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Finding some joy: Not all of the news is going to be bad

It would be easy to become jaded, cynical, bitter, snide and depressed while working in a newsroom. After all, this is a place where we gather information about the most horrendous actions imaginable and the most tragic results of disaster.

Putting together pages featuring news from around the state, nation and world can be nightmare-inducing, reading story upon report about murdered children, abused animals, earthquakes, assassinations, bombings and other horrors.

The worst of humanity, unfortunately, is newsworthy.

However, the worst can be balanced, at least at times, with stories of good deeds, heroic behavior and surprising actions. And a touch of humor in there certainly doesn’t hurt.

Which is why most days, I enjoy keying in the log from the Marquette Police Department. There are, of course, dark and sad items on the daily report. I give our law enforcement officers all the credit in the world for fairly dealing with all the terrible moments they face on a daily basis.

But I must admit, it’s wonderful to come from an area where the police log some days has some real chuckles within. Like a mother duck and her flock being helped across a busy street. Or someone calling in to police because he or she is concerned after seeing a person wearing shorts walking down the road in winter.

That’s a neighborhood watch and then some.

While tragic articles are inevitable in dealing with human behavior, positive, happy stories are part of what make a newspaper strong. In the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to be on the beat of two such stories.

One was Mission IX of Upper Peninsula Honor Flight, which took 74 World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., earlier this month. These veterans are humble, gracious folks and to witness them being treated like the heroes they are is awesome.

It’s a busy day in the nation’s capital expertly planned by the U.P. Honor Flight crew – headed by Barb Van Rooy for these first nine missions – and it’s a day full of significance for not just the veterans, but for everyone who goes on the trip with them.

My only “worry” when making the Honor Flight trip is that I can only tell the stories of a few of these veterans when any of the 74 could easily be featured.

The other recent heartwarmer was Strut Your Mutt, the benefit for the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter. It was my first time attending this event and I did so as one of the people who had a dog along for the fun.

My canine companion for the day was Brianna, who belongs to Jackie and Jim Winkowski. Brianna is a sweet, gentle dog who loved meeting up with the other four-legged participants – and enjoyed hearing from people who proclaimed her beauty.

Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette was filled with people and dogs that morning and it was a high-energy gathering. Strut Your Mutt organizer Ann Brownell, a crazy cat lady like me, and her team did a fabulous job with the event, which raised $28,341 for UPAWS and the hundreds of animals that organization each year helps to find a forever home.

A highlight for me was getting to pet Nero-Bob, a dog whose story I told in 2014. Nero-Bob had gone missing last summer and when he was found, was badly injured.

His owner Amanda Bertucci found the dog needed expensive surgery in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the generous people of our area stepped up to help this sweet dog have another chance at life with the family who loves him.

It was a joyful meeting, to see this dog who is evidence of the wonderful side of people, a side that deserves attention, whenever we can get the chance to tell these kind of stories.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.

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