The week's good news: November 16, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Marine brings stray dog back to U.S. after bonding with him in Afghanistan
While deployed in Afghanistan with the Marines, Sgt. Craig Grossi crossed paths with Fred, a "goofy looking" dog who would ultimately change his life. They met in Helmand Province in 2010, with Fred covered in bugs, his fur matted. As Grossi approached him, "he started to wag his tail, and that really just froze me, because that is the last thing I thought he would do," he told People. He knew this dog was special and wanted to rescue him from his harsh environment, so Grossi came up with a plan that involved sneaking him onto a helicopter and then hiding him on base until he could send Fred to the U.S. Grossi turned the story of Fred's journey into a book, Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other, and says Fred is enjoying their book tour — especially staying in new hotel rooms every night.
Baltimore book lovers come together to rebuild fire-ravaged charity
It doesn't matter if customers at Baltimore's The Book Thing take home one book or 100, as it all costs the same: $0. Russell Wattenberg has been running The Book Thing for 17 years, and has never charged anyone a dime. In March 2016, a fire ripped through The Book Thing, with all of its inventory going up in smoke. It didn't take long for the community to rally together, bringing Wattenberg cash donations, holding fundraisers to help rebuild, and dropping off thousands of books to fill the new shelves. The Book Thing reopened in October, and there's never a shortage of customers. "I don't have the patience to teach somebody to read," Wattenberg told CBS News. "I don't have the diligence to be a writer. The only way I see to contribute to the written word is by doing this."
Man who used to be homeless now living his dream as Cambridge University student
Geoffrey Edwards still can't believe he's no longer homeless and is now a student at Cambridge University, studying English literaturel "Going to Cambridge University was a dream of mine," the 52-year-old told the Cambridge News. He worked for some time as a field laborer, but eventually couldn't find jobs and lived on the streets. Edwards said he was stuck in "a rut," but started selling copies of The Big Issue, a newspaper distributed by homeless people. That gave him "back a bit of self-respect," he said, and soon, he was taking classes at Cambridge Regional College, which prepared him for Cambridge University. Being accepted to such a storied institution, he said, is "the first thing I am proud of in my life."
93-year-old World War II vet elected mayor of New Jersey town
Vito Perillo used to kick around the idea of running for local office, and finally, at age 93, he did it. The World War II veteran and former engineer decided to run for mayor of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, going up against a popular incumbent. Perillo knocked on doors across town, introducing himself to voters and letting them know he wanted to lower their municipal tax rate and would be a "fiscally prudent" mayor. Perillo won the nonpartisan election by 300 votes. His grandson, Mike Perillo-Gentile, said he's proud of his grandfather. "A man of his age, when he said he wanted to run for mayor, any other grandson might have thought he's a little crazy," Perillo-Gentile told NJ.com. "Not if you know my grandfather. When he wants to do something, he does it, and I think it's a heck of a story."
Teen creates book of word puzzles specifically for grandmother with dementia
When a Massachusetts teenager saw his Alzheimer's-afflicted grandma struggling to complete her beloved word searches, he came up with his own special solution. John Frates, 17, compiled a custom set of puzzles with simplified words, bigger font, and no more diagonal or backward solutions. "Every time I showed her a new word search, her eyes lit up," Frates told Good News Network. Following his grandma's positive response, Frates shared the word searches with other residents of her nursing home. He has now published the first-ever puzzle collection for seniors with dementia, called Grandma and Grandpa's Word Searches. The profits from sales of the book will go towards raising money for Alzheimer's patients and research.