May 24, 2019

County girl sends rosary to Oklahoma City

The story behind the story does not change its meaning: Heather Morris of St. John sent the Oklahoma bombing victims a gift from her heart.

Heather’s mom, Gail Kelly, said her cousin, Cynthia Harvey, was selling ribbons for Aroostook County florists collecting donations for Oklahoma City bombing victims.

“I bought five, one for each of us,” Kelly said. Heather’s brother and sister donated the remainder of their allowances, but Heather had nothing left to give.

The fifth-grader at St. Francis Elementary School sent her rosary instead of her allowance to aid victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Her act became the lead item in an Oklahoma City newspaper story in which the opening paragraph stated, “A penniless 11-year-old girl in Maine donated a small pink rosary to help comfort Oklahomans affected by the federal building bombing.”

Heather isn’t a penniless child. “Temporarily out of funds” is more accurate.

“Heather said she wanted to send something `to show I care,’ so she sent her rosary, in a small plastic bag, with the money from the florists association.”

On behalf of 1,800 Aroostook County residents, Tom Butler of American Floral Services in Oklahoma, presented Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating a check for $5,348.50 — plus one rosary — to aid the bombing victims.

The governor was so moved by the rosary, Kelly said, “he is going to use it in the dedication of the memorial for the victims. And the governor’s wife, who is writing a book, has a picture of the rosary and is going to include it in a book.”

Heather’s gift moved Butler as well, Kelly said. “He sent Heather a rosary he got at the Vatican in Rome several years ago, blessed by the pope. He wrote he never thought he would part with that rosary, but when he saw Heather’s, he knew he was going to mail his to her.”

The family is overwhelmed by the reaction to Heather’s simple act. “It really is something else,” her mother said. “She just sent it to comfort them and let them know her prayers were with them, and she gets all this in return.”

This is the weekend to celebrate fathers. We share some tributes to special fathers.

Donna Cyr of Caribou lost her husband of 43 years, Donald Cyr, in May 1993. Their son, Darryl, was 27 at the time. He read a tribute to his dad at the funeral. Excerpts from his remarks speak of qualities that make a father special.

Darrel wrote of a man who could make the sad happy, the sick well, the weak strong and the angry laugh. One who put others before himself, Darrel said his father, “…was a great teacher, and I learned so much. He was a great listener, and he heard all that was said. When there was a problem, he had the solution. Whatever was broken, he would fix.” He was a father blessed with “a gift of power to fulfill the lives of the ones he loved.”

Edna McEachern of Brewer sent us a tribute written by Paul McEachern for his father’s birthday. Allyn McEachern turned 80 in March.

His son wrote, “I am halfway through my life but have not yet accomplished half of what I need to do. By your example, you have set the bar quite high, and it is by your yardstick that I measure how far I have yet to go.” Paul knows his father’s accomplishments came not from “some stroke of luck” but through “blood, sweat and tears.” He hopes in addition to his blue eyes, “maybe a small speck of sawdust, or a wee bit of plaster dust circulates in my veins, passed on from you to me, to help me over that tall bar, still 40 years away.”

Sunday will be an extra special Father’s Day for 81-year-old Leo Doucette of Madawaska because one of his children has given life to another.

Donna Neill of Hampden told us her aunt, 56-year-old Lorraine Therriault of Chelmsford, Mass., suffers from an inherited kidney ailment in which her kidneys act like a sponge rather than a filter.

On dialysis for 1 1/2 years, the oldest of eight children would not have lived if her youngest brother, 35-year-old Ronald Doucette of Bristol, Conn., had not come to her aid. The Grand Isle natives shared this gift of life — a kidney transplant — in a May 17 operation at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass.

Happy Father’s Day, Leo.

If you’re looking for entertainment to aid a worthy cause, a $3.50 donation will let you see the YWCA Players “Wiley Women of the Wild West” at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Hammond Street Congregational Church vestry.

Sponsored by the Bangor Nature Club, the show benefits the club’s University of Maine scholarship fund. Tickets are available at Libby’s Card Shop, the Grasshopper Shop, from any club member, or by calling Inez Boyd at 947-7700.

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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