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Here are 5 of KTAR News’ feel-good stories from 2019

Sgt. Jeff Turney and Howard Benson (Sgt. Jeff Turney Photo)

PHOENIX — While this year may have presented challenges and sadness, 2019 also brought forth some bright moments.

Here are five stories from KTAR News 92.3 FM that reminded us there is still plenty of good news in the world.

Hero comes to rescue of Tempe family struggling due to shutdown

Early this year, Peter Samore told the story of a family that received help while struggling due to the federal government shutdown.

Joseph Montague, who is disabled and can’t work, and his wife, a federal government employee who wasn’t paid during the 35-day shutdown, couldn’t make their rent.

They’d packed their belongings and gotten ready to sell what they could.

But then a man named Frank, who was moved by hearing Montague’s story on KTAR News 92.3 FM, came to the rescue.

Frank presented the family with a check to cover two months’ rent so they could catch up on other expenses.

Arizona judge with cerebral palsy credits his mom with his success

Taylor Kinnerup shared the story of Judge Randall Howe, a man born with the congenital disorder cerebral palsy.

Having a disability in the 1960s meant he wasn’t guaranteed anything. Many people born with a disability at the time were institutionalized.

That’s why many were shocked when Howe’s mother was insistent on having him start kindergarten with his peers in Colorado.

Howe’s mother fought with the school board for weeks over basic accommodation.

He went on to graduate from Arizona State University’s business and law schools and at one point argue on the state’s behalf before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Phoenix man is beating the odds, strives to be the best father

Griselda Zetino introduced listeners and readers to Ernie Ibarra, a father and skateboarder who was born with a disability called caudal regression syndrome.

The syndrome caused him to be born without part of his spine and prevents him from walking.

“My legs are not long like a normal human being,” he said. “Mine are super short, super small.”

But he’s beating the odds to be the best dad he can be. He and his wife have two sons, and the couple recently took in three kids from Ibarra’s sister-in-law.

The biggest lesson he tries to teach his kids? Ignore the bullies.

Arizona DPS director receives letter from his late dad from time capsule

Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show a moving story about an unexpected gift — a letter from his late father.

The letter from former DPS Director Ralph Milstead came from a time capsule that was buried in 1988, when the DPS headquarters was built. The agency dug up the capsule for the department’s 50th anniversary in July.

“As I am going through the contents of the box for the crowd, there’s a letter in there from the director from April of 1988, who was my father,” Milstead said.

“The first two words on the letter were ‘Dear director,’ and I broke down. It was just so incredibly emotional.”

Milstead said the original letter will be placed in the agency’s museum.

“He’s writing a letter to me and he doesn’t know it’s me,” Milstead said.

Welfare check turns into road trip for Glendale officer, 94-year-old veteran

Ali Vetnar brought us the story of Sgt. Jeff Turney and Howard Benson, two strangers who became fast friends.

It started when 94-year-old Benson’s son, who lived out of state, called the Glendale Police Department for a welfare check.

A proud World War II veteran, Benson was determined to drive across the United States to get to his new assisted living facility in Florida.

Turney decided that with his next three days off, he would drive the veteran there.

Benson died in November, about two months after the pair’s journey.

“He got to see his United States one more time,” Turney said. “He got one more birthday and one more Veteran’s Day.”

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