Another year is coming to an end and we're about to start a new year with new opportunities.
From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the wildlife fires in California, we've seen our share of natural disasters this year. Despite the devastation, these disasters helped bring communities together by strangers going out of their way to help one another.
As we reflect on the year 2017, let's take a look at the most heartwarming stories of the year.
Da’Jauh Hennix was escaping her mother’s home in east Houston, in floodwaters up to her neck, while holding her eight-month-old baby Paige above her head. Luckily, officers rescued the baby in a watercraft and took her to the end of road to be transported to safety. During the chaos, mother and baby were separated. Hours passed and Da'Jauh was panicking. Thanks to the officers posting a picture on Facebook, Da'Jauh and Paige were reunited. “She is the perfect example of a great mother,” Cpl. Reed Clark said. “She didn’t say help me one bit, she handed her baby over and said, ‘Help my baby, get my baby out of here.’”
Out of the mouths of babes. Who can forget the pair of 4 year olds who say they are twins because they share the same soul. The saying goes "kids say the darnedest thing," but in this case, Jia and Zuri are teaching a life lesson everyone could benefit from.
David Deutchman has been given the name "ICU Grandpa" because he has been cuddling babies in an Atlanta ICU for 12 years. He's a volunteer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Every Tuesday, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day. And on Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU. Thank you, David for helping give comfort to these tiny patients and their families.
The eclipse was a monumental moment of 2017, period. But when Alexis 'Lexi' Greenleaf married Terran Travis under the bright corona of a solar eclipse, it made the event more memorable. The two military members were able to time their photo just right and get hitched under the great American eclipse.
Behind every natural disaster, there's a community of people who come together to help those in need. A moment we can't forget during Hurricane Harvey was an image of Gregory Pletcher holding a kitten that he rescued from the floodwaters in his life vest as he walks the flooded streets in Texas. Gregory was doing rescues in Cyprus, Texas when he found the little kitten crying under the hood of a car stuck in the flood waters.
You might want to grab the tissues for this one. After Michaela's bridesmaid's dad was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to give up her father-daughter dance at her wedding and give it to two daughters who may never be able to share a father-daughter dance. Michaela invited Jessica, Jessica’s sister Megan, and their dad to take the floor for an unforgettable dance to a stripped-down version of “Every Breath You Take.”
It was a snapshot heard across the nation: a young Walmart employee sitting on the ground next to an elderly woman, helping to support her back. After an elderly woman passed out in a Georgia Walmart, Walmart manager Jason Lewis didn't hesitate to get down on the floor and support the woman's back so she could lean against him. Lewis said he dropped down to help her as he noticed she was beginning to lose her balance while getting up. From there, Lewis said he and the woman sat and "talked about life."
With family by her side, Hester Ford quietly celebrated her 112th birthday at her home in North Carolina back in August. She was the oldest living person in the Carolinas and the ninth oldest in the United States. That alone is amazing, but that's not the most amazing thing about Hester Ford. She can recite many Bible verses, but her favorite is Psalm 23. At 112, she recited it without skipping a beat.
Casey Spelman was visiting friends in the Chicago area and spotted a blind Chicago Cubs fan who was trying to hail a cab. Without a word, Spelman split from her friends, walked over to Yusef Dale and flagged down a cab. Within minutes, a taxi pulled up and Spelman helped Dale inside, giving him a hug goodbye in the process. A Chicago resident who was watching from a rooftop across the street was so touched by the kind gesture he posted pictures of the pair on Facebook, praising the woman for lending a helping hand.
Remember Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton? We met them last Thanksgiving after Wanda accidentally sent a text message to Jamal and invited him to Thanksgiving dinner, thinking he was her grandson. Despite the mix up, Jamal actually went to dinner. This year, Wanda purposely sent a text message to Jamal and invited him again. Just like last Thanksgiving, Jamal didn't hesitate.