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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The year 2020 has been a difficult one for many Hoosiers, and we’re only in July. From the COVID-19 pandemic to social unrest, we’ve been through a lot.

The WISH Patrol partnered with a group of central Indiana Subway franchise owners to help spread some positivity during these not so positive times.

Armed with 200 $25 gift cards from Subway, the WISH Patrol team traveled across central Indiana handing the gift cards to unsuspecting people. The only catch was that they had to pay it forward, giving a second gift card to someone else in need.

“We are very glad to be partnering with WISH-TV to go around Indianapolis and bless some individuals,” said Terry Anthony, a Subway franchise owner. “Whether it’s been the coronavirus, whether it’s been the social unrest, we wanted to find a common bond, a common bond that we are Indy. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Danville, the north side, south side, or east side, let’s all come together and get through this crisis together.”

If you know of someone deserving of a WISH Patrol surprise, click here to nominate them.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thank you central Indiana for giving WISH-TV the opportunity to give back to the community that gives us so much.

2019 was filled with moments to admire, moments to inspire and moments to share.

Here’s a look back at a special year with the WISH Patrol.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sisters Thelma and Beatrice have been through a lot together, living under the same roof since 1955. At age 88 and 98, they have had a front row seat to the rise of Indianapolis. But just weeks before Christmas, their home was broken into while they were asleep.

“I was upstairs and she hollered up there and said, ‘Thelma! The TV in the kitchen is gone!’” said Thelma Neal.

Upon learning what happened, the community was outraged.

“We care about this 88-year-old and this 98-year-old,” said Rev. Clyde Posley Jr. “They represent the fabric of our community.

News 8 covered the crime and the community concern.

The WISH Patrol then decided to help carry the burden, inviting various local businesses to help make the sisters lives whole.

Neptune Society donated a new television to replace the one stolen.

Godby Home Furnishings donated a $500 gift certificate toward the purchase of new furniture. 

SimpliSafe donated an entire home security system for the home, including sensors for all doors, a doorbell camera, and a smart lock. SimpliSafe also donated monitoring service for years to come.

The Pacers donated a VIP experience to an upcoming game, including a meet-and-greet with the team and dinner at the LightBound Courtside Club. Aadvanced Limousines provided luxury transportation to and from the game.

It was a reminder to everyone in the sisters’ home that the spirit of the season lives in each of us: in the local business owner who gives, the former NBA star who loves, the reverend who fights for justice and the family members who always show up.

“You think there’s no good people in the world anymore,” said Thelma Neal. “Since this has happened to us, it just seems like there’s so many good people in the world that you didn’t even know until this happened.”

WISH Patrol surprises IPS school with thousands in donations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For hundreds of kids at an Indianapolis elementary school, their first lesson of the school year came in the form of a big surprise.

The WISH Patrol surprised the students, faculty and staff at James Russell Lowell School IPS 51 in early August. For Principal Pat Lumbley, the success of students is personal.

“I have some awesome, awesome kids,” said Lumbley. “They deal with a lot of things that the outside world has no idea about yet they show up for school every day and they try to do their best.”

Lumbley has been working for the past two years to return the school, in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, to its former glory.

“We want to restore the road. We have to have this be a place people are proud to say they go to school, people are proud to say they work here, and people are proud to say this is where they send their kids to school,” said Lumbley.

With enthusiasm aplenty but funding scarce, the WISH Patrol team worked for months with our partners at Teachers’ Treasures to make this year one for the record books.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson was on hand to welcome the students, while Freddy Fever from the Indiana Fever came to help pep the students up.

During the school’s morning assembly, students were presented with backpacks full of school supplies while teachers were given classroom packages of school supplies. OfficeWorks and American College of Education will also renovate the school’s teachers lounge.

In total, 11 different central Indiana businesses joined the WISH Patrol to surprise the students, teachers, and staff at IPS 51:

Is there someone you think is deserving of a WISH Patrol surprise? Nominate them! You can also nominate by sending an email to or by calling 317-956-8528.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With students across Central Indiana back at school, the WISH Patrol once again partnered with Teachers’ Treasures to surprise an Indianapolis elementary school.

The WISH Patrol visited James Russell Lowell School IPS 51 in early August to surprise the students, teachers, and staff with a first day of school they will never forget.

“A lot of our students have faced a lot of adversity in their lives and they’d have a lot of the adverse childhood experiences that impact not just learning but it impacts their development as young people,” said Principal Pat Lumbley. “We have a great majority of our students that have those things in common.”

In total, 11 different Central Indiana businesses joined the WISH Patrol to surprise the students, teachers, and staff at IPS 51 with surprises worth thousands of dollars.

Preview the latest WISH Patrol surprise above. Catch the full surprise Thursday on News 8 at 10 p.m.

To nominate someone for the WISH Patrol, click here.

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. (WISH) — Jennifer Clark is the wife of Michael and the mother of two darling special needs children. The Clark family has been hit with many tests over the past several years. This year proved to be no exception.

The family lives in a small yellow home with a leaky roof in Alexandria. Medical bills have been piling up for years.

(Provided Photo/Clark Family)

The tests began with the birth of their daughter. Diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, doctors told Michael and Jennifer to enjoy their time with Suzie, because she likely wouldn’t make it past the age of 1. Four open-heart surgeries and more than 40 angioplasties later, at age 12, their walking miracle is still the life of the party.

The youngest child, Noah, was born in 2009. Kidney issues and spinal surgeries plagued his young body. Autism and ADHD plagued his mind.

“I told god, I said man, I tap out,” said Michael Clark. “No more tests because we’ve been loyal and I didn’t understand why the tests keep coming.”

Through everything, Jennifer was the family’s rock.

“It’s just tragic,” said family friend Steve Williams. “This family has known hardship for just so long and it’s sad.”

Always prepared with the reality of having to say goodbye to their daughter, on Jan. 25, Jennifer received news that meant her daughter may be the one saying goodbye to her. Having never smoked a day in her life, Jennifer was diagnosed with noncurable, nonsmall-cell lung cancer.

“We knew it was bad when the doctor offered for the nurse to take the kids out,” Michael said.

Usually not aggressive, her mutation was. By just the second CT scan, cancer had spread throughout her body.

(Provided Photo/Clark Family)

The Clark’s community knew they needed to step up and support the family. Friends Connie and Steve Williams wrote to the WISH Patrol.

“We just wanted to let her know that she’s not alone in this,” Connie Williams said. “We’re all there and we’re going to fight with her.”

The WISH Patrol had originally planned to surprise Jennifer and the entire Clark family with some special outings to create more special family memories. But five days prior to our surprise, we learned we needed to get to the hospital soon. Jennifer took a turn and doctors put her under.

(Provided Photo/Clark Family)

The WISH Patrol team quickly changed course and headed to the hospital.

Jennifer’s biggest concern was making sure her family was taken care of. The Clark’s home desperately needed a new roof.

TJ Elbert of Elbert Roofing quickly answered the call, offering to install a brand new roof on the Clarks’ Alexandria home.

“It just really makes you think,” said TJ Elbert. “Everybody has their ups and downs but what they’ve been through in the last year. It’s just a lot for anybody and it’s really humbling to think we were able to help out and it’s an honor to be able to do it.”

Hot Box Pizza generously donated dinner for family and friends gathered at Community Hospital Anderson to say goodbye.

Bokay Florist provided floral arrangements to help celebrate Jennifer’s beautiful life.

As Jennifer laid peacefully in her hospital bed just feet down the hall, family and friends spent the evening praying together, smiling together, remembering the good times, and crying over those that will never come.

Five days later, on the day the WISH Patrol originally planned to surprise Jennifer, she was surprised far more by the glory of heaven, ushered in as one of the richest people in the world, that is, if moments were money.

Michael Clark lost his wife and is now left raising his two children alone. If you would like to help the family in this trying time, a GoFundMe page has been established in Mike’s name. 

If you would like to nominate someone for a future WISH Patrol, click here

WISH Patrol surprises homeless veterans organization

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s estimated that around 33% of the homeless population are veterans. The same people who serve and protect sometimes end up in need of service and protection themselves.

Helping Veterans and Families (HVAF) was founded in 1993 to help meet that need. The organization takes a holistic approach to helping homeless and at-risk service members regroup, relearn and reimagine their lives.

“We get a lot of walk-in business, a lot of word of mouth out there in the homeless community,” said Brian Copes, CEO of HVAF. “Word gets around that we will take care of veterans, we’re a good place to go.”

The organization assigns caseworkers to every veteran in need, helping them navigate whatever obstacle they’re facing. HVAF provides housing, clothing, personal care items and even food.

Volunteers help keep HVAF running, and, in early June, those volunteers happened to be WISH-TV employees. Teams of employees spent a day organizing the pantry and rehabbing apartments. What the HVAF team did not know was that at the end of the day, our work was not quite finished. A quick interview request turned into a WISH Patrol surprise.

WISH-TV employees donated piles of clothing, canned goods and other items.

PHOTOS: WISH Patrol surprises homeless veterans organization

The Salvation Army donated $4,000 worth of clothing vouchers, along with additional vouchers to be used for furniture.

“We hope this is just the beginning of a long relationship because we appreciate your organization’s help with the veterans and their families and all that they’ve done for our country,” said Maj. Troy Barker of The Salvation Army.

Long’s Mattress donated 10 sets of bedding.

“I’ve got a bunch of family who has served and I really have a heartfelt passion for the place that veterans find themselves in. You guys are doing a great job,” said Doug Petroskey, owner of Long’s Mattress.

The HVAF team was overwhelmed by the WISH Patrol surprise.

“That’s 10 more veterans that you are giving more than just hope to. You are helping them get back on their feet. They are able to get their lives back together,” said Audrey Hopkins Long, HVAF’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s their families, their livelihood, it’s their pride, it’s dignity … it’s just knowing that they have a community that cares. They will take that with them forever, and we are incredibly grateful.”

WISH Patrol returns to surprise HVAF

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Every night, countless veterans sleep on the streets with nowhere to call home.

But one local organization is working to change that.

PHOTOS: WISH Patrol surprises homeless veterans organization

From providing housing to food, HVAF helped more than 1,000 homeless veterans last year and the WISH Patrol wanted to say thank you.

Catch the latest surprise Thursday at 10 p.m. on News 8.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The WISH Patrol began two years ago because we wanted to bring our community together.

In that time, we’ve received thousands of nominations and pulled off surprises big and small.

In 2018, the WISH Patrol went bigger than ever.

We invite you to revisit our past surprises – the ones that made us smile, and the ones that brought us to tears in an hourlong WISH Patrol special presentation.

WISHTV.COM: More WISH Patrol stories | Nominate someone for WISH Patrol

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s that time of year when you might get pulled over for a traffic violation and end up with a payday instead of a headache. 

The WISH Patrol’s holiday giveaway hit the streets of Indianapolis again this year. 

And the surprises were just as big as the payout. 

Northview Church partnered with WISH-TV this year to give $500 each to 10 lucky drivers, pulled over for traffic violations.

Steve Poe, senior pastor at Northview Church, said he knows for a lot of people, a gift instead of guilt behind the wheel will bring just the hope that this season is all about. 

“There are so many people that are struggling this time of year. Anytime we have the opportunity to bless the community or bless individuals, I think we’re being a reflection of Christ,” Poe said.

The WISH Patrol headed out with our partners in giving, Northview Church and the fine officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. 

The officer’s job? To pull over drivers who violated traffic laws, like Anthony, who was driving a little too fast. 

“I know Christmas can be difficult so instead of a ticket we wanted to bless you with $500, man,” Poe said. 

“Is this live right now? How y’all doing? It’s a crazy day. My mother’s water just got cut off yesterday. She needs this so bad. God bless y’all. God bless y’all. I’m in shock right now. Now I will slow down too. I promise. I promise.”

The drivers were all different, but all shared disbelief. 

But the surprise that stopped us all in our tracks was a man whose wife explained that he just lost his job. 

Through hugs a message was sent: There is hope in the hard times, a way forward, even when you forget to use your turn signal. 

Watch the video for all the other great WISH Patrol surprises. 

If you want to nominate an individual for a future WISH Patrol, click here.