Top six uplifting stories from the Miami Valley this week



Across the Miami Valley, there are people making a difference. Here are six stories you might have missed this week to make you smile.

Local customer ‘pays it forward’ with $4K donation to fellow Dunkin’ diners



A customer with a heart of gold — and apparently a love for coffee — made dozens of families a lot happier last weekend with a $4,000 donation toward their coffee-and-doughnut consumption.

On Friday afternoon, March 12, at the Dunkin’ shop in Beavercreek, a customer came through the store’s drive-through initially, then was asked by the store manager to come inside after the customer said they wanted to buy $4,000 in gift cards to “pay it forward” for subsequent customers who placed orders at the shop.

It’s not uncommon for customers coming through the line to tell the staff they’d like to pay it forward to the family or customer behind them in line, said Samantha Owens, the Dunkin’ store’s general manager. However, an act of kindness on this level hasn’t been seen at the store, ever.

From 3:30 p.m. Friday through about 10 a.m. Saturday, anyone who came through the Dunkin’ Donuts line, drive-through or in-store, was surprised with a totally free order — including the family vans heading to weekend sporting events with tabs of up to $30.

“When it would be a family of more than two people, they’d say, ‘Are you serious? Are you sure?’ And we’d have to be like, ‘Yes! Please drive away,’” Owens said with a laugh. “It definitely got a lot of people in shock.”


‘We did it:’ Gem City Market prepares to open

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Nearly six years of work and planning has led up to this much-anticipated moment: The Gem City Market is about to open for business.

The store will instantly improve food access in a notorious food desert, and its fresh and healthy offerings should make a big difference to improve the health, wellness and quality of life of many community members, including some low-income residents who live nearby, supporters say.

“There are 19,000 people who live within a mile and a half of here for whom we will cut their travel time in more than half to get to the closest grocery store,” said Lela Klein, a Gem City Market board member and co-executive director of Co-op Dayton.

The Gem City Market’s journey began back in 2015 when the first organizing meeting took place.


Cincinnati Zoo announces new baby wallaby after surprise pregnancy

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden announced this week that the zoo welcomed a surprise addition: a new Bennett’s Wallaby joey.

However, the surprise was that the mother, named Ava, hasn’t bred since another joey named Pocket came out of Ava’s pouch last year, the same year Ava arrived in the city.

In fact, zoo experts speaking to our news partner WCPO-TV said that none of the zoo’s male wallabies can mate at all.

The zoo said on social media that the baby wallaby has just opened its eyes, and will start to grow hair soon, before eventually hopping out of the pouch, too.


Troy senior living center hosts surprise ceremony for resident veterans



StoryPoint Troy Senior Living hosted a surprise celebration for their resident veterans, some of which are World War II veterans. The Honor Guard from a VFW in Troy performed at the ceremony.

13 veterans and nine veterans’ wives live at StoryPoint, Life and Enrichment Director Alyssa Via said. Two of the veterans are WWII veterans.

Via said that Ralph Boss, a StoryPoint resident and WWII veteran’s family lives in Wisconsin. His family attended the ceremony as a surprise.

“Ralph and I have been talking, but he did not know his family was coming. He FaceTimes with his family every Friday,” Via said. “But we’ve kept this under wraps for about three weeks now, so Ralph was completely surprised. I told him this morning we had some surprises, but we definitely took the cake on this one.”


Father, daughter honored for their work supporting nonprofit

Lisa Kendall-Maxson and her dad, Tom Kendall, say they can’t do enough to give back after her battle against acute myeloid leukemia and a successful stem cell transplant.

They’ve focused their efforts on a nonprofit organization instrumental in her transplant, the Minneapolis-based Be The Match Foundation.

For their efforts, Tom Kendall and Lisa Kendall-Maxson in late 2020 were named recipients of the Be The Match Foundation’s spirit award.

The Livermore Spirit Award is given to an organization supporter who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to its life-saving mission of delivering cures to patient-facing blood cancers and other diseases, said Stacey Chase, senior manager, community fundraising, Be The Match Foundation.


Beavercreek boy facing major surgery; help him ‘rock his recovery’



A Beavercreek family is asking the Dayton area for help as their son prepares to “rock recovery.”

Jack Hoos has already been through a lot at the age of 7. He has autism and has struggled with chiari malformation and tethered cord for years. A chiari malformation is a condition in which the brain tissue extends into the spinal cord.

In January, Jack underwent brain decompression surgery, and in April, he will have surgery to have his tethered spinal cord released.

While Jack is in surgery, the plan is to prepare his hospital room with rocks galore. Beth hopes it’s a total surprise.

“I was thinking I would set them up on the window sill, on the desk and on his tray,” Beth said. “And I’m going to have some special ones to kind of pull out throughout (his recovery) so I can be like, ‘Oh look at this cool one I found’ if he’s having a bad day, so he can focus on something else.”

As soon as baby Jack was able to pick things up, he has had a fascination with rocks, Beth said. Traditional kids’ toys never generated much excitement for Jack.

Beth hopes to collect enough rocks that as her son recovers at home, the family can make a rock garden for Jack to play in and take his mind away from the seriousness of his surgery.


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