties – this kindergarten teacher has done everything he could think of to engage his students who were stuck at home doing virtual learning.

@vividmichaelField trip with the class to the zoo! ##woodlandparkzoo ##zoo ##penguin ##zookeeper ##antarctic ##arctic ##seattle ##fieldtrip ##onlineclass ##remoteteaching♬ original sound – Mr. Talcott

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tik Tok dances are all the rage. If you are coordinated. Not a single person on staff at LifeSongs has the moves. Or if they do, they are keeping their skillz secret. Thankfully the world is full of dancers.

Back before the pandemic, David Jamison, a 5th grade teacher out of Memphis, went viral with his personalized hand shakes and fist bumps for each of his 75 fifth-grade students. Just look up the hashtag #thedopeeducator.

But Mr. Jamison says now – in the world of facemasks and social distancing – that “you don’t have to physically touch a child to actually ‘touch’ a child.” He’s crafted personalized tik tok style dance moves to greet each of his students into the classroom. And the dope educator has some moves worth being jealous of.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Katie Booser is a 3rd grade teacher in Santa Barbara. Not only does she teach her kids math & science, she teaches them to believe in themselves with affirmations each morning such as “I believe in myself”, “I am strong”, and “I am smart.” She’s made words of affirmation a key part of her teaching strategy.

For the last 10 years, Katie Booser has led third graders in daily affirmations – that’s nearly an entire generation of kids who have had love spoken into their lives! Katie says that words of affirmation are “how we change the conversation… that’s how our world becomes a better place.

Katie recalls being an anxious kid in school herself – and the teachers who taught her to believe in herself were inspirational. She says “I am” statements trick your brain into believing what you are telling it.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Arlyne Radford is a helper to many and a hero to her daughter Kelly. Kelly nominated Miss Arlyne to be a LifeSongs Helper & Hero – winning her mom some free Chickfila and a parking spot at the Drive-In Theater Tour (with Zach, Mac & Cain)! Here’s Miss Arlyne’s story of bringing smiles (and hashbrowns) to her community:

“My mom’s name is Arlyne Radford. She’ll be 81 yrs old next month. She works full time at the St Rose Waffle House. She’s been there for 10 yrs and with the company over 20 yrs. She worked through the pandemic. When COVID first started, it was usually just her & one cook & the manager. Oftentimes the cook & the manager were the same person.

She’s loyal to her customers and to Waffle House. Over the years, instead of donating items to Goodwill, we’ve given them to my mom to bring to her Waffle House family. She will report back to us on who got what and how much the kids and mothers appreciated the items.

I believe she’s doing the Lord’s work right there serving people the best she can at the Saint Rose Waffle House.”

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Recently a man walked into a Dunkin Donuts determined to do something good for his community. The year was rough – but he was blessed and free food is always a great way to bless others. He told the cashier he wanted to pay for the next $1000 worth of food any customer ordered. The cashier was stunned and asked the man to repeat that order…

He thought about it a second and said – nope, make that the next $4000 in food orders. He proceeded to buy $4000 worth of Dunkin Donut gift cards that the store handed out as folks came in all day. Over 300 people got fed – and not just donuts, but full meals!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Appalachian Trail is considered the longest hiking footpath in the world, spanning 14 states and nearly 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. It’s a tall order for anyone, but Dan Schoenthal is bound and determined to do it. Dan, 56, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015. Despite the challenges of the disease, he took to heart his doctor’s advice that staying active was just as important as any other part of his health regimen.

Dan did the first 300 miles of the journey last year, and started back up again this April. While he’s excited to work toward a yearslong dream, and keep his body moving, Dan is also raising awareness of the disease and funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving care for those with Parkinson’s and finding a cure.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Griffin Baron was 21 years old at the time – working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks in Wilmette, IL when he heard screaming coming from the bathroom. A customer had gone into early labor and everyone in the building could hear her surprise. Jonathan Celner was going to be born – fast – like as fast as you can order a grande coffee.

Griffin helped deliver the baby boy just moments before EMS arrived on the scene. Flash forward 18 years. Griffin is now married and a father of two – but he never forgot the little boy he helped deliver. Someone sent him a Go Fund Me link – and that’s how Griffin reconnected with Jonathon. The young man’s mom had passed away years ago – and he and his brother had just lost their father too.

Griffin met up with Jonathan at the very Starbucks where the former barista helped deliver Jonathan to hear about his life – and find out how he can once again help this young man in his time of need.

Monday, April 26, 2021

It’s more than 2,500 miles from Disneyland in Southern California to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Don Muchow ran them all.

Don Muchow, 59, has been long distance running for years to raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes, which he has lived with since 1972. Originally, he was just planning to run across the country, but decided the two iconic spots would make good goal posts. He started in February 2020, and had planned to finish by May. But the pandemic hit, and he had to make some starts and stops to stay safe.

Finally, on April 5 this year, he made it to Disney World where he was greeted by cheering park staff who loaded him up with balloons, souvenirs and a very well-deserved Mickey ice cream cone. He kept going after that, running two more days to reach the Atlantic Ocean and truly complete his coast-to-coast mission.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Amy Harper has nominated kindergarten teacher Jennifer Falgout as the LifeSongs Helper & Hero – winning her delicious Chick Fil A and a parking spot at the Drive-In Theater Tour on May 6th featuring GRAMMY winner Zach Williams, Mac Powell & new-comers CAIN! Here’s what Amy has to say about Jennifer:

“Jennifer Falgout is a superhero because she has been safely teaching our kindergarteners full-time, in person, since August. Her super hero power is gracefully implementing all the new COVID restrictions/guidelines with a class of 24 kindergarteners and at the same time successfully teaching them to read, do math, and spur on their love for Jesus! Thanks to her our kids have had some sense of normal during this crazy time, and they are thriving in her classroom!”

Jennifer – congratulations on becoming a LifeSongs Helper & Hero! And thanks for breathing life into those little learners this school year.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Politicians are people too. While I don’t know many people who are thrilled by their congress people, we should actively pray for them. It’s been a rough time – with the attack on the Capitol building just a few months ago. To provide some comfort and relief, Clarence – a 160-pound St. Bernard spent last week roaming the halls of Congress offering snuggles.

Clarence is the first official Police Comfort dog in the United States. Clarence and his handler have done tours of duty not only in DC, but at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and at the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath. He’s our nation’s goodest boy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A groomer and animal control officer in Omaha, Nebraska, helped save a pet owner’s life, thanks to their instincts and basic human concern. When a regular customer didn’t show to pick their dog Lola up from an appointment, the PetSmart employee sensed something was wrong. The groomer attempted to contact him, but had no luck.

PetSmart called Animal Control Officer Kisha Witherspoon, who also felt uneasy about the situation. She contacted an investigator, who went to the owner’s house and got no response. Police were finally able to enter the home, and found the man lying in distress, suffering a medical episode.

The man is now getting medical care, and Lola is freshly groomed and safe with family members. The Nebraska Humane Society thanked the people involved for their quick thinking. It’s also a great reminder that just a little extra care could save someone’s life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Recently in Atlanta, Shaq was visiting a friend who works at a Zales Jewelers. While there he overheard a customer shopping for an engagement ring. The ring he had picked out was on sale – but he didn’t have enough of the down payment to lock in the sales price.

That’s when Shaq walked up, slid his credit card across the glass and said “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.” Shaq is always looking for ways to bless others – saying he tries to do a good deed every day.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Finn Lanning is a middle school math teacher – the good kind. The kind that makes class fun and takes the time to get to know his students. One day after class his student Damien told his teacher that he would be leaving school.

Damien was in foster care and in need of a kidney transplant. Since no family could care for him and cover his medical needs, Damien was moving into a children’s hospital for care until a kidney match could be found.

Mr. Lanning couldn’t take it – he quickly got certified as a foster parent and took Damien into his home. Up until this point Finn Lanning was a happy bachelor, with no desire for a family. Flash forward a couple years and he has officially adopted Damien as his son – plus Damien also received his kidney transplant!

Most kids wouldn’t call moving in with your math teacher a fairytale ending – but for Damien and Mr. Lanning – it is a real happily ever after!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Talley Boykin has faithfully driven his school bus in Southern Louisiana all throughout the coronavirus pandemic. He has kept his kids safe – been considerate of every family – and been a light to everyone who knows him.

Talley’s wife Tammie nominated him as a Helper & Hero on LifeSongs – winning him $25 in Chick-Fil-A gift cards and a parking spot at the upcoming Drive In Theater Tour featuring Zach Williams! But more importantly, Tammie got to brag about how God uses her husband Talley.

Several of the kids on the bus call him Paw Paw Talley following the lead of their grandson who rides the bus to school each day. When he missed driving for a few days, concerned calls came flooding in wanting to see Mr. Talley return. He’s a friend and light to these kids each day.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Great teachers might retire after a long fruitful career … but they never actually stop teaching. Vernetta Price has gone from wrangling students to helping neighbors get access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ms. Vernetta lives in rural Mississippi. She’s so concerned for her elderly neighbors, she has started a carpool to get the entire community of Sardis, MS to the doctor. She has signed up over 80 people for the vaccine and helps drive anyone in need to their appointment.

Vernetta says she wants everyone to be protected so life can return to normal and she can go back to church.

The COVID battle is personal for Vernetta. Her daughter-in-law is still dealing with COVID’s long term effects after contracting the virus last summer. A dear friend and local minister just passed away from the virus. Friends have lost loved ones. So Vernetta won’t stop until she can help protect the most vulnerable in her community.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Brandon Jones’ mother in law is in her 70s and has terminal lung cancer. She lives in Vermont while Brandon and his family reside in Baltimore. Since she can no longer travel down to visit, Brandon and his wife Rina make the six hour drive to Vermont regularly.

Rina’s mother has a favorite restaurant in Baltimore called Ekiben. The Japanese restaurant features a tempura fried broccoli dish that is her absolute favorite. On the last trip up to Vermont she jokingly asked Brandon to bring her some take-out. Fried broccoli doesn’t travel well, so Brandon reached out to the chef at Ekiben – Steven Chu – and asked for the recipe so he could fix the dish for his dying mother in law.

Chef Chu did him one better. The Chef and a couple of his cooks loaded up the ingredients and drove all the way to Vermont to fix the favorite dish (along with several other dishes) from the back of a truck so they could deliver it hot and fresh to this sweet lady.

Chef Steven Chu said, “..it was a huge honor to be able to help fulfill the family’s wishes. This is about her, not us.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Canadian couple named Beverly and Dick Perrin wanted to make sure the hard working truckers felt appreciated during this difficult year so they began delivering stacks of hand-written thank-you cards to truck stops.

Each card reads:
“Thank you so much for bringing supplies to our stores. Even though it is sometimes under harsh circumstances. Take care. Stay safe. God’s blessing on you always. Love Beverly Perrin, a very grateful senior.”

Beverly and Dick recognize the essential work of truckers during the pandemic – and the unique challenges they face. Many of the services they depend on – even just clean bathrooms – have been shut down but they kept on … well, truckin. So far the trucker lovin’ Perrins have delivered over 1,000 letters of appreciation.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Last year the global COVID-19 pandemic cost hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood. But when great struggles come – great love abounds. Sometimes in the form of free hot dogs.

Perfectly Frank is a hot dog joint in Norfolk, VA. Early on in the pandemic they put up a bulletin board where anyone in need could grab a ticket for a free meal, no questions asked. Other customers would pre-pay for the extra meals to benefit those who lost their jobs or were trying to feed a neighbor.

The Franks for Friends program started when a single patron gave $2000 to the local restaurant to help the staff and community. Generosity begets generosity and others pitched in to make sure there was always a hot meal for everyone.

In fact, the Franks for Friends program was so huge the store was able to package and deliver free after-school meals for students – all free of charge. And even though the pandemic seems to be waning – Perfectly Frank hopes to continue this free food program permanently.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Sharon Allen of Houma is an amazing home-health nurse who served long hours and sleepless nights for the past year, treating every patient with kindness and grace. Nurse Sharon pushed through 2020 not just for her patients – but as a patient as well. She is battling cancer, but still working and still making a difference!! She is a warrior!

Sharon’s friend Patricia shared about this Hero on lifesongs.com – winning some Chickfila for Nurse Sharon, plus a ticket for the outdoor Drive-In Theater Tour this May featuring Zach Williams, Mac Powell and Cain!

Maybe the Helpers and Heroes in your life were also nurses. Or perhaps first responders – teachers – parents – grocery workers – the list is endless! Who has made a difference in your life? Tell us about your Helpers and Heroes for a chance to tell their story and win them great prizes!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A year ago, Tyrone John, a high school math teacher in New York City, became the first patient to be intubated with COVID-19 at his local hospital in Queens. At the time, the city was just starting to experience the country’s first coronavirus surge. Tyrone, who is just 39 years old, was the hospital’s first critically ill COVID-19 patient. After being intubated, he was in a coma for almost three weeks.

But Tyrone went from there to become the hospital’s first COVID-19 patient to recover, an “incredibly powerful” moment for the staff. Tyrone recently returned to the facility to thank the intensive care unit staff who saved him. When he walked into the hospital courtyard, he was met with cries of, “Oh my God, he looks so good!”

“You were one of our first, sickest patients,” nurse Michelle Parcels said. “And so you gave us hope by your recovery in those dark moments where we were having so many losses. You gave us hope that what we were doing made a difference.”

The vaccinated hospital staff proclaimed that “hugs are back” and immediately wrapped their arms around Tyrone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A good handyman can fix just about anything. What makes a great one? Listen to this…

Tony Antonelli, husband, father, and grandfather to 13 grandchildren, was in need of a new kidney after his first transplant failed.

Dan Reynolds, an army veteran and jack of all trades, who knows a thing or two about tough times, was in Tony’s neighborhood doing yard work and noticed Tony looked a bit pale. He asked what was going on, and Tony shared his health condition with Dan. Dan’s immediate response? “I’d be happy to give you a kidney.”

The two were a match, and, just over a month ago, underwent successful surgery. Hero? Yes. Though the two have another name for each other: Blood Brothers.

“It doesn’t take much to help another human being. You just have to have some compassion,” Dan humbly says.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

When Carver St Pierre grows up, he wants to be a police officer. He’s ready to serve and protect. But it might be a few years yet … Carver is only seven years old. Much of his childhood has now been marked by a global pandemic – and that is pretty rough.

Officer Rob Ekross of the Hopkinton Police department heard about this child’s dream to become a cop, so Officer Rob wanted to make this year special for Carver. Carver was unable to celebrate his last two birthdays with friends and family because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, however, Officer Rob Ekross was going to make it the coolest seventh birthday ever!

The local cop purchased a couple of gifts for this future police officer and delivered them to Carver in his squad car on his seventh birthday.

The whole department wished Carver a happy birthday and said they look forward to serving with him as an officer… in 2035.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Jose Villarruel left an impression when he was Steven Nava’s substitute teacher in high school. “Mr. V,” as students called him, made an effort to get to know the kids he subbed for. He’d ask them about their days and what they’d eaten for lunch, and he’d crack jokes while taking attendance. Kind gestures made his classes fun and memorable.

Steven Nava didn’t know back then that Mr. V lived in his car, something he’s done for the last eight years to save money to send to his family in Mexico. Steven, now 21, recently spotted Mr. V sleeping in his car early one morning and decided then to raise enough money to get his beloved substitute a more permanent place to stay. So far, he’s raised more than $27,000 for the 77-year-old, due in part to Mr. V’s new fans on TikTok.

Mr. V was stunned by the donation, telling CNN he accepted the gift “with an open heart.” He plans to use some of the funds to visit his wife and children, but in California, he no longer feels alone — Nava and his other former students have become like family themselves.

@stvnna7Im so thankful.. SURPRISE MR.V! HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🥳❤️😩 ily ##foryoupage ##fyp ##thankyou ##viral♬ original sound – Steven Nava

Friday, April 2, 2021

When artist Jayashree Krishnan paints yet another portrait of a brave pandemic first responder, she pays special attention to the eyes.

“Each person’s set of eyes that I have painted so far, they tell their own story,” she says.

Krishnan has painted more than 150 such portraits — some of the eyes laughing, others hopeful, others luminous despite seeing such heavy and haunting loss.

The Seattle-based artist began the project to show appreciation for two cousins who worked 13-hour shifts, seven days a week, at a Michigan hospital. Now, she takes requests and suggestions from social media.

Do you know of a Helper or Hero whose story needs to be shared? CLICK HERE and tell us all about them.

 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

A young man in 8th grade was sent to the principal’s office for refusing to take his hat off in class. Like most schools today, hats are not allowed. But his fresh cut was a lopsided mess. Principal Jason Smith actually knows his way with the clippers and offered to fix the boy’s hairline. Both the student and his parents were incredibly grateful.

After rushing home for his clippers and tightening up the boy’s cut – all was well. No punishment was needed – just a helping hand from a real hero. Principal Smith is always looking for ways to help his students (he’s even bought at least one student some new shoes). He’s not just trying to push kids through a grade, he’s trying to inspire them to learn and grow.

And it sounds like it is working.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Something delicious is growing in southeast Atlanta. It’s the nation’s largest free food forest, spanning 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants.

In 2016, the Conservation Fund bought a foreclosed plot of land and with the help of a US Forest Service grant and a partnership with the city of Atlanta, the forest began to take shape. Now it is tended by volunteers, and is part of Atlanta’s larger mission to bring healthy food within half a mile of 85% of the city’s 500,000 residents by 2022.

One in 6 Georgians face food insecurity, and 1 in 4 Atlantans live in extremely isolated food deserts, so access to fresh produce in the area is more critical than ever. While New Orleans is known for delicious food – large portions of our population also don’t have easy access to fresh fruits and veggies. Where can we build our own free food forest?

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Calvin Tyler may have one of the greatest comeback stories of all time. Almost 40 years ago, Tyler had to drop out of Morgan State College in Maryland because he couldn’t afford it. Now, he and his wife Tina just committed $20 million to the school for need-based scholarships.

You see, after Calvin Tyler dropped out, he took a job as a UPS driver in Baltimore, and over the years, worked his way up to senior vice president of operations. He retired in 1998 and joined UPS’s board of directors. The Tylers already have a scholarship fund in their name at the school, and their donations over the years have helped more than 200 deserving students get an education at Morgan State.

Maybe your story isn’t going the way you planned. God still has incredible things in store for you!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Kids offer sincere insight into genuine care and love. For example, 4th grader Lex Thompson decided to take his birthday money and use it to encourage the heroes of the pandemic.

The nurses working at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center were astounded when the LaSalle Elementary fourth grader began delivering coffee gift cards to the ICU nurses that had been battling to save lives in the COVID-19 ward.

Lex didn’t bat an eye using his birthday money and savings, saying “..they probably just needed something to tell them they were doing the right thing and that they were supported.”

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