Positive Stories from 2017

Turning pages into new year

If you’re like us, then you found 2017 absolutely exhausting. Polarizing politics, natural disasters, harassment scandals, and acts of terrorism dominated our news cycles the entire year, and we’ve had enough. We want to focus on the positive in life, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

That’s why I was really happy to learn about this story from our very own staff of Boise’s Modern Dental.

Richard Sherman Is a GREAT Guy

Seahawks Sherman and Coach

Meet Nathan, the 13-year-old son of Crystal from Boise’s Modern Dental team. Nate has only one leg, due to complications from hemangioma. When he got his first fully-customized prosthetic, he thought it would be fantastic to have a picture of his favorite athlete on it, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.


Richard Sherman came through in a big way. He not only signed the new prosthetic, which motivated Nathan to work on wearing and walking with it, but Sherman brought his young fan up to meet him in person! Nate and his brother, Ben, got to watch the team practice, with head coach Pete Carroll and safety Kam Chancellor taking the time to throw the ball around with the boys.

Good enough, right? But the Seahawks were just getting started.

After practice, Sherman took Nate back to meet the rest of the team, even loaning him his Super Bowl ring!!! As the visit was turning into an all-day event and everyone was having a good time, Sherman invited the boys to watch the next day’s game from his own personal suite, stocked with treats, refreshments, and LOTS of Skittles.

Nathan with Super Bowl ring

Nathan was very excited to meet his hero, who was as good a person as one could hope. Richard Sherman went above and beyond for a young fan, and has thus restored my faith in humanity. It’s stories like these that need to be seen more often in the news.

Positive Stories from 2017

After learning about the Richard Sherman story from our team, I decided to find some more positive stories from 2017 that had an impact.

The Great American EclipseBoise Sleep Apnea check list button

On August 21, 2017, the country took a break to stand in the shadow of the moon. It’s estimated that as many as 88 percent of the population took at least a moment to check out this cosmological event.

This was the first total eclipse that was visible across the entire contiguous United States since 1918. It was also the most heavily covered eclipse ever, with millions and millions recording the event. Events were held nationwide, with many areas (including our own) experiencing logistical issues dealing with crowds attempting to view the event in totality.

Boise Parks and Recreation Employs the Homeless

This year, the City of Boise started a pilot program to provide employment to the chronically homeless seeking shelter at Interfaith Sanctuary. Interfaith staff assisted in setting up guests with a case manager, obtaining proper identification for employment, and setting up bank accounts for those that want to work.

The new employees are paid above minimum wage to improve and maintain Boise’s parks, making a tremendous impact on projects like the Boise Depot or the Julia Davis Rose Gardens.

The program had a hesitant start, but was so successful that it was expanded and will be continued next year.

Unlikely Friends

Twenty-two-year-old Harlem rapper Spencer Sleyon traveled 1,000 miles to meet his gaming buddy, 81-year-old grandmother Roz Guttman. They had forged a friendship over the course of six months after completing more than 300 games of Words with Friends.

The pair were randomly matched in-game, and Roz’s use of the word “phat” sparked a conversation about her familiarity with the word through her grandchildren. The conversation (and games) continued until Seyon made the trip to meet his new friend in person.

“Despite our different views, our backgrounds, race, gender aside, human to human, there should be nothing against holding you back from making friendships. I’ll make friends with anybody,” Seyon said.

Police Dog Fired

Police work is serious business. Fighting crime and collecting evidence is a tough job, and that’s why little Gavel had to go.

The German shepherd puppy was training to join the Queensland police force, but his trainers ran into a frustrating problem—instead of apprehending suspects, Gavel preferred to play with them. Thus, after determining that he was not fit for service, they dismissed him from duty.

But the playful pup has since found a new job much more fitting for his demeanor, and one that comes with a respectable title: Vice-Regal Dog. In his new post, Gavel serves in the Queensland Governor’s residence, welcoming tour groups and attending official functions.

Grandfather Finds $24.1 Million Lottery Ticket Just in Time

What’s the most money you’ve ever found in your pocket? This retired grandfather found $24.1 million!

A New Jersey man, 68-year-old Jimmie Smith, decided to check a stack of old lottery tickets in his shirt after seeing a TV report that the locally-won prize had yet to be claimed. Smith has been buying lottery tickets for decades, and doesn’t always bother to see if they are winners.

He almost missed out on becoming a millionaire. The winning numbers were among a stack of lottery tickets that had been forgotten in the pocket of an old shirt. He bought the winning ticket in May 2016, but didn’t claim the prize until almost a year later. With only a couple of days left to go, Smith urgently claimed his winning ticket just before it expired.

Salt Lake County Mayor Goes Undercover

While most of us would like to help the poor, most neighborhoods don’t relish the idea of homeless shelters nearby. That’s why Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams went undercover before signing a new law that would place a new homeless resource center among his constituents.

McAdams walked into Salt Lake City’s most troubled neighborhood with no money or identification, spending three days among the homeless in the Rio Grande neighborhood, both on the street and within one of the existing shelters.

This experience was not meant to be a publicity stunt, and it was kept secret for months. McAdams simply wished to be better informed, to see firsthand the complexity of the recommendations he was making. You can read more about what he found here.


Dr. Travis Royce