Good News Americans #4

A 19-year-old young man in Arkansas was shopping in a Wal-Mart there when he noticed a wallet that had been left in a shopping cart.  Without hesitation, the young man decided to try to return the wallet to its owner, who happened to be a 61-year-old grandmother.  It took some doing but young Delivontae Johnson finally located the lady and personally delivered the wallet to her. The woman was surprised, overjoyed, and ever thankful.  Said she: “Everything I had was in that wallet.  And someone took the time to get it and return it to me.”  And young Mr. Johnson revealed what had led him to do this kind deed: “My mom always told me that if you do good things, good things will always fall back on you.”  The two individuals have since become good friends, trading invitations to subsequent family events.  A great story of kindness and responsibility. Clearly Mr. Johnson had a terrific upbringing. And in that regard, it should be noted that the grateful grandmother is white, and Mr. Johnson is black. Making this story all the better in these turbulent times.

Continuing with positive teenager news, three students attending a rural Texas high school made a commitment to aid their school’s 80-year-old janitor.  They began a GoFundMe effort, posting with it pictures of the elderly man at work, with the following message: “This is our 80 y/o janitor who had his rent raised and had to come back to work. Let’s help Mr. James out.  No one his age should have to be cleaning our messes to continue to live.” Their powerful and persuasive youthful message raised more than $270,000, from over 8,600 donors, all in hopes of making it possible for their beloved janitor to retire again.  Despite not only his rent, but other expenses increasing as well, with this terrific outpouring of financial support, the very humbled, honored and extremely grateful Mr. James will, indeed, be able to finally retire and enjoy it.  Thanks to those terrific three teen-age students who made the effort to raise a surprisingly large amount of money in order to help out a very senior citizen working in their midst whom they really cared about.

On her way home from work, Connecticut middle school teacher Heather Sica-Leonard unexpectedly became a hero.  A gentleman in front of her on an off-ramp, driving himself in a mobility-assisted van using a wheelchair, had pulled to the side when he smelled smoke, followed quickly by flames! Seeing the smoke, Mrs. Sica-Leonard stopped and didn’t hesitate to rush to the stricken driver’s aid. Said responding fire officials later: “She immediately stopped, approached the burning vehicle, and selflessly got the driver and his wheelchair out of the car, and moved him to safety, all at great personal risk to injury.”  Said Mrs. Sica-Leonard later: “I just reacted to what looked like a driver struggling and a vehicle smoking.”  She hadn’t realized that there was also fire because it was burning under the dash.  Clearly, in hindsight, this “humble teacher” could have been seriously burned and injured.  But she instinctively focused on getting this gentleman, and his wheelchair(!), out of the car and away from danger. Far from the usual quiet drive home from work, on that particular late afternoon, quite unexpectedly, Mrs. Sica-Leonard became a genuine life-saving hero.

So, thinking back, you might be feeling pretty good about how well you did in high school and then, at age 18, you were off to college.  Well, here’s a bubble-buster for you. Nine-year-old, that’s 9-year-old, David Balogun of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has now, already, graduated from high school.  He reportedly “tested out of elementary and middle school,” took on-line classes at home during the pandemic, and earned his H.S. diploma in three years.

Said this young prodigy about his future plans: “We’re looking into Ivy League colleges right now. And I’m looking into careers in astrophysics, engineering, software development, rocket engineering, nuclear chemistry, website development, and robotic engineering.” Yes, sir, just a typical nine-year-old.

David’s parents realized he had an amazing, retentive mind several years back. Said his Dad, Henry: “It’s been an incredible journey and we are just grateful to God.  David has always been curious and just always wanted to know new things.  He never stopped asking questions. And his photographic memory is one of his blessings.” Young David Balogun is indeed fortunate to have, among other gifts, such great, supportive parents.  No question, his future certainly looks bright, and very likely well beyond.

Continuing with education along a mightily different track, East Cleveland, Ohio career auto mechanic, Carl Allamby, recalled having a childhood “desire to become a doctor, but my life circumstances led me to a much different place.” His family was financially poor, depending on government welfare, and even with that, there were times when his family “went without lights, gas, or water.” Said he: “It’s very difficult to focus on your education when your mind is filled with challenges outside the walls of the school.”

Working at an auto parts store during high school, he took a real risk when, upon graduation, he opened his own auto repair business “out of desperation and necessity.” He eventually began working slowly toward a college major in business, but a required biology course changed both his mind and his direction. Remembering his childhood dream, in 2010, he began taking pre-med classes at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. For the next five-years, he took as many classes in medicine as he could, while continuing to run his business and tend to his, by then, wife and child. “My exit from business could not be abrupt,” said Allamby. “I had too many people counting on me and too many bills to maintain.”

Finally, in 2015, auto mechanic and businessman, Carl Allamby began med school at Northeast Ohio Medical University.  And the rest, as they say, is finally very positive history.  Dr. Carl Allamby graduated and began his long-dreamed-of practice of medicine at age 51!  Some career dreams can come true for those who, despite detours, are patient and work incredibly hard, in order to achieve them.

With aspirations of becoming a teacher, Joyce DeFauw enrolled in Northern Illinois University in 1951. Then, as can happen, while there she met “Mr. Right,” got married, and dropped out of school.  While raising several children, and enjoying eventual grandchildren, the regret from dropping her collegiate studies decades earlier would increasing come to mind.  So, in 2019, Joyce DeFauw enrolled again at NIU, “with her original 1951 student ID in hand”! And in December of last year, she walked across that NIU stage with something far more valuable in hand: her graduation certificate.  Seven decades late, at age 90, great-grandmother Joyce DeFauw fulfilled her long-held dream of finally becoming a college graduate.

Next: So, like most days, it’s just another day’s lunchtime stop at a near-by fast-food restaurant drive-thru.  Except that it wasn’t. Joann Oliver of Jackson, Georgia, took her ordered lunch back to her workplace.  Opened the bag and found her sandwich along with something else. Accompanying her burger was a bag of cash, totaling over $500!  As she found out later, this was the restaurant’s intended bank deposit, somehow mistakenly placed in Joann Oliver’s order bag.  So, now, a lunchtime dilemma. This dear lady had just “won” $500, a nice added take-home for a working woman.  But instead, Mrs. Oliver did the right thing. She called the police who, in following up with the restaurant determined how the mistaken “gift” ended up literally in her lap.  Money returned.  Case closed.  And one employee no doubt counseled on the difference between a sandwich and a bank deposit! Another honest American who chose, as she’d been taught, to do the right thing. Parental teaching and instinct for honesty so often lead us to the right pathway.

To close this edition, two continuing thanks to our ever-outstanding United States military.  First, as two jewelry store robbers attempted to exit a shopping mall near Los Angeles, they picked the wrong mall. Located quite close to that jewelry store is a Marine Corps Recruiting Station!  Once alerted, the Marines were quick to respond, taking down two of the suspects (two had already escaped).  “It was the Marines,” said a patron. “They stepped up and tackled them down.”  Great work, far beyond recruiting, by these terrific Marines.

And finally, the everywhere and ever-ready at-sea enemy of illegal drug smugglers, back in December, the United States Coast Guard captured and brought in $475-million worth of drugs taken from smugglers in the Caribbean Sea and unloaded in Miami.  Most of this haul was cocaine, with some marijuana.  Along with the assistance of other CG crews “we significantly contributed to the counter-drug mission. The drugs seized through this coordinated effort will result in significantly fewer drug-related overdoses,” said the CG Cutter ‘Legare’s’ commander.  Congratulations to these courageous, devoted Coast Guardsmen, along with all of their colleagues, in continual service to protecting America’s shores.  Coast Guard operating standard: “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready).


(Fact sources: Helpful Arkansas teenager via, Vanessa Serna, 2-22-23;, Patrick Reilly, 2-24-23; Teacher saves handicapped driver via, Ruth Bashinsky, 2-25-23; Nine-year-old child prodigy via, Yael Halon, 2-11-23; Auto repair owner becomes a physician via, Shiv Sudhakar, 9-19-22; 90-year-old college graduate via, Ethan Letkeman, 12-11-22; Mistaken $500 put in lunch bag via, Greg Wilson, 9-15-22; Marine recruiters to the rescue via, Louis Casiano, 12-22-22; Coast Guard drug seizure via, Patrick Reilly, 9-17-22).