Acts of kindness for Ellie
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:18AM
July 18 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of a kind and gentle teen named Elizabeth (Ellie) Burns from Lake Forest.
Ellie’s young life -- like that of many others our community has unexpectedly said “good-bye” to this year -- made this world a better place. On the milestones after a loved one’s death, what better way to remember the kindnesses they showed than to perform some small “act of kindness” in their honor? I asked some of Ellie’s friends, teens and adults, to do just that in her memory, and this is what they shared:
Joanne Yorro: I took a package that was delivered to my neighbor inside so it wouldn’t get stolen.
Alec Hite: I held the door open for a elderly woman walking into Foodstuffs.
Caylie Clewlow and Caroline McGavock: We let someone who was in a hurry go ahead of us in line at Jewel.
Jean Odwazny: I bought coffee for the person in back of me at the drive-thru at Starbuck’s.
Olivia Murphy: When I was going into my doctor’s office for a sports physical, an older lady with a walker was coming in right behind me, so I held the door. She smiled so brightly and patted my shoulder on the way into the office.
Kerry Wanner: I volunteered to pick my sister up from dance class.
Annika Heilman and Katie Skinner: We purchased three bouquets of chrysanthemums and tied various messages onto the stems, saying things like, “Please accept this flower in loving memory of Ellie Burns (1995-2011)” or “Tell someone why you love them today!” and distributed them on doorsteps, windshields, and into the hands of people we’d pass by on the sidewalk. Needless to say, it was a very powerful experience to be able to spread the knowledge of a life well lived to people that likely never had the opportunity to meet her themselves.
Colt Horvat: I held the door open for two older ladies.
Adriana Estrada: I visited a 17-year-old at the hospital who was diagnosed for a second time with leukemia. She is 17 like our Ellie.
Haley Killam: I sent Ellie’s sister, Katie, a few pictures of Ellie that I recently found so she gets them when she returns home from her trip to Africa!
Annie Kutlarz: I brought our Sports Camp staff Caribou Coffee drinks to let them know how much they were appreciated.
Brianna Malin: I was sick in bed the day of Ellie’s anniversary so I prayed for her family.
Hannah Faucher: At Ellie’s remembrance event at the beach, I made sure some lost cell phones got out of the rain and back in the right hands.
Isabelle Montagne: I paid for the person behind me at Starbuck’s.
Joseph Santello: I was eating brunch with a friend at Egg Harbor. At the table to my right were two parents and their young daughter. The little girl dropped all of her colored pencils and I got out of my chair and picked them up. The father said, “Say thank you, Ellie.” The girl replied, “Thank you.”
An act of kindness can be the smallest gesture that makes a big impact. I have helped the elderly reach for something on a grocery shelf, or taken a moment to text someone how much they mean to me. The “pay it forward” element ensures that our loved one’s goodness continues to circle our world, and our world is circled by good deeds that may very well become everyday occurrences. May Ellie and all those watching over us know that their lives continue to make a difference.
Lake Forester columnist Maria Malin can be reached at email@example.com