Helping hands, warming hearts

Published 9:47 am Friday, February 17, 2017

Southampton Memorial’s East Pavilion was treated on Valentine’s Day to a seemingly random act of kindness. That’s when Bronco Federal Credit Union employees and eight Capron Elementary School students reached out to carry out their deed, which had actually been planned in advance. Together they presented hot pink roses each in a bud vase, complete with ribbon, to 160 residents and staff members. Bronco also delivered 40 roses to Lake Prince Woods in Suffolk.

Esther Francis, director at East Pavilion, said, “That act of kindness that Bronco did — we are fortunate to be living in a community that cares about its residents and staff as well. They were so appreciative. It was a great gesture of kindness. It was awesome.”

She added that Farm Fresh had provided helium balloons and a centerpiece as well.

The seed for this project goes back to the start of the year. According to Ann Crusenberry, training and marketing specialist at the credit union, “Bronco FCU continues to look for opportunities to complete acts of kindness through their new Bronco’s Helping Hands initiative. In January, 37 staff members were given $10 VISA gift cards and tasked with performing a random act of kindness in our community. The response to the “kickoff” event was overwhelmingly positive.”

Wanting to continue with such action, the idea arose of flowers to be delivered to the aforementioned locations.

Then the staff learned that several Capron students had also participated in their own “Random Acts of Kindness” in January. Bronco reached out to Guidance Counselor Wendi Simmons to ask for their help with the special deliveries.

“It was wonderful to see the smiles on the faces of the residents and staff as we presented them with their surprise,” said Bronco CEO Brian Hedgepeth. “In addition, it was great to have our local youth involved in learning about how important it is to give back to our community. The students of Capron Elementary were definitely a bright spot.”

The school principal agreed that the event was a moving experience.

“It was heart-touching the way the children reacted to those residents,” said Dr. Allison Francis, and added that after one boy had made his presentation to a resident, the woman said it was the first flower she’s received from a man since her husband passed away.

“The kids really enjoyed it,” the principal continued, saying that the students were quite well behaved.

Francis noted that the residents’ eyes lit up when the Capron and Bronco teams showed up with the flowers.

“It was very sweet to watch,” she said.

Crusenberry stated that the Valentine’s Day project won’t be the only act of kindness. Bronco FCU plans to continue such throughout the year “in the community that loves and supports them.”

She encourages people to visit and for the latest details on Bronco’s Helping Hands.