"Every act of kindness is like a pebble thrown in a pond, sending out ripples far beyond where the pebble entered the water. When we're caring and kind to our neighbors, our actions send rings of kindness that spread from neighbor to neighbor to neighbor." - Angela Artemis


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Whether it's "fluffing" the 500-plus red crepe poppies that the American Legion Auxiliary creates each year to distribute on Memorial Day, creating the "angel" plaques with hand-quilted backgrounds that are given to the volunteers who serve breakfast and call bingo for the residents of their senior living community, making 'floral' bouquets made of colorful tissue paper for the Humane Society of the Lakes' annual Tuxes & Tails fundraiser, or just stuffing envelopes with invitations for a Patriot Assistance Dogs graduation program, the half-dozen or so ladies that take part in a "pay it forward" volunteer group at The Madison Senior Living - part of the Ecumen-Detroit Lakes campus on Madison Avenue - are always looking for ways to help brighten the lives of not only their fellow residents and staff at Ecumen, but the community as a whole.

"It feels good to contribute something," says Maurine Fellows, who at 78 is one of the younger members of the group.

"The ability to go out into the community and do things diminishes as you get older," adds Rita Frenzel, who recently turned 95. "We have become a little more isolated over the years."

"It's a good way for them to stay connected to their community," explained Jenny Bristlin, who as housing manager at The Madison, also contributes to the group by finding projects that are within their range of skills.

Whether those projects involve envelope stuffing, arts and crafts, or just "fluffing" paper poppies, they always have fun, Bristlin added.

"The past couple of years, we've 'fluffed' over 1,000 poppies for the Auxiliary," she said, noting that each member of the group was given a personal certificate of appreciation by the Legion Auxiliary for their contribution to the Poppy Program.

"We worked on them for a couple of weeks each time," Bristlin added.

"We're always looking for new projects we can do," says Frenzel.

"It not only helps whoever asks us, it helps us as well," added Millie Moitzfield, who will be 94 this fall.

"It feels good - but we need more projects to do," Frenzel added. "We just need someone to ask us."

Anyone who thinks they might have a project that's worthy of the ladies' talents is welcome to contact Bristlin at 218-844-9431.