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An act of kindness saves a life

Stella Hawkins of Bonne Terre reports what might be the most important type of kindness of all — one that saves a life.

Stella’s husband, Frank, was in Country Mart in Bonne Terre on Oct. 17, where he was having breakfast. Since his heart attack in August, he has been out of work, recuperating. Several mornings a week, he has breakfast at the store, where Stella works as a pharmacy technician.

That day, however, Stella was at a doctor’s appointment. She found out later what happened to Frank.

“As he was eating, he choked on some food that had lodged in his throat,” she related. “I found out later that at least five people sat there enjoying their breakfast, while my husband was fighting to breathe. Dennis Ely, an employee of Country Mart’s meat department, noticed what was happening and jumped into action.

“He immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver on my husband, and managed to dislodge the food, allowing him to breathe and get oxygen back to his already damaged heart.”

When she returned to work and learned what had happened, she told Ely, “Thank you so much! I owe you a big hug.”

When he asked why, Stella told him, “That man whose life you saved this morning is my husband.”

“It was very emotional,” she said. “Without Dennis doing what he did, my husband would not be here. I strongly believe the lack of oxygen and the stress on his heart would have just been too much. Thanks to our most awesome God for putting Dennis Ely in that deli at that time. He is truly caught being kind. Thanks for letting me tell this story of an amazing act of kindness.”

Sometimes, being kind can help one deal with one’s own grief. Tonya Harrington-Barton reports the kindness of Jaime Reynolds, who recently experienced the tragic death of her father, Jim.

“When she saw all the news about Jacque Waller and her babies/triplets, Jaime knew she had to do something,” Harrington-Barton wrote. “So, Jaime started making bracelets out of soda tabs and ribbons, selling them for $2.00 each. She’s turning the money from them over to the family for the kids.”

Reynolds does not know Waller or her family.

“She just wants to help. In my eyes, this makes Jaime a true hero!” Harrington-Barton said. “She’s also currently starting a suicide prevention support group locally and is also selling bracelets for her group.”

Harrington-Barton is putting together a “Fight Like A Girl” cancer bag as part of a giveaway to raise money for the American Cancer Society in December. Reynolds is helping her by making a cancer awareness lap quilt.

“She’s donating her time, skill and material to make this for me.”

Harrington-Barton also reports kindness shown by Sarah Moyers of Leadwood.

“She’s currently helping with the fundraiser for [a friend], who is in stage four breast Cancer.

“Sarah, along with others whose names I don’t know, are holding a fundraiser for her,” Harrington-Barton said. “They are donating their time, energy, items and hearts to her.”

The Daily Journal challenges you to look for kind acts and share them with us for publication. Your stories may be submitted online by going to and clicking on Act of Kindness link. Or, you may report them to Paula Barr at or 573-431-2010 ext. 172.

Caught Being Kind will be published each Friday in the Daily Journal.

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