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Mar 02, 2021

Love, kindness and appreciation

The cookies, morsels of heaven from Moline’s Old Towne Bakery, had less of a chance than Custer had at Little BigHorn.

More importantly, the paper hearts, green for a reason and bearing heart-tugging messages from a group of third graders, remained. The wall of Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s Valley View/ORA clinic, has never looked so cheery. And the accompanying letter bringing to light the origins of the cookies and the hearts on the wall, was explained in beautiful detail by Laurie Capan, one of life’s true 24-karat gems.

The premise for the note, the green hearts and the Old Towne cookies, was part of Moline’s Jane Addam’s Elementary School’s Green Day Celebration. That Rock Valley was part of the love, is simply an extension of the way it takes care of those it serves.

Eleven years ago, a rare form of cancer kept a Jane Addams’ student out of school and away  from  the “fun’’ events kids get to celebrate each school year. He missed Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day parties that accompany those specific events.

 He was, however, afforded a return to school in late February of 2010.

His first day back, the Jane Addams’ community tossed him a huge bash and themed it in honor of his favorite color — green. From that day, Green Day — a late February celebration of recognizing good — was established. The highlight of every Green Day is an act of kindness toward someone or an entity that has had a positive impact on your life.

Capan, a third grade teacher at Jane Addams and a patient with deep Rock Valley roots, decided to share Green Day with her favorite physical therapist and those like her.

In a letter to Rock Valley’s Margaret “ Maggie’’ Jones (PT, DPT, OCS) and the rest of the Valley View staff, Capan shared her gratitude for making her life better. The letter even explains how Capan and her students talked about family members of their own who have benefitted from physical therapy.

Touched by the gesture, Jones says there is something special about Capan.

“She’ll have a birthday and bring us treats,’’ Jones, a Rock Island, Ill., native, who did her undergraduate work at Valparaiso University and post-graduate studies at St. Ambrose University. “She has so much to give. She is a wonderful spirit, who just lifts us up when she stops in,’’ Jones added. “The place lights up when Laurie comes by.  And the notes from her students are amazing.’’

Ah, the hand-written notes!!!

With respect to all that is special about Old Towne cookies, the notes — penned by third graders — steal the show. Each was filled with gratitude and thanks.

“Thank you for making people feel better and making my teacher feel better,’’ one of the many green hearts read.

“Thank you for helping make better)  lives. You are a hero,’’ read another.

“Such a neat gesture,’’ Jones said, smiling through her mask, just prior to a full day of making better lives.

Green Day…Here’s hoping it always has a place in our hearts.

By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller