Do you need a little leftover holiday spirit to get you through January's blah days of cold weather and piles of bills? Here are some bits and pieces from 2007:
Karen Williams-Walter of Modesto wrote to thank "the person who returned my wallet on Christmas Eve at Vintage Faire Mall."
On that busy shopping day, when Karen discovered her wallet was missing, she thought it was gone for good. She even called to cancel her bank cards. Then she got the call that her wallet had been turned in.
"You restored my faith; there are still good and honest people out there," she said of the anonymous finder. "Bless your heart, and may all good things come to you. You certainly deserve them."
If you are the anonymous person who turned in the wallet, let me know. I'd love to put your name in an upcoming column.
Betty Schroder of Modesto wrote to tell of a day when she was struggling to get on a shuttle in the Sutter-Gould parking lot. A young woman "in a bright pink T-shirt" helped Betty fold her walker and climb on the shuttle for the short ride to the main entrance of the facility.
"She explained she had been forced to use a walker after the Caesarian birth of her daughter," Betty said. When they got off the shuttle, the woman slipped on a plastic device so Betty could hang her "bulky purse" from it. The woman said it was made for use on a baby stroller.
"Before I could really thank her, she disappeared," Betty said. "Such generous kindness is truly appreciated."
Proving, yet again, that it's the small kindnesses in life that mean so much.
Ray Steele, owner of RH Air Conditioning and Heating, was called into a hospice patient's home to check out a need for heat last month. When he looked, he found there was no heater or duct system installed.
So he donated a radiator-style space heater to keep the family warm in these cold days.
"His simple gift will help this Keyes family stay warm in the coming months," said Christine Ramsey with Community Hospice.
For the second straight year, PMZ real estate agents Aaron West and Sandra Yates teamed to stuff holiday stockings for overseas military troops. Local businesses and community members donated the personal items and goodies such as toothbrushes, music CDs, soap and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
They sent more than 100 care packages to Iraq, which included the decorated stockings and personal notes.
Also in the spirit of Christmas giving, Tuolumne County sheriff's deputy Dan Graziose spearheaded a program to give needy children $100 each so they could buy themselves something special.
Thanks to to donations by Black Oak Casino, Wal-Mart, Amos Graphics and the Deputy Sheriff's Association, 30 children showed up for the shopping day. Deputies, police officers and community members were on hand to help them shop.
The youngsters didn't just shop for themselves. Some used the money to also shop for their parents and siblings. At least one child spent his money on a gift for his grandmother.
It was such a success, the Sheriff's Department is gearing up to do the project again this year. Do you have a story about someone who has helped others or is a terrific role model? Send a brief item to Sue Nowicki at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352 or e-mail email@example.com.