Ryan Jansen was on track to go to West Point and eyeing a military career when a hard hit during a particularly hot football practice shattered those dreams.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Kate Roth used her nationality to break into a competitive career. A former nurse, Roth spent the first part of her life taking in as many cultures as possible. After building a family and settling down, she found a second career as a voice-over actor.
Minnie Johnson was 71 when she bought her first house, an unassuming white ranch-style home in Quincy with blue shutters and privacy fencing, a crowning achievement for a woman who slowly worked her way beyond the hand-to-mouth existence of her earliest days.
Jody Parrish had any number of chances to go down the wrong path. A love of sports pulled him through the hard times, and once he graduated, the military forced structure and maturity upon him. He's now a corrections officer at the Clayton Work Camp and is involved with Special Olympics to support his brother, Wesley.
Elsie was a 32-year-old divorcee with two young girls when she met John Hayes, a divorced World War II veteran, on a blind date at a no-longer standing corner tavern. Set-up by Elsie's sister and John's brother, the pair instantly clicked.
Quincy native Bob Havens, 87, has been on TV somewhere in the country every Saturday night for more than half a century. From playing jazz in the clubs on New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street to becoming a fixture on the Lawrence Welk Show, playing the trombone with Welk's band each week for a national audience, music and chance encounters drove Havens' career.
Jonathan Van Ness' role on Netflix's "Queer Eye" reboot has thrust him into a national spotlight, a far cry from his Midwest roots. Van Ness recently recapped the whirlwind journey that took him from being one of the few openly-gay kids in Quincy to being the "flamboyant" grooming expert on a Netflix show able to be streamed by the service's 100 million subscribers in 190 countries.
Gerome Crayton, a former drug dealer, went from cooking crack cocaine and selling it on the streets to cooking comfort food and selling it through the catering service he started. "I got a second chance," he said. "With the right care and unconditional love, anybody can rebound."
John Weilandich has been lucky to walk away with his life on more than one occasion. The St. Louis native-turned-rural Palmyra farmer was drafted into Vietnam shortly after he graduated from college. He spent a year in Vietnam and was wounded in the leg by shrapnel. Now 71, Weilandich's first check-up since his time in the Army was two years ago. His doctor heard a heart murmur, and an ultrasound revealed he needed surgery to have a heart valve replaced.