Sanitation worker presents young fan with gifts in adorable video

A two-year-old boy was ecstatic when he saw his favorite sanitation worker had come to pick up trash from his Indiana home but was not expecting what happened next. Evan Brenneman, two, of Plainfield, Ind., woke up at 3 a.m. on Thursday to greet James Bullock of Ray’s Trash Service, his favorite trash man. However, … Continue reading “Sanitation worker presents young fan with gifts in adorable video”

A two-year-old boy was ecstatic when he saw his favorite sanitation worker had come to pick up trash from his Indiana home but was not expecting what happened next.

Evan Brenneman, two, of Plainfield, Ind., woke up at 3 a.m. on Thursday to greet James Bullock of Ray’s Trash Service, his favorite trash man. However, Bullock was prepared for his young fan and presented him with a backpack full of goodies.

Evan’s mother posted the adorable moment on Facebook.

“Now you’re an official Ray’s employee,” Bullock told the youngster.

Evan was presented with a hat, shirt, stickers, backpack, cup and miniature trash can. The little boy took a liking to the trash can.

Bullock and Evan started their friendship when the worker asked if the young boy wanted to see his truck. He even attended Evan’s birthday party.

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The young boy has Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Mayo Clinic said a “key feature” of the syndrome is “a constant sense of hunger that usually begins at about two years of age.” Ray’s Trash Service has sponsored the boy at walks to raise awareness of the syndrome.

Evan’s mother, Natalie Brenneman, told the Indianapolis Star that watching her son’s friendship with Bullock grow has been magical.

"Oh my gosh, my heart bursts every time," she said. "… I know he’s in the middle of his work day and probably wants to get it done quickly, but he stops and talks to Evan. He always gets down on his level, looks him in the eye, gives him a hug, offers him a high-five. It’s just so great that he pauses to talk with us and to spend a little time with Evan.”

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Cop saves man from frigid waters: ‘God definitely put me there for a reason’

A Rhode Island police officer is being hailed a hero after saving a man from drowning in cold water.

Jamestown Police Officer Nathaniel Schaffer was covering another employee’s shift the night he responded to a frantic 911 call a little before 1 a.m. from a woman who said her friend was in the water off a pier.

"I think God definitely put me there for a reason," Schaffer told FOX Providence, but he added that "any other officer would have done the same thing given the circumstances."

When Shaffer arrived at the scene, the 34-year-old man from Brighton, Massachusetts, was initially responsive in the water and according to his friend, he willingly jumped into the water but as time passed he wasn’t responding to the officer.

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"He became lifeless. He kinda floated, rolled over to his side," Schaffer said. "His mouth was half in the water, half out. He was taking in water with each breath."

While his sergeant was grabbing a flotation device, Schaffer jumped in.

Shaffer grabbed the man and swam to the ladder but the dock was too high to climb six feet, so they decided to go to a lower dock about 100 feet away.

By the time rescue crews had arrived to get the man out of the water, Schaffer said he was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth.

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Both were transported to the Newport Hospital. Schaffer was treated for mild hypothermia and the man recovered after a few days as well.

On Tuesday night, the man he saved paid a visit to the police station to thank Shaffer in person and assured him that he wasn’t going to go swimming in that pier again.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

‘Miracle baby’ survives after being given less than 1 percent chance of survival

An Indiana couple is thankful for the miracle of life after their son was given a grim chance of survival — only to fight against the odds.

Daniel Breyts was told to start preparing for his newborn's funeral before he was able to hold his son, Rowan, who was born three months early and suffered from Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), an aggressive infectious disease that attacked his intestines.

"Without a small intestine, he could never eat. He would never grow. He was too small to hope for a transplant. It was a death sentence," Breyts said of the diagnosis. "We kissed him and cried, telling him how much we loved him and wished there was something we could do."

The couple spent as much time with him as they could, offering him kind words and apologies through tears, but instead of getting worse, Rowan's condition improved.

We watched as our baby fought for his life.

— Daniel Breyts

"Jess and I spoke at length and decided that he wasn't giving up…neither would we," Breyts said. So they contacted Riley's Children Hospital in Indianapolis which offered to take his case and even mentioned the possibility of a transplantation of his intestines.

Four days later he went into surgery, and the doctors had some shocking news.

“She told me they saw a lot of pink viable intestine, which was the exact opposite of what we had been told,” Breyts said.

After seven months in NICU, Rowan was able to make his first trip home of his life.

Rowan Breyts was born weighing a little more than one pound with almost no chance of survival, but today he is thriving. (FOX 59)

“Seeing him myself and knowing where he came from as far as how small he was and the issues that he had, in my heart he is a miracle,” Breyts told FOX 59. “He’s an honest-to-God miracle.”

At birth, Rowan weighed a little over a pound and was about the size of his mother's hand, but today, he is 13 pounds, 9 ounces and getting bigger and healthier each day.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Gary Sinise Foundation sends hundreds of Gold Star families to Disney World

The Gary Sinise Foundation, founded by the "Forrest Gump" star, sent more than 600 Gold Star families to Disney World this month.

Sinise made the announcement on Twitter with a picture of parents and children on a plane headed for the amusement park.

"Over 1,000 Gold Star children travel with the surviving parent, 1,750 in all, via American Airlines to Disney World today as part of our (Gary Sinise Foundation) Snowball Express program. This charter left LAX this morning. I'll join up in a few days. Have fun kids! We love you!" he wrote.

The Gary Sinise Foundation, created in 2011, posted photos of the children having fun at the "most magical place on Earth" with their families.

The foundation launched the program last year which helps serve the "children of fallen military heroes," according to the website.

"The holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families. Each December, we host a five-day experience for 1,750+ children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian," the foundation's website stated. "As a therapeutic retreat with a blend of fun and inspiring programs, these families can lean on their peers for support. And this year we're bringing Snowball Express to Walt Disney World Resort!"

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Sinise began supporting veterans who served in the Vietnam War but devoted much of his support following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Earlier this week, "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton called for TIME Magazine to put Sinise on the "Person of the Year" list for his charity work.

"Hey @TIME , why isn't @GarySinise ever on the Person of the Year list? Hey @TheAcademy, why isn't he ever picked for the #jeanhersholt humanitarian award? He raises $30M a year to build homes for wounded vets along with his #goldstarfamily support. Retweet!" she wrote.

Fox News’'Jennifer Earl contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

‘Perfect love’ leads NY woman to open her apartment to homeless couple

New York City entrepreneur Sarah Lee says she has been called a "little crazy" for letting a homeless man stay in her small, one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, but after a series of signs it became apparent to her that it was meant to be.

“There is a Scripture in the Bible that says ‘Perfect love casts out all fear,’ 1 John 4:18, which I believe to be true and choose to live by and I felt like I needed to offer him my place to shower, get cleaned up and stay,” said Lee, 33, the daughter of missionary parents from South Korea who reside in Nairobi, Kenya, where she grew up. Lee started helping homeless people in February, but she told Fox News that Nick Long was "the first person to receive the help and love I poured out."

It all started on August 5, when Lee headed to church, like any other Sunday morning, and met Long, a 29-year-old homeless man, panhandling on the sidewalk.

Nick and Sarah met on August 5, 2018, on a sidewalk in the Financial District. (Sarah Lee)

“I asked him how he was doing, gave him some money, and he began to tell me that his grandfather had just passed away,” Lee explained, “and I felt it in my heart to invite him to church.”

To her surprise, Long accepted the invitation, quickly hopped up and joined Lee and her friend.

“He was so moved at church, we both just cried together," Lee said. "He just felt God’s presence. We both did.”

Afterward, she decided to take him to lunch, and while they were walking they noticed they have matching cross tattoos on their hands.

Sarah and Nick noticed they have matching tattoos on their way to lunch the day they met, and Sarah told Fox News she knew it was a "divine orchestration." (Sarah Lee)

"We just looked at each other and we knew we were meant to meet that day," she said.

Long and his wife, Alexandra Kourkine, had traveled to New York from West Virginia, fell on hard times and had been homeless since May. Alexandra, who goes by Lexi, was receiving inpatient care when Lee met Long, and the couple's two children were in the custody of ACS because a family member was unable to care for them. The couple were not New York residents long enough to qualify for residence in a family shelter.

Lee was moved by Long's story, and decided to buy him dress shoes from Century 21 so he could attend his grandfather’s wake. Then she reactivated his phone at AT&T and gave him some cash. Lee said she Googled Long and verified enough information about him to trust that he was telling the truth. The two exchanged information.

“After Nick got back from his grandfather’s funeral, I really felt it in my heart to extend longer-term help and let him crash on my couch for however long was needed for him to get back on his feet. And he, of course, accepted my invitation," she said.

Another sign came when Lee’s dog Toto — a Yorkie named for the Swahili word for "child" — who normally doesn't like men, was different around Long.

When Sarah’s dog, Toto, didn’t bark at Nick like most men, she said it gave her more assurance that he was a good guy. (Sarah Lee)

"My dog didn’t bark at all," she said. "That gave me so much peace that this is okay."

A week later Lexi joined them and the couple ended up staying with Lee for about a month. Nick Long described Sarah as an "Asian nun," a label that Sarah laughs about now.

And the next week, Long got baptized and Kourkine accepted Jesus.

“I never really trusted nobody, didn’t really feel like I had love for anybody, and then one day Sarah saw me sitting on the street, and she said, ‘Hey, you wanna go to church?’ and something said, ‘Get your butt up.’” Long said. “It kind of felt like God was hugging me.”

Lexi and Nick with Sarah’s dog, Toto. They both now have jobs and are trying to get permanent housing. (Sarah Lee)

Life Center Church NYC, a ministry of JHOP, adopted Long and Kourkine into their church family and helped the couple with temporary housing.

Now Long and his wife, who have been married since 2013, have been pursuing help each week through the church, as well as professional counseling and social services.

“God’s literally taken all the hurt, pain, suffering,” Long said. “It’s gone.”

Now Long and Kourkine both have jobs as servers in New York City and are trying to raise enough money — aided by a GoFundMe Lee started —  to get permanent housing for themselves and their two kids, who are currently in foster care.

"Just to see people come around them and show them what family looks like has been awesome to see," Lee said. "Because it really takes a village; because other people had to just come around them, and the GoFundMe is a reflection of that."

Earlier this year, Lee was inspired by a minister who came to her church and shared about how she would always open the door, regardless of who the person was.

"That gave me the courage to open my door for anyone because, like, perfect love really casts out all fear — which is God," Lee said. "I think that believing that Scripture was how I was able to open my doors to Nick and Lexi."

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Body cam video shows police officers catching boy who jumped from burning apartment

A trio of sure-handed police officers caught an 8-year-old boy who jumped from his burning Texas apartment early Monday morning, stunning body cam footage shows.

Officers Tyler Gross, Corey Jones and David Fields with the Balch Springs Police Department arrived at the apartment complex before firefighters made it to the scene. Body cam footage shows the trio alerting residents and neighbors to the fire roaring nearby — when they suddenly discover a mother and her son trapped in a second-floor unit.

“[We were] scared to death because you know what fire does and how fast it moves,” Fields told WFAA.

Keisha Sowels and her 8-year-old son, Kingston, were trapped inside the apartment, and the only way out was through a window — which she couldn't open, Sowels told FOX4.

The body camera footage shows officers telling Sowels to try to kick out the glass, and when that doesn't work, Jones is seen throwing a baton at the window to smash it.

He and the other officers then encourage Kingston to jump.

“He was just scared,” Jones told FOX4. “I think anybody would be with flames behind them and a jump before him. He knew that we were down there, and we’re going to catch him. He didn’t think twice and jumped out the window.”

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The three officers were able to catch Kingston and, soon after, the fire department arrived and got Sowels to safety using a ladder.

“We’re good, buddy,” Jones can be heard telling the young boy after the leap. “Hey, that was a good jump, man. That was a good jump.”

Police said no one in the apartment complex was seriously hurt in the fire; however, several apartments were damaged by the flames. The fire itself is considered “suspicious” and is under investigation, FOX4 reported.

“I just thank God that they took the time to do what they were called to do as officers and firefighters,” Sowels said. “I really appreciate it. I am totally grateful…Y’all are definitely angels in my eyes, and I really appreciate it and I am grateful for the rest of my life.”

Jones told WFFA he believes any cop would have acted the same way as he and his fellow officers.

“Not wait for fire, not wait for anyone else,” he said. “We’re going to do what we can to help anyone that we can.”

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

Woman reunited with ring she lost in J.C. Penney parking lot: ‘God works in mysterious ways’

Timing is everything, and for two Louisiana women, they say it was God who made their paths cross amid the busy holiday shopping season.

Shirley Ross, from Shreveport, stepped out of her vehicle last Wednesday in the parking lot of J.C. Penney and her heart stopped. She looked down and found a sparkling diamond ring on the ground.

Instead of taking it to the lost and found of the store, Ross felt determined by something inside her to find the owner herself.

The ring belonged to Shelley Wells, also from Shreveport, who said she took it off to put on lotion in her car. Forgetting she took it off, she went about shopping that day, and by the time she realized it was lost, she went back to find it with no avail. So she turned to social media.

At 10:19 pm she posted a picture of the ring with a “special request” to help find the person who found it.

“I lost my 20-year anniversary ring in the parking lot of J.C. Penney,” Wells wrote on Facebook, offering “many blessings for your help!”

Her post was shared more than 3,000 times with people offering their prayers and support, but the woman who found the ring doesn’t have Facebook.

Fortunately, her daughter put a post on the social media platform, coincidentally within a minute after Wells' post.

And the next day Wells confirmed that her ring had been found!

“GOD is soooo GOOD!” she wrote. “I truly have been gifted a Christmas miracle!”

Ross agreed.

“God, he works in mysterious ways,” she told KTAL.

Years ago, Ross lost her wedding ring the same way Wells did, in a parking lot, putting lotion on her hands. Ross never got her ring back, but she considers this as part of her reward.

"I just raised my hand in praise and I just thought isn't this just wonderful," Ross said.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Young girl wakes up from two-week coma: ‘Our Christmas miracle is happening’

The family of a Florida teen with cystic fibrosis was shocked and amazed after their 17-year-old daughter unexpectedly woke up from a two-week coma last week, but say prayer is still needed.

When Christina “Chrissy” VanDerVelden fell into a coma, her parents, William and Alaina, both retired Navy veterans, were told to prepare for the worst, so they started praying for a Christmas miracle.

On Dec. 5, with friends, family, and strangers all over the world praying, they got their answer when Chrissy woke up at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

“When Chrissy’s parents went to see her…the nurses told them they have a surprise! Chrissy was awake! Her eyes were open, she grabs your hand and she is trying to communicate. She can answer questions by nodding her head yes or no…Our Christmas Miracle is happening! She still has a long road ahead,” their GoFundMe page read. “Please keep sharing, praying, or donating.”

Christina "Chrissy" Vandervelden at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. She woke up from a two-week coma but is still in need of prayer. (Alaina VanDerVelden)

For the VanDerVeldens, the past year has been their worst year ever. Chrissy has been in and out of the hospital, and when she was home, her mother was hospitalized for West Nile virus, and their other daughter, Alexis, has Asperger’s syndrome, so caring for them has been challenging and at times, they felt like they were suffering in silence.

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“We take every day minute-to-minute, and live off hope and prayers,” Alaina VanDerVelden told Fox News. “[Chrissy] still needs to get better just to be put on the list to be eligible for a dual lung transplant.”

Christina "Chrissy" Vandervelden is a talented artist and uses her work to express herself. Above are two of her pieces. (Alaina VanDerVelden)

And while it has caused them to question their faith, Alaina VanDerVelden said her faith in humanity has been restored.

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“Seeing all of the support we are getting, people that don't even know us, visiting, praying, sending cards,” she said. “It's always just the four of us…I'm starting to see that people do care, people have hearts.”

Chrissy’s family from left to right: William, Chrissy, Alexis, and Alaina. This year has been tough on them but they’ve received prayers and support from all over the world. (Alaina VanDerVelden)

The GoFundMe page to support Chrissy in her fight has raised half of the $12,000 goal to date.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Men say ‘Voice of God’ saved them from highway crash that mangled their vehicle

Two men traveling on the Ohio Turnpike say the voice of God helped spare their lives right before a semi totaled their vehicle.

Jordan Cole and Kenneth Bryant were traveling to a pastor’s conference, along with other men, when their MudMan Food Truck, part of a non-profit that sells hamburgers to raise money for Potter’s Field Ministries, broke down and led to their divine encounter.

“We heard a voice,” Cole told FOX 8 Cleveland, “and it was to get out of the truck and I look down and I saw a semi swerving toward us.”

Kenneth Bryant said it was Jesus who spoke to him and his friend before a semi hit their vehicle. (FOX 8 Cleveland)

They were both in different parts of the vehicle, but both felt urged to get out – and did so with seconds to spare.

“God kept us safe,” Bryant said. “God kept us alive.”

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said the men most likely would’ve died had they stayed in the vehicle. The truck driver survived the crash as well, suffering minor injuries.

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After making it to Philadelphia, traveling to Florida, and currently in California, the men were feeding people at a church when they were able to reflect on that night.

Two men were spared from what could’ve been a deadly highway overpass wreck. (FOX 8 Cleveland)

Their journey started with a prayer in Montana and ended with a testimony the two never imagined would happen.

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“We’ve come to the conclusion that it was Jesus,” Bryant said. “He allowed this to happen for me to be able to share this story…for people to know that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us.”

And in this Christmas season especially, they hope their experience inspires others.

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“There is a purpose for your life, you do have a reason to be living and it’s God’s perfect timing,” Bryant added.

The Potter's Field Ministries, which helps children around the world, shared the good news that "the Lord protected the lives of everyone involved," pointing to Genesis 50:20:
"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Notorious gang leader now preaches Jesus: ‘I’m a radical soldier for God’

Rene Martinez spent the majority of his life in and out of jail, breaking into homes, stealing guns, dealing drugs, and getting into fights.

But today, the former gang leader, 44, better known as "Level" found a new calling preaching, praying, and baptizing others in the name of Jesus as he seeks to save them from the life he once knew all too well. The Miami Dade County native has traveled from Los Angeles to the Bronx, and he's just getting started.

“I lived a very crazy life, I did some horrible things in my life that I know it’s only by the grace of God and His mercy that I’m alive and free,” Level told Fox News. “I was gang affiliated from the 80’s to 2012, I’ve seen a lot of people die in front of me and I’ve been through a lot."

From early on, Level was plagued by demons. His mom was part of a religion that sacrificed an animal over him. “It’s just demonic. I started seeing demons when I was a kid. They haunted me my whole life.”

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Rene "Level" Martinez has a documentary called "The Warrior Level" about his life from promoting violence to preaching the gospel. (Rene "Level" Martinez)

And at one point, he found his mom trying to commit suicide one night, but after she went to the hospital and got better, she accepted Jesus at a church retreat. She stopped drinking alcohol, smoking weed  and she started praying for Level but he just thought she was crazy.

As a young teenager, Level joined a gang, and on Halloween night 1989 he started what became a notorious gang known as the Latin Syndicate that grew to 300 members.

At 14, he was in a coma and almost died. Two years later he was in jail for attempted murder.

When he had his daughter, he wanted to be a good father but didn’t know how, so he started fighting to provide for his family.

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Rene "Level" Martinez walking through the streets in Nicaragua before defeating Ricardo Mayorga in a fight. (Rene "Level" Martinez)

He turned to bare-knuckle fighting and became a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, which is how he earned the name “Level,” and he defeated three-time world champion, Ricardo Mayorga, in Nicaragua.

He’s faced death numerous times, and he said in 2013, when he was recording gangster music in his garage, he heard Jesus speak to him, saying: “I spared you for such a time as this.”

“I saw my whole life flash before my eyes – when a gun was jammed in my face, when a bullet whistled by my ear – I almost died five or six times – and all my friends that died. God set me free for a reason. I repented right there.”

Rene "Level" Martinez praying with others on the streets of Los Angeles with his ministry "One Accord." (Rene "Level" Martinez)

But it wasn’t until he was baptized that everything changed in an instant.

“When I went in the water, this was April 10, 2016, that day shifted my life,” Level said. “I ain’t never been the same. Something incredible in my life happened that I can’t explain. It was Jesus, only Jesus can do it.”

And he’s been doing street ministry ever since.

He had the opportunity to lead one of his friends, Corey, out of gang life in Latin Syndicate to the Lord.

Rene "Level" Martinez baptizing his friend, Corey, who used to be in the gang Latin Syndicate with him. (Rene "Level" Martinez)

“I gave him the Word and he got baptized and I started discipling him. He’s on fire for God right now. He grew up in the projects, but now he’s in Washington State praising God in the mountains.”

Now Level has a documentary, “The Warrior Level,” on his life and ministry.

“People used to call me the Notorious Level. No, I’m the Warrior Level. I’m a warrior Level for Christ,” he added. “I was on the road to Damascus and Jesus showed up – Saul to Paul – that was me.”

He’s in the process of starting a church and looking at other ministry options to help disciple people from prison and out of gangs.

“No matter what situation you’re going through, no matter how hard you think life is, there’s a way out,” Level said, “because there’s a lot of people that didn’t wake up today, that are dying right now, and you have a chance to come out of the darkness right now and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke