Rolly: Salt Lake-area businesses pony up for ill 3-year-old
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British Prime Minister David Cameron might think Salt Lake City is in the middle of nowhere, but Twin Falls, Idaho, resident Glen Thorne says the warmth his family has received here makes it one special place.

Thorne's 3-year-old son, Brayden, suffers from a rare kidney disease and for most of his life has had to travel to Primary Children's Medical Center for treatments, including multiple surgeries.

During the medical trips, they have tried to take Brayden and his 5-year-old brother, Quinn, on outings to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

They have gone to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy, the Hollywood Connection theme park in West Valley City and other attractions.

Brayden had another surgery set for Friday, so the family drove to Salt Lake City along with Brayden's grandparents. With that crowd, Glen Thorne called the Living Planet Aquarium, explained his son's situation and asked about the possibility of discount tickets.

The aquarium did one better. They said the family could be admitted for free and could visit the "Penguin Encounter," which is closed on Thursdays but would open up just for them.

The Hollywood Connection also offered the family passes, and the Clark Planetarium at Gateway offered discounts.

Brayden, a big hockey fan, also got a visit in the hospital from Utah Grizzlies trainer Mike Plandowski. All and all, despite Brayden having to undergo his sixth surgery during his short life, it was a good trip

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night •You can count Marilyn Copeland as among those who hope the U.S. Postal Service never goes out of business.

Recently, Copeland, who lives in the Foothill Village area, opened her door to get her mail when her young terrier slipped out and pranced away. She didn't know the dog was gone until she got back inside the house. Worried that he wouldn't be able to find his way back on the cold, rainy morning, she got in her car and prowled the neighborhoods. When she couldn't find him, she feared the worst.

Arriving back home, CopeĀ­land saw a USPS vehicle in front of her residence. A mail carrier whose first name is Sherry had found the dog half a mile away and returned him safely home. Sherry had noticed the dog wandering from house to house and thought he might be lost, so she petted him and checked his tag.

Another incident involved a USPS carrier named Joey. He rang Copeland's doorbell to get her signature for an insured package — a 48-year-old Rolex wristwatch that she had sent to New York for repair when local shops had no parts for a watch that old.

The manufacturer's repair shop in New York City was returning the watch, noting they, too, were unable to restore it.

Copeland and the USPS carrier chatted briefly about the contents of the package, then he left. A few days later, Copeland says, Joey handed her the business card of a fellow in her neighborhood who has a watch repair business. She took the watch to him and he had the parts to get the watch running again.

The dramatic crescendo •Bob Harmon, co-owner of Harmons Grocery Stores, couldn't have ordered a better backdrop when he spoke during a press conference touting the economic benefits of people shopping at locally owned businesses and restaurants.

The gathering was called to tout a study showing that local businesses return more money to the community than national chains. When it was Harmon's turn to speak at Emigration Market, his words were drowned out by the roar of a truck pulling out of the parking lot.

It was a Loomis Armored truck picking up the store's cash receipts.

prolly@sltrib.com