According to Pat Devine, superintendent of Waconia Public Schools, “My sister was the kindest person you could ever meet. She had a way of becoming your ‘new best friend’ within minutes of meeting her.”
Pat Devine’s younger sister by just a couple years, Ann Devine, had Down Syndrome and passed away 9-years ago at the age of 46. “Everyone she met just loved her,” Pat Devine shared.
The impact that Ann had on Pat, his family and countless others, was lasting and life changing. Her birthday was May 13 and, ever since her passing, Pat and his extended family have been holding their own “Random Act of Kindness Day” to honor her.
When the All’s Well group in Waconia heard about Pat Devine’s mission to honor his sister on May 13, members wanted to help take the idea community-wide. All’s Well is made up of local community leaders who are committed to improving the overall mental and physical health of everyone in the area. One of the cornerstones of All’s Well is gratitude.
In hopes of inspiring others to participate in the “Random Act of Kindness Day”, All’s Well is honoring a person in the community who exemplifies the kindness shown throughout Ann Devine’s life. According to All’s Well volunteer and Thrivent Financial advisor, Peter Hess, “The ability to change ones reality through your actions has an effect which changes our community. By performing random acts of kindness, not only does one inspire others, but also become an example of what is imaginable and open opportunities to others to see the best possibilities.”
Sarah Urtel, also an All’s Well volunteer and a system support vice president at Ridgeview Medical Center, added, “I would encourage all of us to try something. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture as sometimes the simplest thing can make a meaningful impact.”
This year’s All’s Well honoree for “Random Act of Kindness Day” is Kory Melchert.
For Melchert of Waconia, spreading joy and happiness is a full time job, while he’s at his job. “Kory is always happy and positive,” Kathi Waller who is a dietary director at Auburn Meadows in Waconia, said. “He’s so good with the residents. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood.” Melchert has worked at Auburn Meadows ever since graduating from the Transitions Program at Waconia Public Schools about four years ago.
“I like working here because I like to see the residents and their smiling faces,” Melchert said as he prepared one of the dining rooms for lunch. “It makes me happy when I can make the residents happy.”
“Well, it depends on the day, if I don’t like the food, then I’m not happy with him,” Auburn Meadows resident Hil Brockoff laughed as he gave Melchert a big pat on the back.
“There are some jokesters in here,” Melchert replied.
Melchert said that he’s pretty much been happy all his life. It’s fitting that he has a job where one of his key responsibilities is to spread happiness.
“I get to make the residents smile and that’s why I like working here,” Melchert said.
“He’s pretty much a model employee,” Waller concluded.
Monday, May 13, Random Act of Kindness Day, is everyone else’s turn to bring a smile to those around them.
Paul David is director of communications for Waconia Public Schools. Article from the Waconia Patriot.
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