Martha Heft lives in Clearwater, Florida, but her handmade dresses, blankets, and quilts are keeping orphans warm in Puerto Rico and Haiti.
Heft, 99, first learned how to sew when she was just five years old. After seeing the destruction that Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico, Heft and some other members of her church got to work, creating 60 dresses for the Regraso de Paz orphanage in Aguadilla. Attached to the dresses, which were delivered by Heft's granddaughter and grandson-in-law, were notes with inspiring messages, including, "Smile because we love you."
Genevieve Via Cava grew up during the Depression, and learned the importance of saving — in fact, she stashed away so much money over the course of her life that she was able to leave $1 million in her will to the Dumont Public Schools.
Via Cava spent 45 years with the New Jersey school district teaching special education students. She retired in 1990, but kept in touch with her former colleagues, reminiscing about her years teaching. She died in 2011 with a sizable fortune, and after her estate was settled, a check was sent this April to Dumont Public Schools for $1 million. It was "a blessing," Superintendent Emanuele Triggiano told CNN.
Starting next spring, the money will fund scholarships for special education students who want to go to college, up to $25,000 per pupil. Via Cava's friend Richard Jablonski told CNN they would often run into her former students while running errands, and they were always excited to see their teacher. "Her name will go on forever, and rightfully so," he said. In addition to her donation to the school district, Via Cava also left $100,000 each to five other organizations, including the Salvation Army and the Ramapo Animal Refuge. Catherine Garcia
She's only 8 months old, but Sasha the pit bull is already a hero.
Nana Chaichanhdra says that last week, she left Sasha outside overnight, which she rarely does. She heard Sasha throwing her body against the back door, and when she got up to see what was going on, she discovered that the Stockton, California, fourplex where she lived was on fire. Chaichanhdra ran inside to grab her 7-month-old daughter, but Sasha was one step ahead; she already had the baby by the diaper and was dragging her to safety.
Chaichanhdra scooped up her daughter and Sasha, and they were able to get out of the house unscathed. She told FOX 40 she hopes this brings awareness to pit bulls being family dogs. "I owe her everything," Chaichanhdra said. "If it wasn't for her, I would have still been in bed and things could have taken a worse turn." Catherine Garcia
When New Jersey Trooper Michael Patterson pulled Matthew Bailly over last week for a tinted window violation, it wasn't the first time the two had met.
Trooper Stops Retired Police Officer Who Delivered Him 27 Years Ago
We’re not sure what the odds are of this happening—maybe they’re close to the odds of a hole-in-one, winning the lottery, or being struck by lightning—but it happened. https://t.co/BefM49DhLf #alert pic.twitter.com/4F2QYN0eRC
— NJSP - State Police (@NJSP) June 6, 2018
Bailly mentioned to Patterson that he was a retired police officer, having worked in Piscataway. Patterson said that was his hometown, and Bailly asked where he grew up. It was a street that Bailly remembered well, and he shared that 27 years ago, he helped a woman there deliver her baby. "My name is Michael Patterson, sir," the trooper responded. "Thank you for delivering me."
On Oct. 5, 1991, Patterson's mother, Karen, came home from shopping and realized she was in labor. Her husband quickly called the doctor and police, and after Bailly arrived, Patterson's doctor coached him through how to deliver the baby over the phone, NJ.com reports. Patterson and Bailly's reunion didn't end with a ticket or on the side of the road — later, Patterson and his mom enjoyed a visit with Bailly and his wife. Catherine Garcia
When Miranda Craig passed out while doing the dishes at her Texas home, her 3-year-old daughter Dorothy knew exactly what to do: call 911 on her mom's cellphone. As Dorothy's 5-month-old brother cried in the background, the toddler told the dispatcher her name and that her mom, who suffers from narcolepsy, was "on the ground." Sheriff's deputies tracked the cellphone and found the family by going door-to-door. Miranda taught Dorothy to call 911 when her daughter was very little. "She's done it for me twice now," she says. "She's my little hero."
It started off as a joke, but ended with a marriage.
Kimberley Dean, 51, and Ron Palmer, 54, briefly dated while attending Saint Agnes School in Minnesota more than 35 years ago. Although their high school romance was brief, their friendship wasn't — they kept in touch, even as they both married and divorced other people. Dean and Palmer said they never went more than six months without talking, and during one conversation in their 30s, they jokingly agreed that if they were single by the time they were both over 50, they'd marry each other.
In 2016, Dean reminded Palmer of their long-ago promise. He worried that a romantic relationship might not work out and their friendship would be ruined, but "I could see we still had feelings for each other," he told People. "And it's been fantastic ever since." Palmer proposed on New Year's Eve 2017, and the couple married on June 1. "We're very comfortable around each other," Dean said. "We do the complete sentences and laugh at each other's stupid jokes kind of thing. We're kind of like a yin and a yang." Catherine Garcia
Rubble's 30th birthday was fairly low-key, considering he's now the unofficial oldest cat in the world.
A Maine Coon, Rubble lives in Exeter, England, with his owner, Michele Foster, and three other cats. When he turned 30 in May, he went to the vet, where he underwent a complimentary check-up, and was treated to his favorite food. Foster said she got Rubble in May 1988 on her 20th birthday, and she's been showering him with attention ever since. "He's a lovely cat, although he has got a little grump in his old age," she told Fox News. Rubble is on blood pressure medication, but is otherwise healthy.
The Guinness Book of World Records says Scooter, a Siamese, broke the record for world's oldest cat when he turned 30 in 2016; he died not long after this milestone birthday. Don't expect to see Rubble fight for the title, though; Foster said she's "not sure he would like lots of people coming to see him or a fuss made out of him. He is old now and would not like too much attention or be hassled. We would prefer if he was just left to live out his old age in peace." Catherine Garcia
There were tears when Adriana Aviles and Mike Laureano met, but they were tears of joy and gratitude.
Aviles, now 7, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was just 4 years old. She needed a bone marrow transplant, and Laureano, now 29, had signed up to be a bone marrow donor during a drive at his university. "I was a healthy individual living my life, so if I could help allow someone else to do the same then I, as a human being, have an obligation to do so," he told Inside Edition.
The Be the Match organization lets donors and recipients meet a year after the donation is made, and Aviles decided that she was ready to connect with Laureano. When he arrived, she ran into his arms and started to sob, telling him, "Thank you so much." Her mother, Jessy Aviles, told Inside Edition that her daughter "might only be 7 years old, but her heart and mind are wise — she knows how incredible this gift of life was." Now, she said, "we have a bond with him that will last forever." Catherine Garcia