Continuing an annual tradition, today’s edition of the Morning Headlines consists of something rare in modern media – only good news! We hope you enjoy!
A man strung Christmas lights from his home to his neighbor’s to support her. The whole community followed.
From The Washington Post:
It started last November with a single string of Christmas lights on a Baltimore County street.
Kim Morton was home watching a movie with her daughter when she received a text from her neighbor who lives directly across the road. He told her to peek outside.
Matt Riggs had hung a string of white Christmas lights, stretching from his home to hers in the Rodgers Forge neighborhood, just north of the Baltimore city line. He also left a tin of homemade cookies on her doorstep.
The lights, he told her, were meant to reinforce that they were always connected despite their pandemic isolation.
“I was reaching out to Kim to literally brighten her world,” said Riggs, 48.
He knew his neighbor was facing a dark time. Morton had shared that she was dealing with depression and anxiety. She was also grieving the loss of a loved one and struggling with work-related stress. The mounting pressure led to panic attacks.
2. Ky. Man Raises Thousands to ‘Give Back Christmas’ to Kids Impacted by Deadly Tornadoes
A Kentucky man wanted to ensure that the kids in his community had a special holiday season despite losing nearly everything in the deadly tornadoes — and he’s now on a mission to make it happen.
Shawn Triplett, a retired U.S. Marine who now works as a volunteer at a local elementary school, tells PEOPLE that he was recently helping out at a church shelter when he witnessed a devastating interaction with a mom and her young child after they had been displaced by the tornadoes.
“I saw a child, no older than 6 years old, crying in his mother’s arms. She was crying too, but you could tell she was doing her best to look strong,” he recalls. “The boy told his mom, ‘I’ve lost my Christmas.’ It was at that moment that I broke down and had to walk outside.”
“It gut-punched me and hurt,” Triplett, 38, says. “I felt actual pain at that moment. I tried to sleep that night but I couldn’t. The pain in that kid’s voice broke me in half. I had to do something about it.”
After taking the night to “think about how I could best help,” Triplett says he decided to ask friends and family to donate money so he could buy toys for the children who were impacted.
3. Teens Build Bus Stop Shelter for 5-Year-old Wheelchair User, Protecting Him From Harsh Weather
From Good News Network:
Teenagers have built a shelter for a five-year-old boy who uses a wheelchair after noticing he got wet while waiting for the school bus in winter.
Five-year-old Ryder Killam has had to battle rain, wind, and snow for about 15 minutes every day, using only a patio umbrella as protection.
But after hearing about his problem, local students in Bradford, Rhode Island, got to work and built him his own bus shelter for the bottom of his driveway during their construction lessons.
Ryder’s father Tim said, “Ryder uses it every day before school and his nurses wait inside it every day while they await his return home.
“He does like to go hang out in it from time to time as his fort as well.
4. Man rents movie theater, surprises wife with lost wedding footage
From Fox10 Phoenix:
An Oregon husband planned a special surprise for his wife on their 14th wedding anniversary: a private screening of their never-before-seen wedding video at a local movie theater.
Drew and Kayla Gottfried had never seen the footage of their special day.
“My wife Kayla and I were married in 2007. Shortly after our honeymoon we received our wedding video but the tape was blank,” Drew told Storyful.
But a friend reached out to Drew recently with good news: The video had been found.
“Initially I was completely surprised,” Drew told FOX Television Stations. “As soon as I saw his message, I knew I had to plan a surprise for Kayla and that she would be blown away.”
Drew set to work organizing a romantic surprise for his wife.
Footage shared on TikTok shows the pair settling in with snacks and drinks at the theater, with Kayla believing she was there to watch a movie.
When the previews finish and the footage begins to play, a tearful Kayla can be seen grabbing her husband in shock.
“She was completely blindsided. We seem to reminisce about the footage every anniversary and even that evening at dinner, Kayla had mentioned she was bummed we didn’t have the footage,” Drew said. “As soon as the actual picture started playing she lost it and was overcome with happiness, joy, disbelief and excitement.”
5. North Carolina teacher raises over $100K to feed students over winter break
From Fox News:
A North Carolina teacher raised more than $100,000 to ensure that children in her district would have food for the holidays.
Turquoise LeJeune Parker, local attorney T. Greg Doucette and a band of volunteers were able to procure enough food so that more than 5,000 students – or “professors” as Parker calls them – in Durham Public Schools could go home with over 12 pounds of food for the two-week break.
Mrs. Parker’s Professors Foodraiser is an annual tradition that began seven years ago after a parent asked Parker where her family could find food over the break.
Parker, who had been working at Eastway Elementary School, soon realized that if one family needed help, others probably did as well.
She immediately texted every contact on her phone for help.
“I’m trying to send each of my 22 kids home with a bag of nonperishables to help their families with them being out for Christmas break. If you know anyone wanting to donate, let me know,” Parker wrote during the 2015 holiday season.
That Christmas, everyone in her entire class went home with food. A year later, they were able to feed an entire grade and in 2017, two grades went home with food.
6. Florida man takes children without father figures on fishing excursions
From Fox News:
Eleven years ago, William “Big Will” Dunn set out on a mission to help a young child growing up without a father figure. He turned to the one thing that brought him peace as a kid: fishing.
Since then, Dunn has dedicated his life to helping foster children and those who are growing up without a father figure by taking them on fishing excursions in Clearwater, Florida, through his nonprofit Take a Kid Fishing Inc.
Dunn has worked with thousands of children as part of the fishing program, but it all started with one very important child: Cameron Delong, who was 8 years old at the time.
“I saw this young boy that was frustrated and showed anger. [I] didn’t know why until I found out his father was not in his life,” Dunn told Fox News.
Eventually, Dunn approached Delong’s mom and asked if he could take him fishing.
“I knew how special it was when my dad took me,” Dunn said. “Just being out on the water is like being out on another world. I can’t explain it.”
7. ‘We appreciate him’: Class pools money to buy teacher 1st pair of Air Jordans
From Fox 10 Phoenix:
One group of students from a northern Kentucky high school found the perfect way to express gratitude for their teacher — and the surprise was a slam dunk.
Kyle Holbrook is an AP U.S. history teacher at Conner High School, and according to his students, he works tirelessly to make his class fun, make them laugh and help them to learn.
“Seeing a teacher that honestly and genuinely cares about their students and works to relate to them and act as a friend is rare, especially with all the added stress this year with COVID,” Griffin Morris, a student in Mr. Holbrook’s class, told FOX Television Stations. “We all had come to love him as a teacher and decided to show him that we felt that way. The decision to do something was unanimous.”
According to Morris, Holbrook begins every class daily with a question, but one day Morris asked Mr. Holbrook a question: What was his favorite pair of Air Jordans?
“He started to go on and on about different styles and that’s when we realized how much he loved Jordans. He mentioned he never really could get a pair when he was younger because as everyone knows, Jordans are expensive shoes,” Morris, a junior at his high school, said.
Holbrook said he had always wanted the Space Jam 11s.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have dreamed of owning Jordans but unfortunately never had the money for them,” Holbrook told FOX Television Stations.
8. A Trio of Lifeguard Dogs Rescue 14 People Swept Out to Sea Off an Italian Beach
Three Labrador retrievers are being hailed as heroes for helping save a group of bathers off an Italian beach.
On Sunday, the trio of canines — Eros, 4, Mira, 5, and Mya, 7 — came to the rescue of 14 people after they began struggling about 330 feet off the shore of Sperlonga, according to CNN.
Roberto Gasbarri — the head of Italian rescue dog school SICS’s center-south department — told the outlet that the group got in trouble after their inflatables, dinghies, and other equipment struggled to stay afloat in high winds and strong waves.
Eight children between the ages of 6 and 12 were among those swept out to sea.
A family member in the group called for help. Three SICS dog units responded and arrived at the scene promptly. It took approximately 15 minutes for the Labradors to bring the group safely back to shore.
9. ‘The perfect fit’: Family adopts 4 siblings in time for Christmas
A Tennessee family adopted a set of four siblings, making them a family of 12 in time for the holidays.
Lisa and Diego Parra adopted four siblings, ages 17, 14, 12 and 6, after fostering them for nearly three years. The couple already had six of their own children when they started fostering in 2018, most already living on their own outside of their house.
“The main goal is reunification,” Lisa Parra said. “But when we knew that they were going up for adoption, we knew they weren’t going anywhere.”
The adoption process meant months of worrying and paperwork, but the day finally came when the four children officially joined the family.
“It’s good knowing that you’re going to be here for the holidays and know where you’re going to be for the future,” said 14-year-old Kristina.
She and her siblings are grateful the Parras welcomed them with open arms and helped keep them together.
“If we split up, that would’ve been different. It would’ve changed our lives,” said 12-year-old Devin.
10. Soldier Surprises Family by Coming Home for Christmas: ‘I Am Surely Blessed,’ Says Mom
This is a Christmas surprise one family will never forget.
Over the weekend, Army Pvt. Tyrel Miller, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, shocked his family members with an unannounced visit home ahead of the December holiday, Fox station WLUK reported.
After being stationed in Germany, Tyrel — who hadn’t seen his family since May — returned home with the help of his mother, Michelle Miller, who put the reunion together nearly two months ago, WLUK reported.
“It feels amazing to have all my children under one roof again,” the proud mom tells PEOPLE. “I am surely blessed.”
After picking Tyrel up from the airport on Friday, Michelle gathered the family together at a restaurant on Saturday.
“We were gonna go to South Carolina to see his graduation in January,” she told WLUK. “So that’s what today was about ’cause he was supposed to call us. That’s what they thought.”
In a video of the heartwarming moment, which was shared online by WLUK’s Nick Harrington, Tyrel can be seen entering the food joint as his family members question what they’re seeing.
“Are you kidding me?” one family member asks through tears. Another cheers and claps at seeing the young soldier.
The Morning Headlines email will resume on Monday, January 3, 2022. From all of us at Focus on the Family and The Daily Citizen – Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!