From daring rescues to medical breakthroughs here are 12 of the happiest


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Finding uplifting news stories in a year marked by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the perilous evacuations of U. S. citizens and troops from Afghanistan, devastating mass shootings and an unprecedented attack on the U. S. Capitol may prove difficult. But alongside the challenges the country faced in 2021 were tales of perseverance, bravery and the will to survive. Scientific breakthroughs were made, endangered species endured and everyday people became superheroes. The multitude of stories that inspired us to keep going through trying times are too many to count. Here are 12 of the best to end the year on a high note. Frances Kompus had a few reasons to celebrate on Nov. 11. Not only had the Atwood, Kansas resident reached a milestone 100th birthday, but her older sisters were there to help her celebrate. The youngest of three daughters, Kompus lives next door to sisters Julia Kopriva, 104, and Lucy Pochop, 102. The siblings were constant companions growing up on their family farm in Beardsley, about 9 miles from Atwood. The sisters partied at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Atwood with 50 others to commemorate the occasion. Kompus credits “good home food” on the farm to her longevity and says being social and walking a lot has also helped.”Keep going,” she advised, according to local news outlets. Wanda Dench of Mesa, Arizona meant to send a text to her grandson inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner in 2016. But Jamal Hinton, a teenager at the time and a stranger to Dench, got the message. The mix-up soon became apparent, but Hinton still asked to “get a plate,” to which Dench obliged. Thus began a six-year friendship between teen and grandmother. Hinton has been invited to join the Dench’s each year since for Thanksgiving dinner, and every holiday is commemorated with a family photo. The heartwarming story soon went viral on social media and media streaming company Netflix recently announced it will adapt it to the big screen, according to The Arizona Republic. The families have changed over the years. Hinton now has a girlfriend and Wanda’s husband, Lonnie, died of COVID-19 in 2020. But the Thanksgiving tradition has continued.”We’re more of extended family and, best of all, friends,” Dench told the Arizona Republic in 2017. Georgia Institute of Technology welcomed its students back to class in August along with a special addition: Caleb Anderson, a 13-year-old aerospace engineering hopeful and the youngest student on campus. Anderson was accepted to Georgia Tech at the age of 12 and started the semester as a sophomore after taking courses at Chattahoochee Technical College for advanced credits. The teen described his first day as “pretty interesting,” according to a statement from the university. Anderson’s talent was bolstered by tuition assistance from the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, founded by TV personality Steve Harvey and his wife, Good Morning America reported.

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