6 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.

COVID Grief Network provides support for young adults

Chloe Zelkha understands what it’s like to lose a parent. Four years ago, when she had just turned 26, her father died suddenly from an aortic aneurysm.

As a result of that life-changing experience, the Cincinnati woman feels she’s able to relate to others her age who’ve experienced sudden loss. In these challenging times, Zelkha has found her calling as the co-founder of the COVID Grief Network for Young Adults. The mission of the organization is to connect young people who are grieving with others in their 20s and 30s who know and understand. “This is a huge crisis and there are a lot of folks who need care right now,” says the first-year student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where she is studying to become a rabbi. “Being in community together is a powerful connection.”

What’s so different about the deaths and illnesses during this past year, she says, is that it can be difficult for mourners to find closure when they didn’t get to say goodbye to their loved one in person and didn’t get to mark the loss in a way that they would in normal times.


Neighbor’s issue with ‘Frank’ the gargoyle has blown up into charitable internet saga

The saga started in early December with Union, Ohio, resident Denise Starr’s gargoyle in front of her home’s front door. Starr, a veterinarian in Englewood, received a note informing her the gargoyle statue — lovingly named Frank — is “not appropriate” and “not in keeping with the Christmas spirit.”

“They firmly suggested that I “rectify the situation immediately,” stated the first post on Dec. 12 to Frank’s new Facebook fan page. “Well problem solved! Frank is now festive! I’m pretty sure that this is not what they had in mind and I look forward to the future note stating as much, but 1. Frank is very heavy and he doesn’t get moved and 2. I like him even if he’s not so great at warding off evil Karens.”

After one of Starr’s friends asked to share it with their own following, Frank’s story quickly went viral in December. Overnight, Starr was getting around 1,000 messages a day from users about how much humor and joy the simple prank brought to their day.


Northmont paraprofessional relates to students with life, laughter

Englewood resident Kenny Carpenter, 48, has had quite a life, a productive mix of tragic and comic. A shy child, he survived what would seem insurmountable obstacles, but uses his experiences to help troubled students at Northmont High School through humor and empathy.

A Springfield native, Carpenter went into the foster care system at age 9. “My mother had mental health problems and couldn’t take care of me, so I was moved around into 13 different foster homes in Springfield and Dayton, then into a group home, and finally independent living.”

“In addition to working with mainly one teacher’s class, he’s spoken to the student body as a whole, and helps students and staff to realize that we never know what others have been through. He’s a role model for students in the classroom and the building as a whole.”


Airmen’s heroism, quick-thinking saves two lives

Credit: Air Force Materiel Command

Credit: Air Force Materiel Command

On March 23, what could have been a dire situation ended in the saving of two lives – thanks to the valor and heroism of two 88th Medical Group Airmen.

That Tuesday morning, Capt. Carly Kerr, an intensive care unit nurse at Wright-Patterson Medical Center, was driving to base on her day off to assist with a vaccination pod when she witnessed a rollover-vehicle accident on Interstate 675 in Beavercreek.

As soon as Kerr arrived on scene, she realized there was a male still in the vehicle’s front-passenger side, while the female driver had been ejected from the vehicle with a potentially fatal leg injury.


Beavercreek high schooler tutors students around the world through nonprofit

A Dayton-area high school student has been busy helping students with their studies across the world, and is extending a helping hand to local students, too.

Tutoring4All — a nonprofit organization owned and run by students, for students — is a free, virtual tutoring resource and nonprofit organization for students across the world. John Wang, a junior at Beavercreek High School, is a chief administrator and chief marketing officer in the organization.

Wang discovered the online platform in early 2020 when he was looking for helpful resources while preparing for advanced-placement tests for college applications.

“I just really enjoy teaching,” Wang said. “I just get this feeling of gratitude.”


New species of owl found in the Amazon named for Dayton-born nun Dorothy Stang

A new species of screech owl discovered in the Amazon has been named for Sister Dorothy Stang, a Dayton-born nun.

A recently published study in the scientific journal Zootaxa, written by an international team of researchers for the United States, Finland and Brazil, outlined the discovery along with that of a second screech owl found in the Atlantic Forest.

Stang was gunned down Feb. 12, 2005, in the Brazilian rainforest she devoted her life to protecting. A Brazilian rancher hired gunmen to assassinate the nun.


About the Author