Archive for Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Shouts and Murmurs: Signs of warm, caring community

February 16, 2005

I learned Monday night, that Valentine's Day is a big day at schools.

Tonganoxie Elementary's assistant principal Tammie George said by the end of Valentine's Day, the school office resembles a florist's shop -- so many gifts come in.

And, it's not unusual for individual students to receive flowers and balloons from family and friends.

But Monday's celebrations reached the max when two anonymous high school boys set a goal -- to deliver a flower and a personalized Valentine card to every senior girl and to every woman on the high school faculty and staff.

"It was all abuzz at the school today, the girls were trying to figure out who it was," Shelton said Monday night.

The office had counters full of flowers, which student aides delivered, she said.

The boys' mothers told Shelton that the boys spent all day Sunday writing out their cards.

Though the gifts were a surprise to most, Shelton said she had a head's up. The students first asked for permission to carry out their Valentine's Day project.


Community members -- those closest to Pat Albert and his family -- have stepped up to help the family.

Albert, a tireless volunteer for the city's fire department, a coach for a national winning girls softball team, a teacher, a former city council member and a former chamber of commerce president, has been hospitalized since Jan. 14.

Though most of us know the public Albert, there's another side -- that of husband and father.

It's heartwarming to hear how so many are doing so much to show their support for Albert and his family.

There seem to be key players in this story -- firefighters, school district employees and softball players and their families.

Tonganoxie's fire chief Dave Bennett called the fire department a "brotherhood."

"You've got 27 or 28 people down here who become very close because they're put in stressful situations," Bennett said. "It's like one huge family."

And put in perspective when hearing how various community groups have come together to show support for Pat Albert, his wife, Marcia, and their daughter, Amanda, it becomes all the more apparent why small towns are the best place to live.

Or, as our fire chief might say, "It's like one big family."

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