Stories of Kindness and Compassion

Dec 22, 2016

An act of kindness may make someone smile or brighten a day. It might help a person through a difficult time, provide comfort and care in a time of crisis, or even change a life or lives.

This edition of Talk of Iowa highlights acts of kindness and compassion remembered by Iowans. Featured this hour:

Charity Nebbe's conversation with her mom, Linda Nebbe about how she encouraged volunteerism within their family. "I am a volunteer, but I think the reason I volunteer is because when I was growing up volunteering was as normal and natural as breathing," says Nebbe. "My mom is the driving force when it comes to volunteering."

An interview with Reagan Junge, a 6th grader in Benton Community Schools who lives in Keystone, Iowa. She’s the founder of Reagan’s Relief Efforts and she works to help communities affected by natural disasters. She is in New York City right now being recognized as part of U.S Cellular’s The Future of Good.

A conversation with Jerry Fenton, owner of the Arrowhead Motel in Burlington, who was inspired to take action after reading a story about a young boy in New Mexico who asked his mom to pack him two lunches so he could give one to a friend who’s mom had just lost her job and could no longer afford to pay for his lunches. The mom packed lunches for both the boys, but then she went farther and raised money to pay off all of the past due lunch accounts at her son’s school, so none of the kids would go hungry. And that’s what Jerry decided to do by giving to his alma mater in Burlington.

Des Moines Register columnist Daniel Finney talks with Nebbe about his friendship his personal trainer, Nate Yoho, coach and owner of CrossFit Merle Hey in Des Moines. He recently wrote a letter of thanks to Yoho for helping him become stronger physically and mentally. "He’s become a central figure in my life," says Finney. "I value his council; I trust him implicitly. If he thinks I can do something I don’t think I can do, I will try it, because he’s never wrong at that stuff."

A conversation with Rachel Guritz about how sometimes a helping hand comes in an unexpected way. Guritz grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, but now lives in Bowling Green, Missouri. A few years ago she was going through a really difficult time and was feeling very alone. She posted to Facebook that she felt like God had turned his back on her and her daughter. That post brought comfort from friends, but also brought help in the way of anonymous letters and packages from friends, who she and her daughter refer to as their "angels."

Angel Mott and Stephanie Uhlenberg connected in a surprising way on Black Friday. Angel Mott was out shopping when she received a devastating phone call. Her mother, only 57 years old, had passed away. Stunned by the news, Mott said she just kind of blacked out, sobbed uncontrollably, and sat down on the shelves. That’s when Stephanie Uhlenberg stepped in to help. "I just sat down with her, gave her a hug, and held her for awhile," Uhlenberg says. It was a small act of kindness that went a long way. "When she stopped, I just fell into her arms," says Mott. "I just appreciated it so much. I didn't want to be alone at that time, and I wasn't."

Also, Mercy Cancer Center medical director Dr. Richard Deming remembers his aunt, who he says, "helped me understand that being a good physician isn’t about proving how smart you are, but demonstrating how much you care."