ACROSS AMERICA — In Jordan Diggs’ family, football is part of their DNA. Like the other men in the New Jersey teen’s family, he had a passion for the game.
He was “too small” to play, he was told. Most kids in that position would walk away. Diggs didn’t. He was devastated, of course, but got it together.
“They're going to remember me in this town and that I'm going to use this sport to make it known that size does not matter,” he told himself.
They sure will. The captain of his team and a tailback who rushed for 1,200 yards, the 5-foot-6-inch, 165-pound Diggs is up for a big award. By Eric Kiefer for Montclair Patch
Below are 14 more stories from Patch editors across America that show the grit, determination and resolve.
The Sound Of Music
Sometimes an Eagle Scout community project is more than a project. If the magic ingredients are a love of music, a beloved band director's old instruments, and a great nonprofit with professional volunteers, just add one supportive and inquiring neighbor, and poof! Kids around Philadelphia who want to learn music have instruments. By Marlene Lang for Tredyffrin-Easttown Patch
Hear Her Voice
If you think Girl Scouts earn a few merit badges while enjoying the camaraderie of others their age, try to best their own cookie sale records and that’s about it, Therese Malinowski is here to disabuse you of that notion. The suburban Chicago woman, now a freshman in college, began compiling a sexual assault database as an eighth-grader after one of her friends was sexually assaulted. She was recently named a National Gold Award Girl Scout for her effort to “speak truth to power, challenge the status quo and take action to change the world for the better.” By Lisa Marie Farver for Downers Grove Patch
Back To The Future
Woodworker Anton David unearthed quite a find while preparing a corner lot in Hoboken, New Jersey, for an eyeglass store — a century-old wooden bowling alley. Among the three underground bowling lanes, he found pins, balls, and a rusty can of Schaefer Beer, a company that dates back to 1842. (Prohibition ran from January 1920 through December 1933, but it's hard to tell just when the can was quaffed.) By Caren Lissner for Hoboken Patch
Friends Through Tough Times
As sorority sisters years ago, Trisha Poole and Keri Stromski shared laughter and made memories, not knowing that years later they’d reconnect over something else they share — a battle against breast cancer. When an online fundraiser was organized for one of them, she gave the proceeds to the other’s oncologist to advance breast cancer research. By Lisa Finn for North Fork Patch
“Plenty Special” 100th Birthday
Helen Duszynski’s family didn’t expect to celebrate her 100th birthday from a distance. But the coronavirus pandemic demanded it, so the New Jersey woman’s family got creative. A stream of well-wishers paraded by, from members of the Toms River Police Department to Toms River Patch readers who heard about the milestone birthday and wanted to join a celebration the centenarian later said was “plenty special.” By Karen Wall for Toms River Patch
Her Desire To Give Blooms
Brianna Emplit is only in the fourth grade, but she took it seriously when she learned that not all of her classmates were able to afford internet service for virtual school. She and her family had been doing a lot of crafts during the pandemic, including flower pens with colorful petals made of duct tape. Brianna was good at it and thought she could turn the fun project into a business that would help others. The idea “bloomed” from there, and her Pennsylvania community is able to help more people through its “Together We Can” initiative. By Marlene Lang for Phoenixville Patch
Take A Bite Of This, Coronavirus
Kim Kornfeld has always liked to bake, a culinary skill she learned from her mother. Her husband, Alec, loved her classic chocolate chip cookies and wondered why she wasn’t selling them. Others’ reactions proved to her he wasn’t just being nice. So when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the couple started experimenting with from-scratch Italian rainbow cookies and stuffing them into larger cookies. Thus, The Kookie Jar LI was born. By Michael DeSantis for Commack Patch
Your Money’s No Good Here
First, Madeline Richer gave up “fast fashion,” a term that stores use to promote trends and pressure consumers to buy whatever the latest is, when she made up her mind to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. She haunted thrift shops and clothing swaps in her Upper Manhattan neighborhood until the pandemic shuttered them, then turned to social media to ask what her neighbors were doing. With a couple of others, her neighborhood is now part of the Buy Nothing Project, a global social movement that lets local groups form Facebook pages to create "gift economies" in which people can exchange and ask for products for free. By Gus Saltonstall for Washington Heights-Inwood Patch
Putting You In, Coach
Few know more about building a legacy than Darrell Standish, who was heavily involved in youth sports in New Berlin, Wisconsin, until he was sidelined by Lou Gehrig’s disease. He’s put so many kids in the game that he’s a legend around town — but his name, his face and his contributions will be remembered for years to come when young athletes take the field now named after him for the countless ways he’s made life better for kids growing up in New Berlin. By Payton Potter for New Berlin Patch
Another Legacy Honored
K-9 Jada was the first canine officer in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and she had been on the job with her partner, Officer Christopher Laver, for about four years when she went from appearing healthy when she reported for her shift to needing an emergency trip to the vet’s office a few hours into it. But the work she did will go on after community members raised, in a single day, the money needed to train a replacement, “a true testament to how amazing our community is,” Laver said. By Russ Crespolini for Hackettstown Patch
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has earned national praise for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in his state, and now a fundraiser is capitalizing on his reputation. The National Bobblehead Museum and Hall of Fame unveiled a Hogan figurine that raises money for personal protective equipment in a joint effort with Protect the Heroes and the 100 Million Mask Challenge. Bobbleheads honoring Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be offered, too. But, just sayin', shouldn't they be wearing masks? By Jacob Baumgart for Annapolis Patch
Puppies Are Big Winners
The 15 French bulldogs rescued from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport late this summer will be allowed to remain in the United States permanently — a big win for the puppies found living without food and water in deplorable conditions in a warehouse. By Abhinanda Datta for Chicago Patch
Well, Hello There
It’s been more than two decades since a Chilean flamingo chick hatched at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Cranston, Rhode Island, and the video of a new arrival is beyond precious. Here’s your fun flamingo fact for the week: They’re known for their signature pink coloring and curved bills, but their curves and magnificent feathers come with maturity. By Rachel Nunes for Cranston Patch
The Great Cow Amble
The term “race” is used loosely to describe the first-ever event to raise money for Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Virginia. The 11-cow race, which replaces a harvest festival that is an important source of revenue for the park, is more of “an amble,” the park manager said, “because cows generally don’t move that fast.” By Michael O’Connell for Fairfax Patch