The next time you’re channel surfing, offer a thank you to Eugene Polley. Beginning his career in the stockroom of Zenith Electronics Corporation, Polley rose through the engineering ranks to invent the remote control device, called the Flash-Matic, in 1955. While another device existed prior to Polley’s creation, it required attachment to the television set. Eugene Polley’s remote worked like a flashlight, the beam of light making the magic happen. A short time later, however, his device was supplanted by… Read more

“Our number one goal is not winning games [but] to bring glory to God,” said Mark Steffens, an atypical sports coach guiding an uncommon soccer squad. Steffens coaches the Charlotte Eagles, members of the United Soccer League in North Carolina. Though they play at a professional level, the team’s focus is more on having players who “do the right thing” on and off the field.  As Elizabeth Johnson writes on, the team was established in 1993 with two goals:… Read more

A driver banged into another car as he pulled out of a supermarket parking lot in Oroville, California. The unidentified man got out of his care and left a note on the windshield of the vehicle he hit.  He then banged into two more cars, also leaving notes, before finally making it to the street. A bystander who saw what happened went to read what the driver wrote on the notes.  They read, “You’ll never guess who did this.” The… Read more

Fifty-two-year-old Albanian immigrant Gac Filipaj has worked as a janitor at Columbia University in Manhattan for half of his life.  And in May 2012, he was part of Columbia’s graduating class as well.  It took Filipaj 12 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in classics, but his work was worth the effort. “This is a man with great pride, whether he’s doing custodial work or academics,” declared Peter Awn, dean of Columbia’s School of General Studies.  “He’s one individual who… Read more

Because of his cerebral palsy, 15-year-old Alberto Zambrano of Queens, New York, spends a lot of time in his bedroom.  That’s why the transformation accomplished by the nonprofit Blissful Bedrooms brought him to tears. Run by husband and wife Alex and Martha Dvoryadkin, the charity relies on volunteers and small Internet donations to help redecorate the bedrooms of severely disabled children.  “If they’re going to spend all of their time in their bedroom, we want it to be a sanctuary,”… Read more

In 2004, Eric Strauss, an ABC News producer for the network’s Primetime series, traveled to Texas to profile Bridget Kelly.  Two years earlier, at age 24, Kelly had been the victim of a brutal attack in which she was kidnapped, raped, shot repeatedly, and left for dead.  She miraculously survived her ordeal and became an advocate for victims of sexual violence. Kelly eventually left Texas to attend New York University.   One day, she and Strauss met for a friendly lunch. … Read more

Living with Grateful Hearts How many times a day do you say “thank you?” In Uganda, East Africa, being thankful goes far beyond politeness—it is a way of life. According to Sister Mary Margaret Lavonis, the ideals of gratitude are ingrained in Ugandans at a young age.  This principle is known as “webali,” or “an expression of gratitude for all God’s gifts, no matter how big or small.” After learning about this tradition, Sister Lavonis admitted, “There are so many… Read more

A new popular dining spot in Warrenton, Virginia, Bistro on the Hill, offers good food, a great view, and musical accompaniment by a retired piano player.  It’s also the cafeteria of Fauquier Hospital. “We believe that food is nurturing,” says Zach Erickson, Fauquier’s director of nutrition services.  A trained chef, he and his staff go to a lot of trouble to keep the meals as healthy as possible. A “culinary healing garden” just outside the Bistro provides fresh produce, which… Read more

Eleven-year-old Bailey Browning of Roanoke County, Virginia, admires the heroes on the action-adventure TV series Chuck, but she herself is a real-life hero for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The middle schooler first got involved with raising money for the Tennessee hospital six years ago when her kindergarten teacher, Joy Watson, launched a St. Jude Math-a-Thon on behalf of a student with leukemia.  Participants earn donations for every math problem they finish.  The money is then given to… Read more

In his book That Your Joy May Be Full, Father John Catoir, former Director of The Christophers, shares a story about Catherine Marshall, author of the best-seller Christy.  She and her husband decided to make a concerted effort to practice forgiveness the way Jesus called us to. Each day, they wrote down any grievance they had against anybody, read those grievances aloud, forgave the persons involved, then destroyed the papers.  The practice, they found, helped cleanse them of resentment. Father… Read more

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