Editor’s note: This report is a continuation of a story that ran in Saturday’s Rome News-Tribune looking back on the feel-good stories of the year.

Phone, backhoe keys to rescue of kitten in West Rome

A combination of old-fashioned manual labor and new-age digital technology resulted in the rescue of a tiny kitten from an uncapped sewage line on Southfork Drive in West Rome back in May. A backhoe and smartphone were the critical tools used to rescue the kitten.

Rome Water and Sewer Department crews, with help from animal con-trol and Rome-Floyd County firefighters, worked for close to four hours to free the orange tabby that fell 8 to 10 feet down a sewer stub-in

A mini-trench was dug at least 10 feet into the ground around the sewer stub, the PVC pipe was cut in several sections and a can of cat food was used to bring the kitty out of the six-inch line. However, the final action to get the kitty out was the sound of kitten calls being played over animal control officers’ cellphones.

Floyd Felines, a local cat rescue organization, saw to the kitten’s health and finding it a good home.

Christmas kindness shines like a star: Police officers come to woman’s rescue in an unusual way

Five Floyd County police officers came to the aid of Shirley Patterson, an elderly woman who is recovering from a variety of health issues, by clean-ing up the yard of her home on Billy Pyle Road after she had reported a fiberglass bell missing earlier this month.

Lt. Ron Hunton led the platoon of volunteers that included Sgt. Rusty Williams and Officers Brittany Heffelfinger, Dallas Bryant and Craig Stan-field. Between them, they sawed up and removed a toppled tree covering much of Patterson’s side yard, hauled away the brush someone had heaped near the property line and raked all the fallen leaves to the street — all on their off day.

Patterson had owned the bell, which was a gift from her daughter, for 32 years and decorated it every Christmas, she said. Hunton had found the bell smashed under a pile of brush and tree limbs someone had dumped in her yard.

After spending about three hours on the task Wednesday, officers also hauled the bell away. Hunton said it won’t ever look as good as new, but they’re going to do what they can to restore it.

“I couldn’t believe someone would do that for me,” said Patterson, who has had a rough year after losing her son in a wreck in June. “I’ve never asked anyone for anything, but God answered my prayer.

Dad flies in from post in Alaska to surprise daughter on fourth birthday

A few tears fell from the eyes of family and friends as a four-year-old birthday girl walked briskly to give her dad a big hug — a huge smile shining on her face.

You see, her daddy wasn’t supposed to be there as far as she knew. Her daddy, U.S. Army E4 John Brock, is stationed at Fort Wainwright near Fair-banks, Alaska. Right after kids finished singing happy birthday to Khloey Brock, she got the best birthday present of her young life when her dad walked in to her pre-school classroom at Where Kids Fit two weeks ago.

She shouted “Daddy” as her father walked through the door to surprise the daughter he had not seen since February. He flew in from Alaska to surprise Khloey and her two-year-old brother Howard.

“It was hard, we weren’t sure he was going to get the time he needed,” said wife, Anna Brock.

John Brock said the decision to surprise his daughter was just something that he and his wife came up with randomly.

“It’s like a year’s worth of leave but it’s worth it,” Brock said. “This is really special, especially after being gone for so long.”