Here are five of the most heartwarming stories from this holiday season.
1. City Wish creates magical evening for kids with cancer
Huber Heights mom Brandi Stoll lost her 3-year-old son to a drowning this summer and wanted to do something to help other kids in his memory. So, she went to her pastor with the idea, and Engage City Church ultimately delivered a “City Wish” for three area children battling cancer.
The Wayne High School gym, which hosts the church, transformed into a winter wonderland with snowmen, evergreen trees, fairies, elves and Santa Claus, and for one magical evening the kids were able to forget their battle with cancer.
3. Community members make bears for children in the hospital over the holidays
Community members recently gathered at the Build-A-Bear Workshop at The Mall at Fairfield Commons to make bears for children that would be in the hospital for the holidays.
The event began 10 years ago with The Hess Family and friends making 12 bears to donate to kids admitted into the emergency room at Dayton Children’s Hospital over the holidays. Its grown over the years into a community act of philanthropy with the making of 283 bears last year.
4. Waffle House employees get surprise tips for Christmas
In Wapakoneta, five workers at Waffle House got a big surprise from a Celina church on Christmas Eve.
The Grand Lake United Methodist Church’s lead pastor asked each family in his congregation to save $1 a week during advent, then told them during a Christmas Eve service they’d be taking the money collected - $3,577 - to the nearest restaurant open for Christmas, where servers would be unable to be home with their families.
That was the Waffle House in Wapakoneta. Almost 70 church members joined the pastor in delivering the largest tips those servers likely have ever received.
5. Community helps local police officer who lost his home in a fire
A devastating fire brought out the best in the Oxford community in recent weeks.
After Oxford police officer Pete Durkin lost his home in a Dec. 14 fire, the community quickly organized a Dec. 23 fundraiser at Fiesta Charra in uptown Oxford to raise money for his family, which lost everything in the blaze and has since been displaced.
The restaurant donated 10 percent of all revenue from the event to the Durkins, and more than 35 items were donated for a raffle and silent auction. Community members also reached out to the Oxford police department via phone, email and social media, with many dropping off cash, checks and gift cards for the Durkins, and a GoFundMe page called “Fire Relief for Pete and Desi Durkin” has raised more than $6,000 of its $10,000 goal.