It wasn't all bad
September 18, 2020

The postcard addressed to Mrs. Roy McQueen finally arrived at its destination — 100 years after it was sent.

Brittany Keech of Belding, Michigan, found the card mixed in with the bills and advertisements in her mailbox on Sept. 8. "At first, I didn't think much of it, other than that it's old and interesting," Keech told The Washington Post. "But then I took a closer look." She saw that on the front, there was a Halloween illustration, featuring a black cat, owl, and grey-haired witch; on the back, there was a one-cent stamp and an Oct. 29, 1920, postmark.

The letter, written to "Dear Cousins," mentions the writer's mother's "awful lame knees." It ended with a question about whether "Roy got his pants fixed yet." The postcard was signed by Flossie Burgess. Wanting to get this card to someone related to the family, Keech turned to a local Facebook group called Positively Belding for help.

People quickly started leaving comments in response to her post, with librarian Robby Peters offering to do some genealogy research. In the 1920 census, he found that a Roy McQueen lived at Keech's address, and McQueen was married to a Nora Murdock. It appears her niece, Florence "Flossie" Burgess, sent the postcard.

Peters wasn't able to find any direct descendants, but another amateur genealogist, Sheryl Ackerman, got involved, and discovered a great-niece of Roy and Nora's. Ackerman put the woman in touch with Keech, and she is "very interested in having the postcard," Keech told the Post. It's still unclear why it took 100 years for the card to arrive, but a few postal workers commented on Keech's Facebook post and said it's likely the piece of paper fell and became stuck somewhere, and was found a century later when the post office was renovated. Catherine Garcia

September 16, 2020

There's no such thing as a routine day at work for McKenzie Davis, a 911 dispatcher for the Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Florida, and that was made clear during a recent 12-hour shift, when she helped save the lives of a 6-month-old boy and a 71-year-old man over the span of an hour.

"She did a phenomenal job," Sheriff Rick Staly told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "Our dispatchers are our lifeline to the community. They are on the front line for all first responders in Flagler County."

At 3:30 p.m., a woman called in and said her 6-month-old wasn't breathing. Davis, 21, told her to calm down, and then described how to administer CPR, counting the compressions so the woman could keep track. The baby soon began breathing again, and was then transported to a hospital for observation.

About an hour later, a woman called and said her 71-year-old husband was in their swimming pool, not breathing. Davis told the woman and some of her family members to get the man out of the water, and since no one there was trained to do CPR, she gave them instructions over speaker phone. The family took turns performing compressions, as Davis kept count. When two deputies arrived on the scene, they found the man had a strong pulse, and an ambulance took him to the hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Davis told the News-Journal both callers did an "excellent" job of following her instructions, and because she had been trained to always move on to the next case, it helped her remain calm as she dealt with two close calls. Davis also thanked her co-workers, saying that each one has "advanced my training, given me advice. We all help each other to make ourselves the best we can." Catherine Garcia

September 15, 2020

For the past five years, the National World WWII Museum has helped Lawrence Brooks celebrate his birthday, and they kept the tradition alive for 2020.

Born on Sept. 12, 1909, Brooks turned 111 years old on Saturday. The New Orleans resident is the oldest known living U.S. veteran of World War II, serving in the predominantly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and later the Philippines.

The great-grandfather's birthday celebrations are usually at the museum, but because of the pandemic, a party with social distancing was held in his front yard. As Brooks and his family watched from the porch, the museum's vocal trio, the Victory Belles, sang several songs, and the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and The Big Easy Wing did a military flyover.

Brooks also received a cake and 10,000 birthday cards that had been sent to the museum. Amber Mitchell, assistant director of public engagement at the National WWII Museum, said in a statement that it was "meaningful for us to continue to celebrate Lawrence Brooks and his incredible life in a safe manner this year." Catherine Garcia

September 14, 2020

Christian Bagg has always been an outdoor enthusiast, and he created a special mountain bike so everyone can have the chance to go on an adventure.

In 1996, Bagg broke his back during a snowboarding crash in Banff National Park, and the accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He missed being able to hop on his bike and explore the great outdoors, and in 2008, started building a modified bicycle in his basement that he could ride over rugged terrain. Bagg had no intention of turning this into a business, but after he let a teenage girl with cerebral palsy borrow his special bicycle, he knew he had to make more.

The girl spent four hours on the bike, which was pulled by her friends, and when the day was over she told her mom it was "the best day of her life," Bagg told CNN. That's when he realized "this shouldn't be just for me," and in 2018, he launched his company, Bowhead Corp., to make bicycles for people who are physically disabled. They can be customized to fit each person's needs, and Bagg promises that "anyone who wants to ride a bike, we will endeavor to figure out how they can. Whatever we need to do to get people outside." Catherine Garcia

September 11, 2020

By turning lemons into lemonade, Cartier Carey was able to donate more than 22,000 diapers to single moms in his community.

Earlier in the summer, the 11-year-old from Hampton, Virginia, wanted to do something to help people struggling during the pandemic. He knew that a lot of parents were having a hard time getting diapers for their kids — either the store shelves were empty or they couldn't afford to buy any.

Carey had the idea to set up a lemonade stand, where he could raise money for supplies and also hold drives where people could drop off donated diapers and wipes. In the first month, he raised $4,500, and has since distributed over 22,000 diapers. One woman who made a donation told Carey that she was able to get back on her feet because of people like him, and he was "an amazing young man."

Hearing that was "heart-touching," Carey told ABC News, and "after that, that made me want to keep doing it." Carey has a history of helping those in need — last year, he put together "Carti Packs," bags that he passed out to homeless people filled with toothbrushes, soap, hand sanitizer, and other hygiene products.

With the help of his mother, Carey has launched a nonprofit called Kids 4 Change, which he hopes will inspire his peers. "Others can make a difference just like I'm doing right now," he told ABC News. "They can save lives and be heroes. They're never too young." Catherine Garcia

September 10, 2020

Dentistry is a family affair for Kismet, a toothless Chihuahua, and her new owners.

Dr. Cameron Garrett, a dentist, and his wife, Debra Garrett, a dental hygienist, adopted Kismet in August. The 13-year-old is now serving as a dental therapy dog at the Garrett's Northern California practice, Corte Madera Family Dentistry. Dr. Garrett told Today studies show people who "sit and pet animals have lower blood pressure, and that's what it's all about. Quite honestly, as a dentist, I'm as much a psychiatrist or psychologist as anything else. Kismet has allowed us to have another tool in our toolbox."

The Garretts estimate that about 98 percent of patients ask to have Kismet on their laps as they get routine cleanings, X-rays, and fillings. Kids especially like being able to pet Kismet during procedures, and she helps with the added anxiety many patients feel being at the dentist during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kismet was a stray, and because her teeth were rotting, they all had to be pulled. The Garretts are also using her as an educational tool, as she can show patients the importance of taking care of their teeth and preventing periodontal disease. While Kismet is providing support and lessons to patients, "she's also getting comfort," Debra Garrett told Today. "It's hard for me to describe how nice it is for me to be looking at her, too, while I'm working. It's just a win-win all the way around." Catherine Garcia

September 10, 2020

Through Cards 4 Covid Heroes, siblings Prabhleen Lamba, 15, and Mantej Lamba, 17, are letting health-care professionals know how much they appreciate their hard work taking care of coronavirus patients.

The Fremont, California, residents told The Associated Press they started Cards 4 Covid Heroes this spring in the spirit of the Sikh principle "seva," or selfless service. They asked friends, family, and community members to write notes for the project, and as word spread, cards started arriving at their home from supporters around the country.

After two months, Prabhleen and Mantej collected more than 250 handwritten thank you cards, which were sent to four hospitals in California and Arizona. In addition to thoughtful messages, the recipients also found an extra surprise in their cards: a $10 Visa gift card. "We just wanted to try to shine some light on the fact that we do have true heroes working on the front lines who are trying their hardest to save people's lives," Mantej told AP. Catherine Garcia

September 9, 2020

Usually, the fields at Scott Thompson's family farm in Bristol, Wisconsin, are only filled with strawberries, raspberries, or pumpkins, but this summer, he wanted to try something new to bring joy to visitors.

Thompson planted more than two million sunflowers, with the cheerful blooms covering more than 22 acres on the farm. He told CNN his family has operated the farm for more than seven decades, but this is the first time flowers have been planted. "We just did it ... and we just kept building," Thompson said.

The sunflowers dot more than 15 fields, so people have plenty of space and can safely social-distance as they take in the beauty of the flowers. The farm is still selling fruit, but visitors are also invited to take a dozen sunflowers home with them. "One of the things that's so cool about this is everyone is so happy," Thompson told CNN. "We get all these comments on Facebook, or if I'm out in the field, everybody is like, 'Thanks for doing this' and 'This is what I needed.'" Catherine Garcia

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