PORTLAND, Ore. — This past year had more than its fair share of negative news, which is perhaps why this collection of heartwarming stories resonated so much with KGW viewers.
From a woman who raised thousands of dollars for a homeless veteran to a mother receiving an honorary degree after attending every MBA class with her quadriplegic son, these stories spanned the nation, from California to Alaska to Oregon.
Here are the 10 most-read heartwarming stories by KGW viewers.
Remember the homeless veteran who helped a stranded woman with his last $20? The woman has raised more than $389,000 for...Posted by KGW-TV on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
New Jersey woman Kate McClure ran out of gas on a Philadelphia freeway late one night. Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless veteran who noticed her plight, walked a few blocks and bought her gas with his last $20. McClure didn't forget. She and her boyfriend started a GoFundMe page for Bobbitt that ended up raising more than $400,000. With the funds, Bobbitt was able to buy a home and a truck. The rest of the money was put into two trust funds. Bobbitt is able to pull a small annual salary from the first trust fund, while the other, managed by a financial advisor, will work as a retirement fund.
Bobbitt, who said he hopes to donate to organizations and people that have helped him in the past, said, "I'm just happy I'm getting a second chance at life."
"This man, no questions asked, got down on the floor with this woman and supported her back so she could lean against...Posted by KGW-TV on Saturday, August 26, 2017
Brittany McKee, a registered nurse, was at a Walmart in Georgia when she noticed an elderly woman had passed out on the floor. She and her daughter stopped to help the woman, as did several Walmart employees. McKee noticed one of the employees, in particular. "This man, no questions asked, got down on the floor with this woman and supported her back so she could lean against him. He literally got down on the floor to serve her, not because he was asked to do it — he wasn't — but because he wanted to." McKee took a photo, shared it on Facebook with a short message, and it quickly went viral. The employee turned out to be the manager of the store, Jason Lewis. He was surprised by the attention he received and said he was only doing what he'd been taught to do all his life. "That's how my parents do it. I just wanted to live a good life and that's just one of the results of it — being able to render help when it's actually needed."
Instead of throwing the bouquet, the bride spun around and walked over to her best friend. On one knee behind the bridesmaid was her future husband. ❤️Posted by KGW-TV on Tuesday, June 13, 2017
A Canadian bride wanted to show her appreciation to her bridesmaid for all the work she put into making sure her wedding day was perfect. So she set in motion a plan, working alongside her bridesmaid's boyfriend, to plan a surprise proposal that would happen during the wedding. "Instead of throwing the bouquet," said wedding photographer Ross Dance, "the bride spun around and walked over to her best friend [the bridesmaid]. Everything froze as she said, 'Jess, turn around.' " On one knee behind the bridesmaid was her future husband. Dance said he'd "never witnessed a gesture so unselfish" during all his years photographing weddings.
It costs upwards of $10,000 to train a police K-9 of Ike's breed, but the city honored the dog's fallen handler by letting his family keep him for $1.Posted by KGW-TV on Saturday, October 7, 2017
Mike Pershall, a police sergeant in Modesto, California, was riding his bike while off-duty when he was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver. Pershall's family, grief-stricken by the loss of their father and husband, were further distressed by the thought of losing Pershall's K-9 partner of two years, a Belgian Malinois named Ike, who was also the family dog. The community donated money to help the family keep Ike, hoping to help offset the cost to the police department, which would need to spend as much as $10,000 to train a new Belgian Malinois K-9. Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll was so moved by the situation he spoke in support of the family's desire to keep the dog during a city council meeting. "There is the human factor of, you have a wife and two kids who just lost their dad," Carroll said at the city council meeting, "and that's the family dog. What is the right thing to do?"
The city council approved the sale unanimously for $1, so Ike retired and will spend the rest of his days in the family's loving care.
The bride reserved an empty chair at her wedding in memory of the 19-year-old son she lost nearly two years ago. But she...Posted by KGW-TV on Saturday, July 15, 2017
Becky Turney received a wonderful surprise on her wedding day. Turney, who lost her 19-year-old son Triston two years prior, reserved an empty chair for him at the wedding. What Turney didn't know is her groom and partner of seven years, Kelly Turney, had secretly flown Jacob Kilby from San Diego to attend the wedding. Kilby, who was born with a heart defect, had received the heart of Becky's son in 2015. When Kelly introduced Jacob as his sixth groomsman, Becky could hardly believe it. "I lost my mind. I squealed like a little girl. I jumped up and down. It was incredible," she said. The exchange between Jacob and Becky — who had exchanged messages online and spoken by phone but never met in person before the wedding — was captured in a series of photographs by the wedding photographer, Amber Lanphier. The photos went viral, including one that showed Becky listening to Jacob's heart with a stethoscope.
The 80-year-old Indiana couple has visited 664 out of the 665 stores spanning across five million American miles.Posted by KGW-TV on Wednesday, July 26, 2017
A lot of people fell in love this year with the story of Ray and Wilma Yoder, the Indiana couple who completed their 40-year quest to visit all 645 Cracker Barrel stores in America. Ray and Wilma, both 81 and married for 61 years, began their crusade 40 years ago when Ray was working for Coachman, delivering recreational vehicles across the country. "It took the boredom out of being on the road," Ray said. The Cracker Barrel in Tualatin, Oregon happened to be the last location they hadn't visited. Ray and Wilma hit the milestone on August 30 when Cracker Barrel flew them out to the Oregon for the event.
Why do they love Cracker Barrel so much? "It's just always friendly. Never had a bad experience with the help or even the food for that matter. Just a good place to eat and we like it," Wilma said.
What's your message of encouragement for Keaton?Posted by KGW-TV on Monday, December 11, 2017
Everyone saw the video. The ensuing backlash against Keaton's mother, for social media posts featuring the Confederate flag, doesn't change what we all felt when we saw that video. Middle-school student Keaton Jones was filmed by his mother crying in the front seat of their car after she picked him up from school "again" because he was afraid to go to lunch, fearful of being bullied. In the video, Keaton said he had no friends and was tired of being made fun of for the way he looks. He said he'd had milk poured on him and ham shoved down his clothes. The video went viral with millions of views and thousands of shares on Facebook.
Celebrities like UFC President Dana White, Captain America actor Chris Evans, Millie Bobby Brown ("Eleven" from Stranger Things), and rapper Snoop Dogg, among others, responded in a moving show of support for Keaton.
A woman living in Tennessee had a daughter who had spent 24 years as a frozen embryo -- the record for the longest-frozen embryo to successfully be birthed.Posted by KGW-TV on Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Emma Wren was born on Nov. 25, but unlike most newborns Emma could technically be considered much, much older than she appears. Emma, born to Tina and Benjamin Gibson, had been cryopreserved as an embryo for nearly a quarter century. The embryo was transferred into Tina's uterus in March at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville.
Research staff at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library said Emma holds the all-time record for the longest-frozen embryo to come to birth. "Emma is such a sweet miracle," said her father. "I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago."
As she pushed her son's wheelchair across the stage at his graduation, she was awarded an honorary MBA. It was her son's idea.Posted by KGW-TV on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
In 2012, Marty O'Connor, a University of Colorado graduate, tumbled down a flight of stairs and became paralyzed from the neck down. His life became centered on grueling physical therapy, but Marty wanted more, a new challenge. So he began looking at MBA programs, eventually enrolling at Chapman University in Orange, California. The only problem? He couldn't use his hands to take notes or write anything down. Voice recognition software and the use of an iPad and laptop with a special stylus helped, but there were some tasks that were impossible for Marty to complete. So his mother, Judy, stepped in. A retired teacher, she started attending every class with her son, taking notes and helping him in whatever way she could. At Chapman University's graduation ceremony in May, she pushed Marty across the stage in his wheelchair to receive his diploma, and was surprised when an emotional announcer called out a "special individual" and awarded her with an honorary MBA from the university.
Quick thinking by a police officer led to the rescue of two puppies in a hot car.Posted by KGW-TV on Saturday, June 17, 2017
Robin Gander, a police officer in South Carolina, spotted two puppies inside a vehicle at a shopping center on a hot afternoon in June with outside temperatures near 100 degrees. She rescued the puppies but said they were so overheated she had to put them in a cooler to bring their temperatures down.
The owner of the dogs left them inside the car while she was getting her hair done. "The only thing I had on me was my food cooler that I kept my lunch in," Gander said. "I was able to put them so they sat in my cooler. They both fit in there and I just started blasting the AC."
2017 Year in Review by KGW