Where do critical thinkers find good news? A regular feature on NBC’s Nightly News is Making a Difference and it’s the part of the news that helps us believe there is good news out there. Our family looks forward to that brief part of the nightly report. Tonight’s feature focused on a family in Grafton, WI and how the community rallied around them in their time of need. The project was called Hometown Heroes and it was inspiring. Instead of devoting just a couple minutes of the 30 minute broadcast, this story continued on NBC’s Dateline with a special edition called America Now: A Circle of Hands.
Ann Curry reported, “What’s special about the people of this community is that what some would see as adversity, they saw as opportunity.”
Karen Longoria is a single mother and the center of the family. Two of her triplets were born with cerebral palsy and a host of other medical difficulties. They were then diagnosed with an irreversible degenerative disorder called spinal muscular atrophy at 13. Soon they were mostly confined to wheelchairs and there wasn’t money to remodel the home. Then more devastating news came when Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Jim Kacmarcik, a Grafton businessman, learned about the family and decided he had to help. When ABC’s Extreme Makeover rejected the family’s bid to be on the show, Kacmarcik spearheaded the effort to form Hometown Heroes. The town rallied and rescued a family. He said, “We called for heroes and they were there.” More than 1,000 people answered that call and donated their time and money to the effort. In doing so, they made a difference in the lives of this family and also strengthened their community.
When we see the power of grassroots initiatives like these, it does more than inspire. It also helps to restore our faith in our media. The media does report good news. Critical thinkers just have to look for it.