* This is a two-part column.
We have thousands of Southern Indiana Extra Milers who are performing acts of kindness every day. Last month, Southern Indiana joined the nation in celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week, and I asked our readers to let us know of acts of kindness that have been performed for them.
The two columns are a compilation of the submissions. All submissions can be found on the Web site, www.theextramilers.com. Do you recognize our Extra Milers for April?
• Mr. John Blunk, of Clarksville, wrote about the loss of his beloved dog, Nicki. As any good pet owner knows, one of the most difficult things we can do is make the life or death decision when our pet is in pain beyond healing.
Mr. Blunk recently had to deal with this pain as he lost his companion and best friend of 12 years. He found comfort during the painful process through the kindness of his veterinarian, Dr. H.R. Gough, and his staff. They were respectful of Mr. Blunk’s feelings and emotions.
Mr. Blunk then discovered the pet services offered through Scott’s Funeral Home, where he also was treated with respect and compassion, as he said goodbye to his devoted friend. To Dr. Gough and his staff and Scott’s Funeral Home — thank you for going the Extra Mile.
• Etta Devine called to tell us about her wonderful neighbors, Jean and Bill Wheeler. Etta is 84 years old, recovering from four strokes, and has little mobility.
“Bill and Jean are two of the most wonderful people in the world ... they are good to everyone they know, not just me,” she explained.
Etta went on to note that they have taken her to the hospital — remaining with her — performed chores for her around the house, and they even bring her dinner each evening. They have been neighbors for more than 20 years, and Etta doesn’t know what she would do without them.
“Both Bill and Jean have their own physical issues to deal with, but that doesn’t stop them from doing for everyone else,” she said.
Bill and Jean see things that need to be done and they step up and do them. She said they also are very active in their church in New Albany. Etta, thank you for introducing us to Jean and Bill Wheeler, Southern Indiana Extra Milers.
• Kelly Bayens reported an act of kindness that was bestowed upon her family at the Tumbleweed along Charles-town Road in New Albany.
“My husband and I took our two daughters, ages 2 and 5, out to eat on a Friday night. They were extremely busy. We only waited about 15 to 20 minutes for our table. However, once we were seated, it took about 10 minutes for our server to come take our drink orders and about the same to take our food order.
We were there for around an hour and a half. The entire time our daughters were very well behaved as they sat in their chairs and colored. We never heard much from them. There was a couple sitting in the booth next to our table (I didn’t get their names.) who made it a point to come over to our table when they were leaving to tell our girls how well behaved they are, especially given the length of time they had to wait.
As the woman proceeded to tell them this, she gave each of them $10 and told them to go buy a little gift. I was completely shocked that someone would come over and pass along kind comments and then also provide gifts to the girls. You can imagine how proud I was of them, but even more amazed at how generous it was of a complete stranger to come over and say something to us.
It didn’t stop there. A few moments later, the manager walked up to check on us to see if we needed anything and my husband told her, “No, thanks, we would just like to get our bill.” The manager then told us that there was a surprise for the night. The wonderful couple that not only gave our girls a little gift also had taken care of our dinner bill.
I think about those wonderful people quite often and pray that God will bless them as they did us. Nobody made them pay for our dinner; they just did it out of the kindness of their hearts. I only wish I could have told them, thank you, it is something that I will remember forever.”
To the couple who bestowed this Random Act of Kindness, thank you for being Southern Indiana Extra Milers — you will never know the impact you made on this family, especially the young girls.
• Alice and Jerry Miles notified us about their neighbors, Cheryl and Bob Klueppelberg, and their son, Eric. Their good deeds as neighbors go back to Hurricane Ike.
After the storm, Alice and Jerry had limbs and leaves throughout their half-acre property. They came home one afternoon and every leaf and branch had been picked up. They quickly discovered that Cheryl and Eric (Eric was 8 years old at the time.) had accomplished this good deed.
However, the kindness didn’t stop there.
Later, when an ice and snow storm hit, Alice and Jerry decided to stay indoors to avoid risk of injury on the ice. The Klueppelberg’s cleaned off a walkway to their mailbox and brought them their newspaper. Alice and Jerry were appreciative of this act; however, there was more to come.
Jerry looked outside the next day and their neighbors were shoveling off their entire slanted driveway.
“When we initially moved into this subdivision five years ago, we were concerned about living in a subdivision without more space around us, as we had all of our lives,” said Alice. “It didn’t take us long to realize the importance of having neighbors close by to help when needed.”
Alice and Jerry, thank you for letting us know about your caring neighbors — Cheryl, Bob and Eric Klueppelberg — who are Southern Indiana Extra Milers.
• Pat Treadway, of Jeffersonville, wanted to give kudos to one of our county officers, Nick Mobley.
“My car died as I was picking up my granddaughter from Jeff High School recently. Cars began beeping as traffic was backing up behind me, which upset me and my granddaughter, but I was unable to get my car started (the alternator had stopped working).
“Then, a county officer, Cpl. Nick Mobley, showed up and was very kind. He motioned for help from some men and pushed the car for me to the side of the road. I was so nervous, I couldn’t even steer, but he even leaned in the window and steered the car. I just want to recognize him for his kindness to us.”
Thank you, Cpl. Mobley, for being a Southern Indiana Extra Miler.
• John and Delores Malone, of New Albany, sent an e-mail recognizing a great neighbor, Mr. Terry Rutledge.
“We live in the Woodland Hills subdivision of New Albany and received a tremendous amount of snow and ice during the January storm. The driveway, from our home to the street, is long and has quite an incline. Although my husband had shoveled some snow and ice from the driveway, much more needed to be done.
“One evening, in an effort to go out for food, we had great difficulty because the car kept sliding and the wheels kept spinning. When we returned home, we were pleasantly surprised and grateful that our neighbor, Terry Rutledge, had been kind enough to come over and remove more of the snow and ice from our driveway. This made it so much easier for us to get in and out.
“As older citizens, we appreciated this help.”
Terry Rutledge, thank you for going the extra mile for your neighbors.
We also received kindness tips, actions and activities that work to teach others about random kind acts and those responses will be published Sunday. Thanks to everyone who went out of their way to make Random Acts of Kindness Week something very special in Southern Indiana.
Carol A. Dawson is a resident of Jeffersonville and owner of EEO GUIDANCE Inc. If you have seen or been a part of an act of kindness or know an Extra Miler, please contact her. To submit an Extra Miler, a story or act of kindness, contact Carol via e-mail at Extra.Milers@newsandtribune.com, or mail at THE EXTRA MILERS, The Evening News, 221 Spring St., Jeffersonville, IN 47130-3340.
* This is a two-part column.
- Extra Milers
- THE EXTRA MILER: Making people better
EXTRA MILER: Clark Memorial Hospital musicians giving it their all
The rest of the evening was equally impressive with one hit after the other coming from a group of 12 men and two women who were clearly having a good time. Everyone in the band has a direct affiliation to Clark Memorial Hospital and they are our Extra Milers for February because they donate every penny of their proceeds to charitable organizations. It actually costs each of the members to participate in the band (gas, instrument, set-up, etc.), but that doesn’t seem to be a problem because of their passion for music and friendships.
- THE EXTRA MILERS: Heroes of March 2
EXTRA MILER: Someone who cares a lot
Waiting backstage to surprise our Extra Miler, John Templeton (Cat in the Hat) and Ellie Delap (Gertrude) were feeling a bit nostalgic. Both are seniors at Jeffersonville High School and this was to be their final high school performance. Standing just behind them, Donna VanHook, our Extra Miler, was doing what she has done best for at least 9 years. She is tugging on a costume and pinning it in just the right places so that it fits properly.
- The Extra Milers: Teaching by example
- EXTRA MILER: The courage to say yes
EXTRA MILER: Sisters of the Heart
Both girls have been involved in volunteer activities for several years. Amber serves on the student council of her school and has volunteered several times in soup kitchens. Sophia loves to dance and has entertained in nursing homes on several occasions.
EXTRA MILER: Overcoming fear by facing it head-on
As a young girl, I was reluctant to learn how to ride a bicycle. I was torn between wanting the wind in my hair as I hit the open road with friends and the fear of falling with a splat to the pavement. My father quickly tired of the excuses and one day sat me on the bicycle and pushed the bike forward. I fell hard and as my windblown vision seemed to be shattered, my father said, “Get right back up on that horse and ride again … it will be easier this time.” He was right.
EXTRA MILER: A call to duty
I was talking recently with Mark Eddy, executive director for Leadership Southern Indiana, when the conversation turned to this column. Mark said he knew of a church full of Extra Milers. The church is the Northside Church of Christ in Jeffersonville and specifically, he mentioned two individuals he felt met and exceeded the standards set for Extra Milers. He named Michael Kidwell and Gale Dunlap.
Harkins has touched thousands with her generosity, concern for others
I am blessed with many best friends who have influenced my life; however, there has been one person who has influenced me the most and is the inspiration behind this column. Everything I know about loving my neighbor, I learned from Barbara Long Harkins (Barbie) … and she continues to provide inspiration to all who know her.
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