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5 Stories That Made Us Proud to Be Chicagoans in 2014

Marquis Jackson gives Ed Howard a bear hug after the U.S. championship game. Josh Houston (left) and Brandon Green join in the celebration.   PHOTO: NUCCIO DINUZZO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE

1Jackie Robinson West Little League

We were so proud to include the team among our Chicagoans of the Year. These 13 boys won the U.S. title and earned a spot in the Little League World Series Championship Game by defeating Las Vegas’ Mountain Ridge with a sweet 7-5 victory. We are happy to call them our team.

2 Greatest Drinking City in America

According to GQ magazine, you can’t walk down any Chicago street without passing a new, packed bar. We are proud and filled with boozy pride. Thanks, GQ!

3 Firefighter Rescues Dog from icy Lake Michigan

During last winter’s polar vortex, firefighters rescued a dog from the icy waters of Lake Michigan with a heroic effort. The crew warmed the dog and returned it to its owner. The dog is OK, guys! 

4 Man Makes the Homeless His Valentines

There are many ways to spread love but this takes the cake. Chicago resident Peter Vitale decided to spend his Valentine’s Day with the homeless. He bought his Valentines coffee and breakfast. He also passed out candy in heart-shaped boxes. He recorded his encounters and posted to YouTube with hopes of inspiring others. D’aw!

5 Urban Prep Academies High School Celebrates First College Graduates

Jamil Boldian, Krishaun Branch, and Rayvaughn Hines beat long odds to graduate from college, four years after they were in the inaugural graduating class at Urban Prep Academies, a charter high school for young African-American men, many of whom live in areas prone to gang violence. The founder, Tim King, pledged that if the students had discipline and dreamed big, they could make it into college with hopes of succeeding in life. They’re off to a good start, and now their story can give hope to others.

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