Do something nice to brighten someone’s day

Published May 1, 2013 at 11:32 am (Updated May 1, 2013 at 11:32 am)

In recent weeks, we’ve been reminded how compassionate and caring people can be. Not more evident than after the shootings in Newtown, Conn. in December and the bombings in Boston. The kindness displayed was amazing during these horrific disasters as life and limb were lost in seconds. The many personal challenges faced by caring men and women have re-enforced our faith in humanity.

From shielding and comforting men, women and children and moving them to safety, to opening homes to stranded runners, donating blood, offering free food and helping runners who returned to the streets of Boston to collect their personal things the day after the marathon, the inherent goodness in all of us is heartwarming.

The need to do good and to do what we can to help others is a gratifying feeling harbored in everyone.

Again this year, Country Meadows (CM) in Bridgeville set April aside as Practice Random Acts of Kindness Month in honor of Mary Jane Leader, Pennsylvania’s former first lady and cofounder of Country Meadows Retirement Communities. Born in April, Mary Jane was known to be a daily example of kindness to others and was a great inspiration to the CM staff. Her motto was to always be courteous to residents, clients, coworkers and prospects with hope to brighten someone’s day.

The generosity of the human spirit continues to live on at CM. U.S. Army veteran and resident for 22 years, Bill Burke enjoys helping his fellow neighbors each Thursday. When they return from shopping, he loads their packages on a cart and delivers them to the shoppers rooms. He also enjoys walking his neighbor’s terrier, Sam, mornings and evenings. Bill waters plants and flowers on the patios all summer and is sure to turn off lights each evening and even sees that the building’s doors are locked before retiring. Bill’s a Bingo caller, plays pool with residents and is always on hand to guide new residents.

Another resident, Nancy Goth is a former Bethel Park music teacher and has called CM home for seven years. Nancy shares her love of music with everyone and entertains with her piano music every chance she gets. Nancy leads a sing-a-long a few times a month and provides the music for Mass celebrated at CM by Father Richard from Holy Child Church. Nancy also delights young children with music at Noah’s Ark Preschool in McMurray.

Former staff member Loretta Barr from Scott Township has returned to CM as a volunteer. For about two years, Loretta has been a Bingo caller in Bldg. 4.

Country Meadows will recognize the many men and women who are generous and compassionate at its annual Volunteer Luncheon on May 2. Knowing well that they are happier and healthier as they practice the simple joy of giving and spreading kindness, these volunteers stress that their own personal challenges seem less critical as they help others.

Acts of kindness can be as simple as making someone laugh or giving up a parking space. Being kind can be powerfully contagious.

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