MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  There’s no denying it, a lot has happened this year. From homemade lunch notes, to a special NICU volunteer, to a Minnesota man who drove across the country to reunite a dog with its terminally ill owner, here’s a look back at some of the most heartwarming and inspirational stories from 2019.

‘Father Goose’ Gives Comfort To Babies In Intensive Care

Val Gow (credit: CBS)

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Touch can be critical for a hospitals’ tiniest patients, but struggling newborns don’t always have family there to hold them. That’s where a special volunteer known as “Father Goose” stepped in.

91-Year-Old Buffalo Man Receives High School Diploma After Dropping Out To Save His Family Farm

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After 91 years, a Buffalo man has a title he never thought he’d receive. Clifford Hanson grew up the youngest boy on a livestock farm in Benson, Minnesota. After the eighth grade, he stopped going to school to help his dad who was in failing health — a story that decades later touched the heart of his nurse at Lake Ridge Care Center in Buffalo.

Minnesota Man Drives To Washington State To Reunite Dog With Its Terminally Ill Owner

(credit: Ryan Chukuske)

A Minnesota man went going above and beyond to help reunite a dog with its owner. The dog’s owner is terminally ill and had to head to Washington state, but when she tried to board the plane with her dog Bailey, she was told the animal was not allowed to fly because of health issues associated with its breed.

“I didn’t hesitate. I just think it was one of those things where everyone deserves good things to happen to them regardless of where you’re at in life, and especially maybe at the end of your life. So if having your dog with you is what is really important to and for you, then I am going to make that happen,” he said.

Minnesota Credit Unions Give Back With Day Of Kindness

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While many workers had the holiday off, others spent Indigenous People’s Day giving back. It was part of a bigger day of service. The annual event started back in 2013 with employees from just one credit union doing a day of volunteering. Now credit unions all over Minnesota are taking part in “CU Forward Day.”

‘It’s Night And Day’: Dozens Of Businesses Band Together To Help Renovate Local Nonprofit

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A nonprofit has a new look and feel at no cost thanks to the help of dozens of businesses. The idea is to give to those who always give to others while pushing their mission forward.

“When you walk in the space, you’re going to feel our mission. You’re going to feel how dedicated we are to making sure that someday Cystic Fibrosis, CF, stands for cure found,” Schwei said.

Moms-To-Be Making Bee Line To Excelsior For ‘The Labor Inducer’ Burger

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A popular burger at The Suburban restaurant in Excelsior isn’t just a craving for many of the customers ordering it — it’s a last effort. The burger is called The Labor Inducer. It was born out of The Suburban’s kitchen, when Berset and her two daughters, also co-owners, were testing new recipes to enter for a burger competition.

“She ate the entire thing, and at midnight went into labor,” owner Cindy Berset said.

St. Louis Park Parents Changing Up The Lunch Note Tradition

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Two St. Louis Park parents are making their kids feel special in a unique way. Both Ross Teichner and Kristin Cook’s kids are best friends and 2nd graders at St. Louis Park Aquila Elementary School. The notes both of their boys, Max and Elliot, receive have gotten a lot of buzz.

“I found a lot of joy in how excited he got when he got home and talk about them,” said Cook.

Man Drops 42 Pounds In 3 Months To Donate Kidney To Brother

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A Twin Cities man has no problem helping a brother out, especially when the person in need is his younger brother with a serious kidney disease. When he was in high school Jeff Morton was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that his father also had. His brother Scott was a match for a kidney donation, but Scott had to overcome some of his own challenges before he could help his brother.

Journalist Turns Into World Champion Chocolate Maker

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A Minnesota chocolate maker is now a world truffle-making champion. Robyn Dochterman was named world champion at the International Chocolate Salon Awards for her truffle artistry. The winning chocolates were coy-shaped truffles with ganache, honey and black sesame.

“It’s just almost indescribable to take risks, put your work out there and have peers judge it, and have them acknowledge the level that you’ve achieved,” Dochterman said.

‘It’s Basketball Heaven’: Teens Experience Final Four Through Make-A-Wish

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Among the fans watching Auburn and UVA practice on Final Four Friday were two boys who had a tough fight to get there. Andrew has a brain tumor – tectal glioma. Sam has been recovering from a bone marrow transplant for an autoimmune disease. They both made the same wish in recovery – to go to the Final Four – and Make-A-Wish made their hoop dreams come true.