A look at positivity in 2020


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – In a year of uncertainty, it’s always good to remember the positives that came out of it. KELOLAND News takes look back on some of our favorite Positively KELOLAND stories in 2020.

Essential workers have played a big role throughout the pandemic.

Sioux Falls fifth grader Emerson Weber loves writing and mailing letters and she wanted to thank her mail carrier, Doug Scott, for all the work he has done.

“I just always thought I’m probably a handful with all the letters I send. So I wanted to write one to Doug. I didn’t know his name at first but then we got introduced to each other,” writes letters, Emerson Weber said.

Doug then shared the letter with a supervisor, and Emerson ended up going viral, letters started pouring in thanking her for her gratitude.

“Sometimes we pick up little notes and thank yous but this was a little thicker. So I opened it up and read it. It made my day. It was pretty special,” USPS carrier, Doug Scott said.

COVID-19 also took a toll on businesses.

But some employees at a Sioux Falls restaurant were feeling the love after someone left a generous tip at TC’s Referee.

“I was actually just cleaning off his table and all of a sudden Sean talked to him. He comes up and was like, hey, we just had a generous offer of a large tip. He wanted everybody who is not salaried to have a hundred dollars and that was amazing,” food server, Gerrit Pearson said.

“It was $1,450 is what he wanted to leave. The dishwashers and the cooks were like, what’s this? I go, it’s your lucky day, somebody out front said everybody that’s working, non-salary, I want them to have $100 and a lot of lit-up faces,” TC’s Referee manager Sean Bade said.

That helped out 14 employees. A gesture that means even more during times like these.

“I know you made all of their weeks. There’s at least two I know that they were wondering how they were going to get groceries this week because of rent and stuff coming up, so very cool,” Bade said.

Homecoming is a special time of year for high school students. In Huron, a well-deserved king was crowned.

Lauren Soulek: “Did you like being able to wear the crown and show it off, Jaylin?”

“Yes,” Jaylin said.

His mom says she wasn’t always sure Jaylin would even make it to his senior year of high school.

“When Jaylin was three months old, we found out that he was missing part of his brain, the Corpus Callosum. They told me he’d never walk, he wouldn’t talk, by the age of three he’d probably be in the children’s hospital,” Jaylin’s mom, Tasha Stahl said.

She says it’s good to see the support from his classmates.

“We all kind of have a good history with each other as far as being friends and just getting to know each other,” Jaylin’s classmate, Tristan Cardona said.

“In a world, that kindness is hard to find, it is great to see that these kids think that much of him even though he’s different and include him in their activities and don’t make fun of him. So I’m very proud of these kids and what they have done for Jaylin,” Stahl said.

You may remember this fundraising phenom.. It started out when six year old Jed Frank had been saving money to buy a new dirt bike.

Jed had been saving his allowance in a piggy bank. But he decided to donate $40 of it to charity to help feed the hungry.

“I just decided people who need help they would really want some help from people who can help them,” fundraising, Jed Frank said. “Because I thought people who are in need of food to celebrate the holidays.”

Then his dad posted on social media.

“I just thought wow that’s huge, I don’t know where that came from, because I don’t spend a lot of time reminding my kid to do that, so I thought we’d post it on Facebook and said ‘hey Jed is giving this much money does anybody want to match it,'” Jed’s father, Weston Frank said.

Letters from all over started coming in and when we interviewed them, they’d raised over $9,000.

“I can’t believe how many families we are going to be able to help,” Jed said.

To help spread some positivity to residents at Alcester Care and Rehab during the pandemic, staff came turned to social media. They posted photos of several residents who are willing to be your pen pal.

“We have about 1,800 shares on Facebook and I think we’re up to 160,000 views and 300 some comments,” Social Services Director, Jade Petersen said.

They were not expecting this much of a response.

“You can already tell the atmosphere in the facility is more cheery, now that everybody knows that there are people out there who care for these people and there’s a lot of them,” Petersen said.

While 2020 may of been one of the most difficult years, it’s stories like these that remind us of there are still plenty of reasons to smile.

If you have any ideas that you think are worth a positively KELOLAND story, send them to ushare@keloland.com.

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