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Kentucky second-grader with Down syndrome qualifies for regional spelling bee

A Kentucky girl with Down syndrome qualified for a regional spelling bee, WLKY reported.

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Sosie Smith, a second-grader at Christian Academy of Louisville's Providence School, qualified after winning the bee in her class, with “joyous” the word that gave her the championship. She will compete in a regional event next week, WLKY reported.

Sosie’s mother, Tara Smith, told WLKY that her daughter has always loved words and reading.

"My job as a mom is to find those little gifts and accentuate them and try to bring them out as best as I can," she said.

Smith told WLKY that she hopes Sosie's story will encourage other special-needs children.

"She keeps hitting these milestones and exceeding my expectations," Smith said. "I just hope to open their eyes a little bit and enlighten them that the capabilities are there."

New York dad emerges from 61-day coma

The last thing Robert Crain remembered was visiting the emergency room to have his nagging cough checked out.

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That was on Oct. 3, 2017. Sixty-one days later, the 47-year-old woke from a medically induced coma. And on Feb. 14, 2018, he was discharged from Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.

"For me, it just seemed like I woke up from a nap,'' Crain told Syracuse.com. "Then I realized I missed Thanksgiving and Christmas and all that time with my family."

Crain’s lungs and kidneys had shut down in October. He lost 50 pounds during his time in the hospital and now must use a cane to walk, Syracuse.com reported.

“It was awful,” said Crain’s wife of 10 years, Marcela Crain. “My brain heard them say he wasn't doing well and wasn't improving, but my heart wouldn't accept it. I went to the chapel every day at the hospital and prayed, and my daughter and I prayed every night.”

Robert Crain was kept alive by a heart/lung bypass machine, spending more time on it than any other patient in the hospital’s history, Syracuse.com reported.

Crain said he remembered nothing from Oct. 3 until Jan. 8. His doctors pulled him out of his coma gradually. When he came to, Crain said he was “stunned” when a nurse told him what day it was, Syracuse.com reported.

Robert Crain’s recovery and discharge from the hospital was a banner day for his wife and their 8-year-old daughter, Isabella. 

"This is the most amazing, special day,'' Marcela Crain said. “Never give up hope. I always believed he would come back to me."

Marcela Crain said the family put Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas on hold, refusing to celebrate it without Robert. She told Syracuse.com the family would celebrate all three holidays into a single day when he is stronger.

Family’s pit bull protects boy, 9, from intruder, police say

A family’s pit bull protected a 9-year-old boy who was home alone, scaring off a burglar Wednesday afternoon, according to police

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The boy, who is not being identified, was upstairs while his mother went to pick up his siblings from school around 5 p.m. when the burglar entered the front door, according to the Linconl Journal Star

The boy came downstairs thinking his mother had returned, only to lock eyes with the intruder. 

“He started chasing me upstairs and I called my dog down and they started to fight when my dog got downstairs," the boy told KLKN

That’s when Baby Girl, the family’s pit bull, sprang into action. She jumped between the boy and the burglar, who ran from the house without taking anything, according to KLKN.

"The dude pulled the blinds down on my dog's head and then ran away and shut the door," the boy told KLKN

The boy ran to a neighbor’s house and called police. 

Lincoln police said the parents of the 9-year-old will not be cited for leaving the child home alone. 

Baby Girl was treated to a lollipop for her heroic actions.

Firefighters help with partner’s baby gender reveal announcement

Even the toughest of firefighters have a soft spot for babies. 

Members of the City of Decatur, Georgia, Fire Department helped a fellow firefighter find out if he’s having a boy or a girl. 

>> Read more trending news 

As the YouTube post said, only the pump operator knew as buckets of blue-tinted and of pink-tinted water sat nearby.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Firefighter Tubbs and his wife manned the hose that first shot out normal water, then quickly changed to pink as the rest of the fire crews waited and recorded the special moment. 

It’s a girl for The Tubbs family.

Classmate saves student when she starts choking on candy

An 8 -year-old boy is being called a hero when he noticed a classmate was choking on a piece of candy.

Andrew Ramirez knew just what to do when his friend Makayla Annis was in trouble.

“My desk partner made me laugh too hard when I ate a gummy bear and then I kind of tried to swallow it and I started choking,” Makayla told KFSN.

>> Read more trending news 

Andrew said he saw her choking and grabbing at her neck so he gave her the Heimlich maneuver. 

But his dad didn’t believe the story that Andrew told him. His dad’s a doctor in the area and was surprised that not only was the story Andrew told him confirmed by Andrew’s mother, but also that the boy knew what to do.

Dr. Rene Ramirez said he didn’t realize that Andrew had practiced doing the Heimlich.

“If they’re choking you get them right around here and you just push back like you’re giving them a really big hug,” Andrew explained to KFSN.

And the medical knowledge Andrew already has may be the first step in a medical career.

“I would like to be a doctor very, very much,” Andrew told KFSN.

“I did let him know if he is to be an emergency doctor, he got his first save,” Rene Ramirez told KFSN.

Couple who lost everything in fire wins $1 million lottery

A couple in Canada can now start rebuilding their lives after they were big winners in the Atlantic Lottery.

Bill Pendergast and his wife accepted a $1 million check this month, nearly two years after their home and all their belongings were destroyed in a wildfire.

The May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire destroyed their home, along with about 10 percent of the Alberta, Canada, town, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Pendergast was recently visiting his sick father in Newfoundland, who ask him to get a soda at a store, the BBC reported. He bought a ticket at the local gas station on a whim. The next morning, he found out he was a new millionaire, CNN reported. He then called his wife, who hopped on a plane to Newfoundland to help her husband cash in on his newfound money, CNN reported.

The money, the couple said, will be used mostly to help put the pieces back together, including finishing construction on their new home, CBC reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“Our rebuild should be finished in the next two to four months, so this is going to go a long way towards that,” Pendergast told CBC.

The family, including the couple’s five sons, is also going to take a family vacation, CBC reported.

But there is one thing the lucky winner always wanted that will now become a reality.

“I have always wanted a Mustang, and I will finally have one, I’m 100% sure of that,” Pendergast told CNN.

Video: Hungry sloth infiltrates café in slowest burglary ever

The owners of a café in Costa Rica got a surprise Christmas visit from a burglar, albeit a pretty lethargic one.

Surveillance footage from Café Milagro in Manuel Antonio shows a sloth sneaking into the restaurant after hours in search of a snack. The café’s owners, Travis Day and Adrienne Pellizzari, posted the video to Facebook on Dec. 20.

“The greatest #sloth video you will see this holiday season,” the post read. “When was the last time you had to kick a sloth out of your bar?”

Day told the Daily Mail that the café is often visited by monkeys or toucans during the day, but that the sloth was the first of his kind to make such a brazen move. 

“The sloth must’ve slipped through the gates after we’d already closed,” Day said. “They’re very common in the area.”

The video posted on the café’s Facebook page begins with a version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” sloth-style.

“Twas the week before Christmas, when all thru the café, not a creature was stirring, but for a sloth who came to play,” text at the start of the video reads.

The surveillance footage begins with the sloth emerging from beneath the counter, eyes glowing in the light from the camera. He climbs onto the counter and begins spinning a display rack playfully as he searches for food.

>> Read more trending news

The creature’s downfall literally comes when he starts snooping under a piece of cloth covering what appears to be a chair and -- eventually -- loses his footing. He takes a header onto the floor.

The commotion caught the attention of a security guard, who thwarted the leaden larcenist, the Daily Mail reported. Day and Pellizzari were called to the café in their pajamas to rescue the hapless creature and return him to the outdoors.

They watched the footage of his caper the following morning.

“We didn’t realize just how hilarious it was until we shared it with family and friends,” Day said.

The video was spread widely across social media. Day and Pellizzari are enjoying the sloth’s moment in the spotlight, which, like the sloth himself, is proving slow to fade away.

“So, how about that time even National Geographic was sharing our #sloth burglary video!?” they posted on Facebook Tuesday, a day after the video was shared on National Geographic’s website and social media pages

“While we have sloths that can regularly be seen in nearby trees, this was the first invasion of our actual restaurant,” Day told the Daily Mail. “We have a resident sloth named Terrance who can regularly be found behind our restaurant, but this one was a new visitor.” 

All Sting the library dog wanted was to listen to kids read, but no one showed up

The sad puppy dog eyes were enough to melt hearts all over the country.

Sting the dog went to his local library last week to have children read to him. But no one showed up for the Paws to Read programWCCO reported.

Sting, who is a retired greyhound racer, is used as a therapy dog to help kids become more confident in reading. 

>> Read more trending news 

His owner, John Muellner, posted the lonely dog’s photos to Facebook to hopefully find a child to practice his or her reading with Sting.

>>Lonely-looking greyhound waits for children to read to him

And the post worked, getting more than 26,000 comments and 100,000 shares.

The post didn’t stay local either, with Muellner getting responses from Australia and Argentina, WCCO reported.

Some are even offering to drive across the country to read to Sting, while others are taking a high-tech route, asking librarians to hold the phone to the dog’s ear as they read, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Sting usually holds an hourlong visit with his readers, with three children reading books to him. Each gets about 20 minutes to read to Sting, the “Today” show reported.

After his viral post, Sting’s booked through April now, the “Today” show reported.

Valentine’s Day: This amazing love story begins with a blind date and wedding days later

LaNelle and Perry Holland’s love story begins with a blind date on a winter evening in 1968.

A mutual friend invited LaNelle to join him in a gathering at Perry’s house in Kennesaw, Georgia. By the time LaNelle arrived, the roads were slick with ice. It was too dangerous to drive anywhere.

>> Read more trending news 

The Hollands’ first date never left a living room couch.

Instantly smitten, LaNelle and Perry stayed up through the night talking about music, politics, sports (they were both passionate Georgia Tech football fans).

Just a few days later, Perry proposed. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Sometimes people wait years, even decades, to find The One. For this lucky couple now in their early 70s, they were struck by Cupid’s arrow on a quiet winter evening and then tied the knot after knowing each other just two weeks.

What they didn’t know back in 1968 is how they would grow together and develop a passion for teaching and caring for children in their community. They would speak up, even march for social justice.

Read more about their amazing love story and how they would build a family beyond their own here at myajc.com. 

Man honors wife’s memory after buying her flowers for 59 years 

It’s Friday happy hour at Lakeline Oaks Retirement Resort and the boxed wine is flowing.

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Nearly 40 residents crowd the lounge, where a folk singer is crooning and a line dance to “Elvira” is under discussion.

But when Andy Carver enters the room, with a bright bouquet of flowers tucked behind his back, everyone turns to watch.

They know that Andy is here, as he is every Friday, to surprise a fellow resident with flowers. But more than that, they know that each bouquet he presents doubles as a tribute to his late wife, Brigitte.

Andy and Brigitte -- for 59 years, it was those two names, those two lives, intertwined into one.

He knew he was going to marry her the first time he set eyes on her in a restaurant in Rudesheim, Germany. He was stationed with the Army in a neighboring town, and she was a German native working as a registered nurse in Frankfurt.

“I was finishing dinner and I saw this beautiful blonde,” said Andy 84. “I kept looking at her. (I told my friend), ‘I’m going to marry that girl.’ I knew she was the right person. I just knew it.”When he saw her again later that night at a pub, he asked her to dance.

“We went out on the dance floor, and I started with my limited vocabulary of spoken German,” he said. “She laughed, and we hit it off.”

On their first date, he arrived with flowers. But they weren’t for her.

“I gave them to the housemother,” he said laughing. “I had to butter her up.”

From then on, though, all bouquets were for Brigitte.

Her favorites were white carnations. And on the day that Andy had the honor of marrying “the prettiest girl in Germany” in late 1957, that’s what she carried.

With everything their nearly six-decade life together would bring, including a move to Texas and two daughters, fresh flowers would remain a constant.

Every Friday, Andy stopped to pick up a bouquet for Brigitte. Sometimes it would be white carnations, other times roses, his favorite.

“I mixed it up quite a bit,” he said.

She’d arrange them and he’d watch as her face would glow like a new bloom in a sun shower.

“She just loved it, and I just loved to see her smile,” he said. “I loved to make her happy.”

In the framed photographs that adorn Andy’s apartment, the decades flit by in seconds. Their first date. Their wedding. Their 50th anniversary celebration.

Their life together “was the most exciting experience you could have ever had,” Andy said, transitioning to present tense as he recalled the memories. “We’ve done more, been more places, seen more things.”Brigitte entered hospice care last year on March 6 due to complications from a stroke, and eight days later, on March 14, she died.

They had spent 59 years, four months, two weeks, 17 hours and 15 minutes together. Now, he was alone.

He sold their home and moved into Lakeline Oaks, where he attempted to grapple with his sadness.

“It was a type of grief I can’t explain,” he said. “I would start something and I couldn’t finish it or I’d worry about something I couldn’t control.”

A few months after he started living there, Andy heard that his neighbors were ill and decided to take them a bouquet of roses.

“It just cheered them both up. They were delighted,” Andy said. “I knew that was something I was missing. (I told my daughters,) ‘I think it would make me feel good if I would do that every week for someone.’”

He decided that every Friday, he would buy a bouquet and present it during happy hour. Since the summer, he’s presented 35 bouquets at Lakeline Oaks.

His goal is to give one to every single or widowed woman at the property, which he thinks will take him about 18 months. Usually he buys the bouquets at Randall’s, where they now know him personally.

“When I first got here, I knew no one,” he said. “I think now I can go to almost any table in that dining room and sit down with one of my ‘flower girls.’”

Tamela Orell, lifestyle director at Lakeline Oaks, said the community has embraced Andy’s mission.

“It brings him a lot of joy,” Orell said. “And the residents love it. Everybody here knows why he does it.”

During a recent happy hour, Andy presented a bouquet to resident Billie Tips, 93, who had a birthday coming up.

“They’re beautiful. They’re gorgeous. It’s nice to be remembered,” Tips said. “This put a smile on my face.”

And that, of course, is the point — to conjure smiles in honor of the girl with the prettiest smile he ever knew.

Mouse waits for ride on sheriff deputy’s car

Guess he called for an Uber? Or he wanted to clean a dirty windshield?

A small mouse is going viral in a big way after he was spotted, not in a police cruiser, but rather on the windshield of one.

>> Read more trending news 

Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Dennington took this photo of his little partner waiting to take a ride on his cruiser’s windshield, KGO reported.

Dennington was on his way to work at the Golden State Warriors game on Sunday, Fox News reported.

The mouse was last seen running to a new, probably more covert, hiding spot, police posted on Facebook.

Lost wedding gown returned to owner 32 years later

A box that was supposed to contain the gown a bride’s mother wore on her wedding day contained nothing but a stranger’s dress.

The dress that Ame Bartlebaugh wanted to wear at her upcoming wedding was missing, The Miami Herald reported.

>> Read more trending news 

She had an unwanted gown and needed to track down the one that was rightfully hers.

“I really had my heart set on using my mother’s veil, but I immediately knew this wasn’t the dress,” Bartlebaugh told The Miami Herald.

And while she didn’t have her gown, she wanted to get the dress to its rightful owner.

But where could Bartlebaugh turn to find her?

The dry cleaners that were tasked with preserving the heirloom went out of business years ago, The Miami Herald reported

So with that dead end, she did what anyone in this day and age would: She turned to social media for help

A bride’s plea for help was answered the same day, and in less than 24 hours, the dress, with long sleeves and tiered ruffles that Bartlebaugh found in her grandmother’s attic, was on the way to its owner. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Michelle Havrilla found out her gown was missing in 2013, when her basement flooded. She opened the preservation box after and discovered a gown that wasn’t hers. But now, thanks to social media and Bartlebaugh’s efforts, Havrilla has her gown more than 30 years after she walked down the aisle.

The story, however, is yet to have a happy ending for Bartlebaugh. Her mother’s dress is still nowhere to be found. So she has reached out on social media, hoping to have the same resolution as Havrilla, The Miami Herald reported

WATCH: Police officers rescue freezing puppy found under Florida bridge

Police in Daytona Beach, Florida, released video of two animal control officers rescuing a pit bull puppy who was left under a bridge in freezing temperatures.

>> Click here to watch

In the video posted on the Daytona Beach Police Department’s Facebook page, you can see the puppy shaking uncontrollably because she was so cold. The animal control officers did everything they could to warm her up.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

A passer-by called police after seeing the puppy in the cold water.

The animal control officers found her under the Seabreeze Bridge in mid-January when the temperatures had fallen to below freezing.

>> Read more trending news 

One of the Daytona Beach police officers adopted the puppy, now named River, and she is safe and in a loving home.

Woman missing for more than 36 hours after car crash found alive in woods

An Alabama woman who was missing for more than 36 hours after crashing her car into a wooded area was found alive Sunday following a massive search by multiple agencies.

Lisa Michelle Holman, 45, of Chelsea, went missing following a crash overnight Friday in a heavily wooded area of Shelby County near Pelham. CBS 42 in Birmingham reported that Holman’s car went down a 20-foot embankment before stopping. 

Pelham police officials reported that when Holman’s vehicle was spotted early Saturday morning, she was nowhere to be found. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and hundreds of volunteers spread out over the rough terrain.

The search was fruitless throughout the cold, rainy day Saturday, despite efforts that included searching by air with a drone provided by a local rotary club, Vestavia Hills Fire Department officials said. Central Alabama was under a flood watch throughout the day as storms moved through the area. 

The search crews suspended their efforts overnight but started fresh Sunday morning. Holman was found around 8:30 a.m.

Amy Miller, who described herself to the CBS affiliate as Holman’s best friend, told the station that Holman described what happened after the crash.

“She thinks she lost consciousness after the crash, and then she got her purse and shoes and placed them outside the car (and) climbed out through the back,” Miller said. “Once she got out the car, she knelt down to find her purse and searched around and couldn’t find it; it was so dark. Once that happened, she continued to look for her purse and the car was gone.”

Holman told her friend that she found a rock overhang and used it for shelter until search crews found her Sunday morning, the news station reported. 

>> Read more trending news

Holman’s family said in a statement that she suffered only a few broken bones and other minor injuries in the ordeal. A cameraman from Birmingham’s WBRC captured the moment she was brought out of the woods and loaded onto an ambulance to be taken to a hospital for treatment. 

Holman appeared wet and cold, but otherwise healthy. 

The family said that her rescue was “definitely an answered prayer.”

“Her ability to withstand these injuries, the weather conditions, and the length of time in the woods is a testament to her resiliency,” read the statement, which was released through police officials. 

The family also thanked the emergency responders and multitude of volunteers who helped search for Holman and, ultimately, brought her home alive. 

“We are grateful to be part of a close-knit community that never hesitated when their assistance was needed,” the statement read

One volunteer, Brian Nethery, shared a photo of a young man named Ryan who was walking from the scene barefoot. Nethery wrote on Facebook that the young man walked that way through the woods because he gave his coat, socks and shoes to Holman to help warm her up after she was found. 

Nethery wrote on Facebook that the photo echoed the hearts of all the people who volunteered to find Holman. 

“Hundreds of people selflessly and without hesitation put their lives on hold for one, but to us, that one was our daughter, our mom, our wife and our friend,” Nethery wrote. 

Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer also issued a statement thanking all involved in the rescue, calling the operation a “true community effort.”

“We are thankful to serve a community where help and support is offered at a moment’s notice,” Palmer said. “We are so happy this situation had a good ending.”

Pit bull credited with saving woman’s life

Bruce would not stop whining and scratching at the door Tuesday. 

>> Read more trending news

The urgency of the noises drew Abby Leathers over to let out her pit bull out the front door, which was strange, since he usually goes out back. 

Bruce, who is named after Batman’s alter ego, ran outside and directly to a pond where a half-naked woman was standing in the water trembling, confused and scared, Leathers said

The woman, who did not speak English, and Leathers were unable to communicate with eachother. Leathers got some towels and dry clothes for the woman and called 911. 

Police and paramedics responded. Her family had reported her missing and arrived shortly after as well. 

“It was an eventful morning, and someone's mom and grandmother did not freeze or drown in a pond because of my wonderful pitty bull Bruce,” Leathers said.

Who is Kehinde Wiley, the artist behind Barack Obama’s presidential portrait?

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled the official portrait of former President Barack Obama Monday. The artist behind the image, Kehinde Wiley, was hand-picked by Obama.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are seven things to know about Kehinde Wiley (pronounced keh-HIN-day WHILE-ey).

He’s from Los Angeles. 

Wiley was born in 1977 in south central Los Angeles to a Nigerian father and African-American mother, but didn’t grow up with his father at home. At the age of 20, however, he traveled to Nigeria to find him. 

“After several weeks in Lagos, he found his dad, who welcomed him. But — like any Telemachus or Luke Skywalker — Wiley, who was born in Los Angeles and lives in Brooklyn, was also looking for a sense of belonging, and his homecoming was not as seamless as he had dreamed,” the New Yorker reported in 2008. “Still, the place has a pull on him. In December, he attended his half sister’s wedding, in the city of Uyo. He brought his mother, who had not seen his father in thirty years.” 

Wiley currently lives in Brooklyn.

Wiley and Amy Sherald are the first African-Americans to be commissioned to paint official portraits.

Hand-picked by the Obamas, Wiley and Sherald are the first-ever African-Americans to be commissioned by the gallery to paint the official portraits. The Obamas looked at the portfolios of more than two dozen artists before deciding on Wiley and Sherald. 

“Both (painters) have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a statement last year.

“This is our ability to say: ‘I matter. I was here,’” Wiley said at the portrait unveiling Monday. “To be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States... It doesn’t get any better than that.”

According to CNN, Wiley apparently took thousands of photographs of Obama to create his portrait.

There are always two sets of portraits created, one for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the other for inside the White House.

Wiley is best known for creating naturalistic paintings featuring African-Americans in heroic poses.

Wiley is known for taking the saints, prophets and heroes of Old Master paintings and replacing them with black men and women dressed in hip-hop or African attire.

“What I choose to do is to take people who happen to look like me — black and brown people all over the world, increasingly — and to allow them to occupy that field of power,” Wiley told CNN.

“I know how young black men are seen,” Wiley said in an interview with The New York Times in 2015. “They’re boys, scared little boys oftentimes. I was one of them. I was completely afraid of the Los Angeles Police Department.”

Wiley is known for painting iconic music artists.

While most of Wiley’s paintings are of people he stumbles upon in his travels, he’s painted his fair share of famous icons, including Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, Biggie and many more. 

He’s painted Ice T channeling Napoleon, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as a 17th century Dutch civic guard company.

He started art school at age 11.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Wiley began taking art classes at a conservatory at California State University, and soon after, he started a six-week art program outside Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, in Russia.

After graduating from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Wiley attended the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2001, he earned a Master of Fine Arts at Yale University’s School of Art.

He won the National Medal of Arts.

Wiley was awarded the 2014 National Medal of Arts, an honor presented by former President Barack Obama himself. It is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government.

To this day, Wiley remains one of the most sought-after painters in America.

He is a member of the LGBTQ community.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wiley expressed that his sexuality is complex, and that he identifies as a gay man.

“My sexuality is not black and white,” Wiley said. “I’m a gay man who has occasionally drifted. I am not bi. I’ve had perfectly pleasant romances with women, but they weren’t sustainable. My passion wasn’t there. I would always be looking at guys.”

He defies the categorization in his art as well, which features a fusion of art styles and intersecting lines of sexuality, class, gender and race.

Learn more about Wiley and his iconic art at kehindewiley.com.

WATCH: Choir students sing national anthem from all floors of Kentucky hotel, wowing guests

A man woke up to a lot of commotion in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency in Louisville, Kentucky, days ago, but when he realized that the “noise” was actually a stunning rendition of the national anthem, he made sure to have his camera rolling.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: No players knelt during the Super Bowl national anthem

Garrett Mager soon learned that the Kentucky State Choir Finals were to explain for all of the youthful voices collected in one place.

He said that he witnessed a “proud #American moment tonight” when he heard the performance live, and it seems many others who watched Mager’s video agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Not only has the video been shared more than 600,000 times since Wednesday, Feb. 7, it’s also been watched more than 24 million times.

>> Read more trending news 

“Had a proud #American moment tonight. Woke up in my hotel hearing a lot of noise outside in the lobby. I went out and found this. The Kentucky State Choir Finals schools are all staying at my hotel,” Mager wrote on Facebook. “They decided to sing the National Anthem together on every single floor. #Amazing.”

The comments on Facebook were overwhelmingly positive, with many saying the performance brought tears to their eyes and gave them chills.

>> On Rare.us: Pink nails National Anthem despite flu diagnosis

Others echoed Mager’s thoughts, saying they were proud to be an American.

WKYT reported that the performance is an annual tradition and that more than 650 students took part.

Veteran resident dies, receives patriotic farewell from nursing home

A veterans nursing home in South Carolina honored a resident who died this week with a patriotic farewell that has gone viral.

>> Read more trending news 

In a Facebook post, Laura Dorn thanked the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson for taking such good care of her father, Doug Timmons, who had Alzheimer's disease and was a resident of the facility for the last three years. Dorn wrote that her father died early Thursday morning and the staff took the time to honor him for his service as his body was removed from the facility. In a video that Dorn posted, Timmons' body, draped with an American flag, is wheeled out as staff line up and a musical tribute plays.

In a Facebook review of the nursing home, Dorn thanked the "caring, accommodating and selfless" staff who she said treated her father like family. Dorn wrote, "They treated my Dad with dignity and respect from the first moment there until he drew his last breath, then sent him off with a hero's procession."The video has received more than 3 million views.

Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors prom for special needs people

A Texas church, benefiting from the Tim Tebow Foundation, hosted a special needs prom, KWTX reported.

>> Read more trending news

The Crestview Church of Christ in Waco was one of 400 churches worldwide selected to host the night of fun for people of all ages with special needs. 

>>MORE: ‘Night to Shine’ prom at Ohio church

Guests were treated to hair and makeup touch-up and shoeshines, KWTX reported. Designated dance partners were chosen for each person, and a professional photographer captured the action throughout the night.

Limo service was provided for a spin around the block, and a marching band played current hits.

The highlight of the night came when the prom-goers watched a special video message from Tebow, who announced that every person was elected as a prom king or queen, KWTX reported.

“I'm so happy, I could cry,” guest Deborah Adams said.

Each was crowned by volunteers that included local and statewide pageant queens, KWTX reported.

California prep basketball player with Down syndrome scores first basket

A California teenager with Down syndrome had a memorable senior night, scoring his first career basket in his first appearance in a game, KMPH reported.

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Jack Welsh was introduced last on Feb. 8 as Reedley High School honored its seniors.

“The heart and soul of Reedley,” Pirates football coach Brandon Nagle said. "That would explain Jack right there."

When the game began, Welsh posted up and connected for a basket, prompting the student section to rush the court to congratulate him, KMPH reported.

“You want to cry," said Jack's father, John Welsh. “You know, we didn't know anything about it, so, it really took us by surprise.”

For three years, Jack Welsh has been a part of the Reedley basketball, football and baseball teams, Basketball coach Travis Ferrell said inserting Welsh into the lineup was a great way to celebrate his high school career.

“He comes to all of our practices. He brings energy that sometimes our players don't bring, and we feed off of him,” Ferrell told KMPH. “So to me, it was the least we could do to have this type of celebration on senior night.”

“To see the joy in his face and to experience what all these boys have experienced for four years -- he's like any other boy," John Welsh told KMPH. “He wants to participate.”

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