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Hope dominated the Land of 10,000 Stories in 2019

These are the people who brightened the year.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The past year may be remembered for political squabbling, but rancor and division were scarce commodities in the Land of 10,000 Stories. These are the people who set aside differences and fostered hope, kindness and friendship in 2019.


  • Six college students moved into Watkins senior living in Winona, a merger of young and old that’s enriched the lives of both. http://bit.ly/34Gy5Lp

  • The ninth-grade boys in a Hastings High School phy-ed class formed a friendship with Loren Mollet, an 88-year-old veteran who walks laps on a community track in their gym. http://bit.ly/2rZXtxT

  • Four-year-old Cooper Baltzell became best friends with Gregory Watson, the janitor who cleaned Cooper's room during his frequent hospital stays. https://kare11.tv/2IDXrTh

  • A loon pair adopted and raised as their own a duckling that became separated from its mother. https://kare11.tv/2MACpWF


  • Katie Stellar carried in her car a chair from her salon to give hair cuts to homeless people she encounters. https://kare11.tv/2XY8yhF

  • The community of River Falls surprised Ty Burch - a young man with autism - with a new bike, his sole mode of transportation. http://bit.ly/2r6hz9p

  • The 5th grade class at Visitation School lifted the spirits of Jay Mitchell, a homeless man who lost parts of both feet to frostbite. http://bit.ly/35MFzO3

  • Roger Svendsen rid Phalen Park of more than 600,000 cigarette butts. https://kare11.tv/2lb5w7y

  • 88-year-old Art Mason delivered smiles at a McDonald’s drive-thru. https://kare11.tv/2HgjWMj

  • Becca Bundy gave Bill Cox a kidney after seeing his plea for help on a t-shirt. https://kare11.tv/2JORH8R


  • 88-year-old former coach Lou Cotroneo still meets monthly with his hockey players, more than 50 years after their graduation from Johnson High School. https://kare11.tv/2xPKrlK

  • War buddies Ted Cynor and Vern Ehnert reunited five decades after serving together in Vietnam. https://kare11.tv/2lJM8OZ

  • Bob Flach formed a friendship with a wild grouse who has helped Bob through the loss of his wife. https://kare11.tv/31MCRq2

  • Haley Donley had her senior photo taken while holding a portrait of Heather Doucette, her best friend who was killed in a car crash. http://bit.ly/346s6zF




  • Told money was tight, Isaiah Tuckett baked and sold enough cupcakes to take his entire family to Disney World. https://kare11.tv/2IdmZDP

  • 11-year-old Jonah Larson became a crocheting sensation. https://kare11.tv/2MAI4Kj

  • 10-year-old Elliot Tanner completed his sophomore year of college. https://kare11.tv/2GWHeFi

  • The Farmington High School robotics team built a power wheelchair for a two-year-old with special needs. https://kare11.tv/2FM2BcU

  • Suni Lee, a 16-year-old gymnast from St. Paul, finished second on the podium to Olympian Simone Biles, days after Suni’s father was paralyzed in an accident.  https://kare11.tv/2kVNIgB



  • The Edling family prevailed over death, disease and paralysis to bring in another crop of potatoes. https://kare11.tv/2m0Z1o8

  • Bill Waldschmidt repaired and donated dozens of power wheelchairs – from the seat of his own wheelchair. https://kare11.tv/2U5mhx9

  • Seth and Elizabeth Lintelman lost their home to foreclosure, before winning in a contest a struggling small-town café they’ve successfully re-made their own way. http://bit.ly/36ZCf2J

  • University of Minnesota engineering students helped Seemore, a sea turtle struck by a boat propeller, again explore her surroundings at Mall of America’s Sea Life. https://kare11.tv/2ViPGDV

  • Myron Peterson's brain injury left the school janitor with terrible headaches - and artistic talent he shared with students at Christian Heritage Academy. https://kare11.tv/2Fex0Rh

  • Lynette Winger was welcomed back to her job at Ellsworth Elementary School after suffering a massive heart attack - 25 years to the week after her 17-year-old son died from a cardiac arrest. http://bit.ly/38v2AGU

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