July 20, 2017

True to her nickname, Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins, 101, set a new national record for the 100-meter dash last week as she stormed across the finish line at the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships. The Louisiana great-grandmother was the oldest female athlete to compete in the championships, held in Baton Rouge, and shaved six seconds off the current record for women ages 100 or older — clocking in at 40.12 seconds. The former schoolteacher, who swears by her healthy diet, only took up running after her 100th birthday — and was pretty nonchalant about her accomplishment. "I missed my nap for this," said Hawkins after her heroic sprint. Christina Colizza

July 20, 2017

A South Carolina woman has been reunited with her purse — 25 years after it first went missing near a lake. Local fishing enthusiast Brodie Brooks, 11, reeled in the waterlogged handbag during an afternoon at Lake Hartwell, near Anderson. In a stroke of luck, one of Brooks' relatives recognized the owner of the purse from an old ID and returned it to her. April Bolt, now 49, no longer needs the bright lipstick or hair-teasing comb that were also found inside — but was thrilled to have her now-adult son's baby photos back. "It's a serious time capsule," she says. "It meant the world to me." Christina Colizza

July 20, 2017

He thought he tripped over a cow skull, but Jude Sparks actually discovered a 1.2-million-year-old animal fossil.

Now 10, Sparks came across the fossil while out with his family near their home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, last November. The Sparks family notified Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, who went out to the site and confirmed the fossil was of a Stegomastodon, an elephant-like animal. "I was real excited," Houde told ABC News.

The landowner gave Houde permission to dig in May, and a team extricated the remains, minus one of the tusks — Houde believes there could be more of the skeleton in the area, and wants to keep digging. Sparks' father, Kyle, told ABC News his son went through a huge dinosaur phase when he was younger, and he was "ecstatic" about making such a major find. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2017

When the Alfred Angelo chain of bridal stores went out of business, leaving some paying customers without dresses just weeks before their big day, former brides around the country heard the news and rallied to help.

Alfred Angelo filed for bankruptcy this month, and abruptly closed its stores. For brides who already picked out and paid for their dresses but now couldn't pick them up, it was a nightmare, but women who remembered how stressful planning a wedding can be quickly came to their aid. Using the hashtag #AlfredAngelo, they have been posting photos of their own dresses online, along with sizing information, and offering to lend their gowns to women affected by the chain's bankruptcy. Most aren't charging a dime, only asking for shipping fees.

"I remember feeling like a princess on my wedding day," Ishita Kent of Dallas told Today. "The thought that these women ... had all this extra stress put on top of what should be one of the best days of their life just broke my heart. If I can help ease someone else's heartache just with a dress that honestly isn't doing anything but sitting in my closet, then why shouldn't I do so?" Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2017

When a wildfire quickly approached their house in Oroville, California, earlier this month, the Orsillo family had just a few minutes to grab some valuables and escape to safety.

Mark Orsillo, 34, has been collecting movies for years, and his sister, Danielle Devine, grabbed trash bags and started throwing in as many DVDs as she could. She was only able to save about 20 of his more than 300 movies, and when Orsillo, who has Down syndrome, found out the fire destroyed his home and all of the movies left behind, he was devastated. "He was really struggling," Devine told CBS News. "He's usually so happy all the time. I felt bad I didn't grab more."

Devine shared on Facebook what happened, and asked friends and family if they'd be interested in sending him a few movies. The post went viral within just a few hours, and a delighted Orsillo received 400 DVDs by the next day. "He's probably going to have more movies than he had before," Devine said. As an added bonus, strangers have also rallied to help their parents, bringing in more than $10,000 to help them rebuild their house. Catherine Garcia

July 12, 2017

The Smithsonian National Zoo's Sumatran tiger population increased by one on Tuesday afternoon, when 8-year-old Damai gave birth to a cub.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, and it's estimated there are just 300 to 400 living in the wild. Her keepers have been watching Damai via closed-circuit cameras since she went into labor, and the cub looks to be nursing, moving, and breathing normally, the National Zoo said in a statement. "This is such an exciting time for us, not only because we have a cub who appears to be doing great, but also because this animal's genes are extremely valuable to the North American population," Craig Saffoe, curator of the Great Cats habitat, said. "Now that we have had success breeding Damai this year and in 2013, it means that our keepers' patience with the introduction process, their willingness to study the cats' behaviors and learn from them, and our discussions with colleagues here and at other institutions has paid off. The result is this amazing little cub."

The pair are being left alone so they can bond, and it will be a few weeks before veterinarians will be able to inspect the cub and determine its sex. The cub won't be on view until it goes through several health exams, receives vaccinations, and passes a swim test; in the meantime, National Zoo visitors can still see the cub's father, Sparky, and her half-brother, Damai's 3-year-old son Bandar. Catherine Garcia

July 12, 2017

Roman Espinoza doesn't want anyone to go hungry, and he's set up a "blessing box" outside of his Watertown, New York, home, with nonperishable food items and toiletries available for anyone to take, any time of the day.

"Whether you're taking or giving, you can just go to the blessing box," he told CNN. "There's not a lock on it — it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week." Espinoza, an Army veteran, was taking a class at a local college when he found out the school had a food pantry set up for students in need. He was inspired to do something to help on his own, and set the blessing box up in his yard, stocked with food, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, bandages, and more. "The community, the neighborhood, and my block have been really supportive," he said, and it's rare that the small pantry is empty; if he doesn't fill it up, neighbors and strangers do.

Espinoza said he has been approached by people who want boxes of their own to put in front of their homes, and he's hopeful that they will start popping up all across town. "Watertown, New York, in the next five years, could be known as the city of blessing boxes," he said. Catherine Garcia

July 11, 2017

In the course of one year, Camille Patterson went from being homeless and unemployed to a graduate with her technical certificate and three job interviews.

In 2016, after losing her job, Patterson, 25, and her young son were living out of her car in San Bernardino, California, not knowing when they would have their next meal. She saw a poster about an educational program offered through San Bernardino County's Transitional Assistance Department, which provides technical training free of charge. Students learn the skills necessary to make it in several industries, and receive federal certification. Patterson's goal was to follow in her father's footsteps and become a machinist. "Not having a home for my son to call his own, that was going to ruin me, but I figured failing is not an option, you have to keep going, especially when you have someone little looking up to you," she said.

It wasn't easy — she struggled with trigonometry, and had thoughts of quitting — but she stuck it out, and last month graduated from the San Bernardino County Technical Employment Training program. "They believed in me," Patterson told ABC 7. "I didn't believe in myself, so to have someone backing me up, with no family … the school was like, 'You can do this. You can do this.'" Catherine Garcia

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