Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

January 27, 2013

01/27/2013: Lee Ward — Area residents performing acts of kindness, many anonymously

ASHLAND — Although I have lived in West Virginia most of my life, I feel right at home in Kentucky.

I grew up on the border between Mingo and Pike counties and those of us who lived there paid no nevermind to which state we were in.

It’s still that way where I come from.

In the Tri-State, we are much more conscious of the borders, probably because the main cities of the Tri-State aren’t exactly a stone’s throw from each other like they are back home.

However, I’ve come to think of Ashland as my home just the same way I think of Huntington and “Out Wayne” as my home.

One thing I noticed about Ashland right off is the organized, thorough approach to taking care of people. CAReS was working to make sure those in need were helped and no duplication was made so the maximum number can benefit. What a great idea.

Individuals were generous, too. I’d never seen so many people involved in volunteer work as I did when I moved here.

We also have many people quietly working to do good deeds for others.

A few weeks ago, I asked people to tell me about the good deeds they’ve done for others, a notion inspired by NBC news reporter Ann Curry’s “26 Acts” project, in which people are encouraged to do 26 acts of kindess in memory of the children killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and then let her know about those acts so she can report them.

One of our reporters thought we should ask readers to tell about their acts of kindness and I voluteered for the story.

A few people responded.

‰Debra Andrew Wright gave a beloved purse to a coworker who looked like she needed it, she said.

“I love giving away things I like!” she said. “I did it with a scarf one time, too. We’re instructed that the ‘sacrifice’ is when we give something we really like away, not something we don’t like. I was majorly roasted for my ‘giveaways’ when I turned 50 — they had a good time with that!”

Gary Arrington wrote about his granddaughter, Breanna. Her grandmother had socked away two of the same kind of doll for Breanna for Christmas. Breanna loved the doll and months later, when Grandma told her there was another doll and asked her what to do with it, Breanna, 7, said, “Let’s give it to Brent and he can give it to a little girl in Haiti.”

“Breanna had attended a church service where a preacher named Brent Gambrell of ‘A Door to Hope Ministries’ had spoken on the poverty in Haiti. ...Breanna also wanted to help the people in Haiti; her answer was not prompted by anyone. It simply came from the innocent heart of a child that wanted to help another.”

Breanna’s grandmother took her to church that night. “Brent was very touched that a 7-year-old had shown such interest in his work in Haiti. He was even more touched at Breanna’s unselfish desire to help a little girl who lived almost 2,000 miles away whom she didn’t even know.

“Brent traveled to Haiti in December carrying the special gift with him. He prayed that God would show him the special girl that would receive the gift. With prayer and consideration the doll was given to Josephine. Josephine lives in an orphanage in Haiti; she has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Josephine squealed when she received the doll just as Breanna did the Christmas before when she had received her doll.

“This random act of kindness tore down social barriers and expressed a simple love of fellow mankind. Breanna is now trying to write to Josephine and form a friendship. Perhaps one day they will meet in person and relive the joy their dolls brought them as a child. We never know how we will affect a another with a random act of kindness. We do know that love always builds up and never tears down. Let us all learn a lesson from a child that giving is better than receiving.”

‰A group of friends who met working in local radio and wish to remain anonymous bought a young music lover from a large family a gift of music for his Christmas this year — a full-size dreadnaught acoustic guitar.

‰The man who started the previously mentioned project also, along with his church family, gathered and distributed 46 winter coats to area homeless.

A longtime Ashlander told me she thought most people kind enough to commit random acts of kindness are also modest enough not to tell on themselves.

I believe that’s true.

I wish more people had admitted to being the kind souls they are, but modesty is a good quality, too. Anyway, I know you’re out there.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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