Mr. Bojangles, a black stallion owned by Jerry Thornton of Holladay, Tenn., stands on his hind quarters in the finale of their act together during the 48th Annual Salem Stampede Rodeo. Mr. Bojangles is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and was dropped off in a huge trailer filled with various animals, including chickens, goats and dogs after the hurricane. Thornton's home was close to the interstate and the trailer stopped at his place to rest. The people with the trailer at the time asked if Thornton would take Mr. Bojangles but he initially said no. They were on their way to Nashville, distributing animals to rescue homes along the way. "Three days passed, they came back through and nobody would take him...he was pitiful looking. He didn't weigh 400 pounds. He was real skinny and the hair was off his back," Thornton said. Mr. Bojangles was found after Hurricane Katrina standing in water up to his belly, with wires and vines wrapped around his legs and evidence that small animals had taken refuge on his back. Today, Thornton, Mr. Bojangles, Thornton's daughter Janelle and Bolero, an Azteca horse, perform together in the arena across the country. Thornton is in his 35th year of performing in rodeos.
From left to right: Dakota Clark runs with a football as Robert Williams tries to keep his dad Robert Williams, Sr. and his brother Eli Williams from tackling Dakota as they play close to a flooded Greenway underneath the Walnut Avenue bridge in the snow off of Hamilton Terrace on Thursday, Mar. 5, 2015.
Ronnae Ramey, 16, center, cheers with her teammates from William Fleming High School and Patrick Henry High School cheerleaders during halftime of the boys varsity basketball game on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Ramey experienced the sudden loss of her father at the beginning of the year and began a slow road to continue her life without him. Ronnae's father, Ronald Lee Ramey, 54, was shot and killed on the night of Jan. 4 in the 3600 block of Shenandoah Ave. after a night of partying at the former Obenchain's Greenhouses. He along with Lenard Antonio Hamlett, 29, died, and four others were injured.
“Dad always wanted me to finish high school and go to college,” Ronnae said. “I’m doing this for my father and my mother.”
She’s graduating a year early in the spring, and she’s filling out applications for numerous colleges, including Virginia Union University and Norfolk State University. Ronnae loves children, so she wants to study to be a labor and delivery nurse. She excels in school and has joined the cheerleading team at William Fleming High School.
James Lee Britt, 77, bends down to say hello to Janine Vandenberg's cat, One Sock, and chats with Vandenberg before he heads back into his apartment at Melrose Towers on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Britt had just returned from picking up some food items downstairs at the weekly food delivery through the Joint Residents Council of the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Melrose Towers Council. Fitted with dentures last month after not wearing any for 15 years, Britt says he is more social now and talks more with his neighbors and friends. He can also now eat chips, of which he picked up during the weekly trip, in addition to some fruit and a lemon pie. Before then Britt said he would have to "mash it up" and hold the food in his mouth to let the saliva soften it. "I thought they would forget the poor people, but they're not. That's why I'm kind of speechless. I'm getting everything that I didn't get before. And I'm happy about it," Britt said. "It's like a new toy, you know," he added. Britt received his dentures through a $40,000 grant by the Foundation for the Roanoke Valley.
Rising stars leave concentric arcs around Polaris, the North Star, on a long-exposure photo taken on a clear night from the Blue Ridge Parkway at a lookout point near Explore Park on May 13. This photo merges 60 images, with each image made with a 30-second exposure. I used an intervalometer, a remote timer. To photograph star trails, it's recommended to plan ahead for a clear night with low light pollution, low humidity and the least amount of moonlight.
Gladis Perez and her husband Eulogio Hernandez watch as a house they were in the process of renovating for their daughter is consumed by fire. A two alarm fire broke out at 918 Bullitt Avenue SE in Roanoke Tuesday evening, January 7, 2014. According to the homeowner Eulogio Hernandez, nobody was home at the time.
Daniel Copeland feeds his children dinner on July 17, 2014. "They should have dinner by the time they get home by their mom, but, you gotta do what you gotta do," he said. Daniel Copeland's wife is currently in jail and he acts as caretaker and disciplinarian. Kameron has a big sister through the Big Brother and Big Sister program in Roanoke.
Lori Mick, 77, and her husband, Harold, 80, sit together on a bed at their home in Blacksburg on Feb. 5, 2015. "He did truly come straight through the window," Lori said of when she met her husband-to-be. Lori was 20 years old at the time giving her parents a surprise visit in Mason City, Iowa. In her bed while sleeping, Harold, 24 at the time, climbed through an open casement window directly over her bed to surprise her parents with a gift. "And there he was, the head you know, I didn't know him. I really thought that you were robbing me," Lori said to Harold. "So I screamed...ran up the stairs. Had these big curlers in my beautiful long black hair and I met my mother in the stairwell. And she came flying down the stairs and she just started laughing," Lori said. "I fell in love quickly with Harold. I was just desperate to catch him," she added. Two weeks later, Harold asked her out on a date. After 56 years of marriage and having two children, they are both now retired from teaching after obtaining their PhD's. And what is the secret to a happy, successful marriage? Some time apart is important, Lori said. "Companionship. Sharing responsibilities willingly and trusting your partner. We just enjoy being with each other. We're buddies," Harold added.
William Byrd High School students celebrate their win over Blackburg High School after the the first round of the 3A West tournament at William Byrd High School. William Byrd won 67-60.
Josh Brammer, left, and Chris Woody, right, practice their dance skills next to a mural by local graffiti artist and muralist Scott Noel, who goes by the namesake Toobz, on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 in downtown Roanoke. The mural is located next to the Taubman Museum of Art underneath the Williamson Road overpass. The two dancers, including their filmmaker, Quali Scales, chose the picturesque location for the backdrop of a video they were putting together.
Meghan Gill was executive chef at Stefano's On The Market in downtown Roanoke and appeared on Fox channel's Hell's Kitchen. Gill won the competition and became the new head chef at Caesars Atlantic City
Asha, a female African elephant, is fed by her handler, Mark Easley, at the Natural Bridge Zoo in Rockbridge County on Thursday, May 21, 2015.
A California-based group called In Defense of Animals has declared the Natural Bridge Zoo the worst place in America for an elephant to live.
That’s because Asha, 31, has essentially been held in solitary confinement for most of her life at the zoo, IDA asserts. African elephants are highly social, traveling in herds and forming bonds through sophisticated means of communication. As an only elephant at the zoo, Asha is lonely and needs the companionship of other pachyderms, the thinking goes.
Mark Easley, Asha’s longtime handler at the zoo, bristles at the idea.
The elephant enjoys the company of several dogs, he said, and thrives on the regular attention she gets from humans. She sleeps in a heated barn during the winter, and in warmer weather is taken to a nearby farm where she can romp through the pastures.
“We pretty much spoil the crap out of her,” Easley said while feeding Asha special elephant pellets from a five-gallon plastic drum. “She’s our baby.”
Besides, he said, how do other people know what an elephant is thinking?
“She doesn’t know anything else in her life but this,” he said of Asha’s existence at the zoo, where she has spent nearly her entire 31 years after Mogensen rescued her as a 3-foot tall baby whose mother had been culled in Zimbabwe.
Just like people, Easley said, elephants can have different preferences when it comes to social interaction. “We’re all different as human beings, and I don’t necessarily want you as a stranger moving into my home,” he said.
Blacksburg Bruins' Sarah Linkenhoker(8) take a hit from the soccer ball past Brentsville District Tigers' Hope Fathere (13) during the Group 3A Girls semifinal VHSL soccer championships on Friday, June 12, 2015. Blacksburg went on to win and advance to the finals, 2-0.
Al Davis, a Vietnam veteran and life member of Post 1184 out of Pulaski, Va., second right, stands at the ready to raise the American flag with the help of fellow Vietnam veterans Gary Harris, left, and Col. Bud Jeffries, center, as they wait for the Posting of the Colors to begin Radford's 17th annual Memorial Day program at Bisset Park on Monday, May 2, 2015.
Isaac Underwood, 23, right, and his older brother John Underwood, 27, center, both look over the seen of what was left from a fire at the old Riverside Grocery that happened Sunday evening, Dec. 6, with Ron Kovar, left, of the fire investigation and prevention department at Botetourt County's Fire & EMS. According to Isaac, he lived in a two bedroom apartment on the second floor of the former Grocery and was at his friend's house, Stevie Ayers, when he received a call from another friend. John was on his way home, where he lives two houses up from the Grocery, when he saw the fire. Isaac had been living at the apartment since last November, while his older brother had moved out around the same time. Their father, bought the store in 2000 and ran it for about six to seven years. "I remember coming here as a kid and getting candy and stuff," Isaac stated. Later on he grins reminiscing about throwing several large parties.
Matthew Hall, 35, lifts on the strict press at the Railyard CrossFit in Salem on Friday morning, Nov. 6, 2015. Hall is a double amputee who will compete in the Working Wounded Games, sponsored by the Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance, for the first time this year. Hall eventually won second place overall in the competition.
Hall was born in 1980 without bones in his feet and part of his legs. He was also missing the middle fingers on both hands. His parents were living then in Boone, North Carolina, but moved to Denver so their baby could be treated at the children’s hospital there. At the age of 6 months, surgeons removed his right leg from above the knee and his left leg below the knee.
Ann Martyn of Roanoke smells a clipping of multi flora rose during the May Explore Hike on Saturday, May 16, 2015.
A female or immature male Cardinal bird is seen early Tuesday morning, Dec. 8, 2015 eating bittersweet berries during the last 12 months, 12 hikes, one trail series at Explore Park.
A pedestrian walks across Church Avenue as snow continues to pour down in downtown Roanoke on Wednesday morning, Nov. 26, 2014.
Coach Frank Beamer with the Virginia Tech Hokies acknowledges the crowd as they shout "Thank you, Beamer!" in unison prior to the last game of his career against UNC on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 at Lane Stadium.
Steve Davenport carries a turkey he shot in his sack to carry back to the Moose Lodge.
Karon Copeland, 8, plays with a balloon in some space in the living room. Karon's mom is currently in jail and his father acts as caretaker and disciplinarian. The family hopes that the mother, Nicole, will be released from jail soon.
Chris Barlow gives his twin sons, Khrishawn (front) and Khristian, 2, a ride in a wagon as they turn from Moorman Ave NW onto 16th Street NW Tuesday afternoon. Barlow said it was their first time out in the wagon enjoying the weather.
Taylor Ray Amos, 28, packs up bales of flue-cured tobacco in Penhook, Virginia, with temporary workers Joaquin Perez Medina, right, and Jose Luis Galarza Zuniga, center, onto a trailer for delivery to Danville.
Judge Douglas Myers in Ring One takes a look at Purrsia, also known as Purr Bits' Pursian Princess, during the Central Carolina Cat Fanciers and Star City Cat Fanciers CFA Allbreed Cat Show on Saturday. Purrsia is a Brown Mackeral Tabby owned by Jean Aldrich of Mount Airy, N.C., and has been showing her cat since March of last year.
Kimmie Rulo leans on her dad, Charles, as they wake up in their living room together. The family of five lived in a cramped single-wide trailer. Charles was the sole financial provider trying to provide for his three children and wife, Angie.
Marina Snyder, 20, listens and reacts to Pittsylvania Circuit Court Judge Stacey Moreau, as she hears that she will continue to stay in the Department of Juvenile Justice until she has turned 21 in June. Snyder was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a deadly 2012 Franklin County car crash. Looking frail and tearful, Snyder testified on her own behalf at Thursday’s review hearing. “I’m responsible for the death of Zach Parsons,” she told Judge Stacey Moreau when asked why she was there. “I’ve learned my choices have consequences. I’d like to just continue coming to terms with the mistake I made.”
Fathers and their daughters dance the night away together at the Green Ridge Recreation Center during the annual father daughter dance.
2011 outgoing queen Jordan Johnston and second attendant Blaire Warner take in their last parade during Millersport's Sweet Corn Festival in Ohio late August.
Val Fuller, 4, shows off his muscles as his mom Cyndi, watches over him outside of their trailer on Roush Lane. The family moved into Cheshire, Oh., three months ago and enjoy the wide open space behind their trailer, which is farmland owned by Connie and David Palmer that provides a clear view of Gavin Power Plant.
DiMingo Hale of Kingsport, Tenn., kisses his sons Malachi and Micah Hale as his wife Sara snaps a photo while they wait for him to board his plane at Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tenn., on March 31, 2011. Hale returned to Afghanistan to serve his second tour of duty.
Dereck Merrill's life changed in 2012 when he overdosed on drugs. He started using marijuana when he was 14 and slid down a slippery slope towards prescription pills.
Dereck Merrill and his mother Kim Muncy head towards Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet after their neurology appointment. While Dereck can now speak after waking up from a vegetative state and has some motor function in his left hand, he is still working on the hope that he may walk again. Kim has been a champion to raise awareness for Dereck's story.
Pastor Dan Peterson of Circle J Cowboy Church baptizes Mike McConnell with help from fellow member Steve Wade in a horse feeding trough filled with water. Peterson leads a congregation at the Kingsport Livestock Auction at 200 North John B. Dennis Highway every Thursday at 7p.m. The unique ministry reaches out to people with a "come as you are" attitude. McConnell is a farmer by trade and found the church after reading a sign posted on the auction door. Before then, McConnell did not attend church.
Misty Way, of Nelsonville, Ohio, takes a drag from her cigarette while waiting on her boyfriend Elmer Kimmey, also of Nelsonville, Ohio and neighbor Joe McKee as they wire shut the hood of her stock car prior to the Marietta Demolition Derby on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. This was Way's first year driving in a demolition derby. "I'm nervous as hell," Way said. She went on to place third.
Charles Leonard, 24, of Kingsport does his best to stay afloat by pouring water out of his Jeep after he failed to negotiate a curve coming off of Wilcox Drive onto Jared Drive shortly before 4p.m. January 27, 2011. Leonard landed into the South Fork of the Holston River sluice after he exited the road, slipped between several trees and splashed into the river. He did not suffer any injuries. A field sobriety test was performed by Kingsport Officer Mark Johnson and Leonard passed but was charged with failure to maintain control.
Chris Palmer feeds calves in a barn during the afternoon. Chris and his parents, David and Connie Palmer have lived in Cheshire for 25 years, raising young dairy calves for larger farms for the last four years through the Kentucky Hefer Growers organization. The Palmers are Phase 1 growers, raising calfs from 0-4 months for about two months. They have about 102 calves on their farm. Their son Chris, 22, graduated from River Valley High School in 2007and hopes to raise dairy cows himself. "It might affect us some day, health-wise, I don't know, that's what you hear…but actually, West Virginia might get worse than we do," said David.