We've heard a lot of bad news in 2016, but there were still a lot of wonderful, heart-felt stories that really showed the kindness of others. We want to end the year on a good note by sharing some of our favorites...
Believe it or not, we actually had about 50 really amazing feel-good stories on our list. Narrowing it down to the Top 10 was extremely difficult, but we tried to pick stories that showcased everything from huge amounts of generosity to the smallest gestures that we know made a difference, and even just feel-good awesome stories to come out of Central New York and the surrounding area. Here are those stories:
In 2016 a young girl turned 12, but instead of holding a birthday party and asking for gifts she asked others to pay it forward to those in need. She asked people to stop by the Lowville Walmart and make donations of items like backpacks, crayons, coloring books, small toys, and other things like that for those less fortunate. You can read her full story here.
Austin Hunsinger is a specialist stationed at Fort Drum near Watertown, who has also served in Afghanistan. And now he's the proud owner of a new home that is absolutely free for him, no strings attached. Taking care of the military and those who serve our country is SO important, and to see something like this... Well, if it doesn't melt your heart, we don't know what will. You can read Austin's story full story here.
The Utica College Men's and Women's hockey teams spent an afternoon at the Utica AUD teaching about 30 children who were blind or visually impaired, how to play hockey and how to skate. The teams partnered with the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) for this amazing event that doesn't go unnoticed in the community. For these hockey players and coaches to take time out of their busy schedules for a fun day with these children is more than a wonderful thing to do.
Valerie Davidson spent this past Father's Day remembering her dad in a unique way. Her father passed away after battling lung cancer, but he was tractor trailer driver for more than 40 years. She decided to buy 40 Father’s Day cards and take them to a truck stop in Fultonville, New York to hand out to other dads.
Remsen man Ryan Polce was staying in Buffalo to shoot a wedding when a homeless man decided to strike up a conversation with him. They talked for a little bit about football, Polce's cameras, and his career. After that Polce left for the wedding, but when he came back the homeless man was still there. He figured he had a few dollars to spare, so he gave it to the man. Just a few dollars may not seem like anything big, but we know it had a huge impact on the homeless man. You can read the entire story here.
Get ready to cry some tears of happiness, this is one of the sweetest, kindness stories we've heard all year. We love hearing about teens going out of their way to help out others or make others feel special or accepted, and that's exactly what happened here. Kendra McLeod of Rome, asked a special needs boy to prom. It wasn't just the dance though, they made sure this boy enjoyed the whole day. The story will seriously, make you tear up and feel happy about future generations. You can read it here.
Girl Born in Rome Wins Gold
Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher, who was born in Rome, New York, won the first gold medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Virginia won the gold for the Women’s 10m Air Rifle competition. She's just 19-years-old and became the first freshman to win both individual NCAA rifle titles. She followed that by winning the U.S. Olympic Trials, earning her a trip to Rio.
That's something that not only Central New Yorkers can take pride in, but everyone in the United States can.
Letter carriers and drivers from the Bayberry Post Office granted the wish of a very sick little boy by paying a visit to his home outside Liverpool. They formed a mail truck convoy and surprised him; they also delivered official US Postal Service merchandise like hats and shirts. They nicknamed the young boy "Matthew the Mailman" because his lifelong dream is to work for the post office. What a sweet thing the postal service did for this sick boy. We know it had to have made his day.
Kayla for Ilion unfortunately lost her son just three short weeks after his birth. In honor of her son (and to raise awareness for the heart issue that caused his death), Kayla's mother started an organization called "Little Hats, Big Hearts" in Herkimer County. They began knitting hats and sending them to hospitals all over New York and then all over the country. You can read more about this story here.
Getting down on one knee is nerve wracking enough without doing it in front of hundreds of people. One CNY couple got engaged in front of a large crowd atDestiny USAwhen a flash mob broke out. You can watch the heartwarming moment in the video below: