Community angels warm hearts in the most needed times

From the Editor’s Desk

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly’s Managing Editor

HAPPY NEIGHBOUR - Local resident Rafferty Eddy (left) and her friend Laney Pasemko show smiles, after Eddy’s house was nominated on December 12 for its holiday decorations. Photo by: DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

HAPPY NEIGHBOUR – Local resident Rafferty Eddy (left) and her friend Laney Pasemko show smiles, after Eddy’s house was nominated on December 12 for its holiday decorations. Photo by: DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Emotions are running high with Christmas season in full-swing. And, as always, our community is relentlessly helping others. This is one thing – of many – that our residents never fail at. ‘’Wood Buffalo Gives Back” is a repetitive headline.

Even with the hard crush of our current economy, we remain believers. We remain strong, hopeful and we continue to rally together.

I recall an interview I had with Marty Giles, owner of our local Ford franchise, last fall. He said that here, in Fort McMurray, “we are the Underdogs” because outsiders have their false acquisitions of what are community is about – this stuck with me.

And, here we are, the ‘Underdogs’ bringing out our best of a bad situation – as we always do. We hit record-breaking fundraising goals. And when someone asks for help (which can be the hardest thing to do), we don’t hesitate. We don’t question. And we do it with no expectations.

Sometimes help can be costly, as we have learned over the past few weeks with the news of our local hero Bo Cooper. (My prayers and thoughts are with him and I’m proud of our entire community for being beside him in his fight to battle Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Please donate to his cause at www.gofundme.com/bocooper).

Sometimes help doesn’t cost a nickel. The help can come as a gesture or a thank you – you never know how long someone may have gone without hearing that phrase. Small acts of kindness can move mountains and our community is full of angels.

Last week, one young boy’s act of kindness moved me in a way that he may never know.
I was volunteering for my son’s school as a ‘gift wrapper’. His school had a Christmas store (a fundraising initiative for the school), where families brought in donations of new or gently used items.

These items were put out on display, then each student had the opportunity to purchase a gift for each of their family members for $2. (I love this idea, as my son has been learning that Christmas isn’t about receiving, but giving.)

The young boy came up to me with a gift to wrap and I asked him if that was all, as some of the other students had a variety of items from three presents – to even eight in total.

He said to me, “No, that’s it. It’s for my grandma. She’s sick in the hospital and really likes angels.”

He said to me, “No, that’s it. It’s for my grandma. She’s sick in the hospital and really likes angels.”
I got really choked up when he shared this. With his heart-of-gold gleaming at me, he was so sincere and proud that he found something special for her.

He continued to tell me about her angel collection, while I thought that I was sure this little man is his grandmother’s favourite angel. It’s the reality of the lives around us. That we don’t always know the full story of what’s happening with others.

The next day, I went out door-knocking to nominate neighbours for their beautiful holiday displays. My last door of the evening was at a sweet lady’s house.

When I knocked on her door, she asked if I was here for the tree. Turns out, she was donating an artificial tree to someone in need.

When I explained I was volunteering for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Nominate Your Neighbour program, she was beyond grateful and with tears in her eyes, told me that I made her Christmas. She continued to show me the items on display and explained her decorating methods. I took it all in because she just made mine.

– Connect Weekly –