The week's good news: May 18, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Wedding rings lost in Texas tornado found amid miles of debris
Just three months after their wedding, a tornado destroyed Ariel and Justin Duke's Canton, Texas, home. Their personal items were lost in the debris that stretched for miles, and Ariel's wedding and engagement rings were among the missing objects. After searching for eight days, the Dukes made a final plea online, posting a photo of the rings and asking anyone who might come across them to please return the precious jewelry. Nathan Wright saw the photo and joined the search with his metal detector. "It's pretty hard to detect somewhere like that because there's so much debris and metal spread everywhere," Wright told Good Morning America. After three hours and "some heavy praying," Wright found Ariel's engagement ring, and then 30 feet away, her wedding band. It was "unreal," Wright said, and Ariel "screamed and bulldozed into me with a big hug."
World War II veteran becomes world's oldest skydiver
A D-Day veteran jumped out of an airplane and into the record books on Saturday, becoming the world's oldest skydiver. When he completed his tandem sky dive, Verdun Hayes was 101 and 38 days old; Canadian Armand Gendreau set the previous record in June 2013 at age 101 and 3 days. Hayes, a great-grandfather, first wanted to try skydiving at age 90, but held off until he turned 100, breaking the British record for oldest skydiver. He was joined on Saturday by 10 members of his family, including 16-year-old great-grandson Stanley, 21-year-old great-granddaughter Ellie, 50-year-old grandson Roger, and 74-year-old son Bryan. They weren't just jumping out of planes to set records — they also raised money for the Royal British Legion. When he landed, Hayes cheered, "Hooray!" and said he was feeling "absolutely over the moon."
22-year-old who stopped massive cyberattack will donate reward to charity
When a massive global cyberattack took hold of the internet last week, a 22-year-old British cybersecurity researcher helped save the day. The man, who lives with his parents in England and wished to remain anonymous, halted the ransomware attack when he inadvertently stumbled upon its "kill switch." For his efforts, he was offered a $10,000 reward, which he plans to donate to charity. "The rest will go to buying books/resources for people looking to get into [information security] who can't afford them," he said.
Louisiana father, daughter graduate from college together
Deron Santiny wasn't in the audience cheering on his daughter when she graduated from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette last week — but only because he, too, was receiving his diploma. Santiny, 46, first enrolled in the 1990s, but left to pursue a job in law enforcement, and later joined the military and was deployed to Iraq. In 2005, he was seriously injured when his vehicle detonated an IED, and he sustained a broken neck and brain injuries (Santiny was later awarded a Purple Heart). Doctors said Santiny had a cognitive disorder that would affect how he learned, but with the encouragement of his family, including daughter Haley Fox, he went back to school. "I wanted to finish what I started," he told KATC. Santiny wants others in situations similar to his to remember that "pain is temporary" but "success is permanent."
College football team provides combined 756 hours of volunteer labor at camp for kids with cancer
Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in Southern California's San Jacinto Mountains offers year-round camping opportunities for young cancer patients and their siblings and parents, and thanks to the efforts of a college football team, money that would ordinarily be used to take care of facility improvements can now go directly to giving kids the ultimate camping experience. The University of Redlands student-athletes spent three days at the camp in late April, providing a combined 756 hours of labor — the equivalent of $20,389 worth of work. The team has a longstanding relationship with the camp, and the volunteers were kept busy doing everything from digging a trench and installing a 2,000-foot drip irrigation pipe to removing old concrete from a tennis court to chipping pine branches for landscape mulch.