My dear Wendy died of lung cancer in January 2006. But the memory of her kindness lives on.
This year I am again giving the award to a dear kind person who has been very caring and supportive of me over thirty plus years. Someone I admire very much and is a beautiful role model for me of Christian compassion, steadfast goodwill for all people, and kindness. She is my friend
Dear Ellen, over the years you have given me so many gifts. The first and most important was the gift of your friendship. You maybe don't even remember that first time you invited me to have lunch with you but I do. I was new in the church. It was about 1976. You probably won't believe this now, but I had a lot of trouble making new friends in those days and feeling accepted in a new group. It meant so much to me that you noticed I was there and liked me enough to want to spend a few hours with me. And you continued to do so. I know I've missed lots of your birthdays, but I don't think you have ever missed taking me out for lunch on or near my birthday. When I broke my knee you were there to bring my family food and take over some of my Hmong Family responsibilities. When Dan came into our lives, you were there to help celebrate. Danny's 'boat' from Ellen hung in our bathroom for 20 years, and held the bathwater for his baby nieces and nephew. You were so supportive when Heather was in the hospital after the accident. I remember you took home a turkey I had in the freezer and cooked it and took all the meat off for me, a huge job! And after Heather finally came home, and I had to put my dad in that horrid nursing home, you helped me with him. If you had never done anything else for me in your whole life you would have earned your special star and this award the day you took my dad to his appointment at the Veterans' Hospital when his dementia was firmly taking hold and he was so difficult to handle. You have always been available to come to our celebrations and funerals. You even housed my son-in-law and his mother when they came to marry Dawne. You helped Dan with his history project by telling your priceless stories of World War II. More than once I called you when I was struggling and needed a wiser head to help me figure it all out. Besides all these wonderful actions you have taken in kindness to me and my family, there is another gift you have given to me and to all who know you, that transcends all else. That is the beautiful example of a life lived with courage and dignity and humility, generosity and the steadfast belief that one candle can light the darkness. You have been my friend for half my life and you have never wavered in these beautiful gifts of the spirit that I so much admire in you.
You, Ellen, are truly one of God's people. And because of the beautiful difference your love has made in my life I award you the
2007 WENDY BENTON MAY DAY AWARD FOR FORGOTTEN KINDNESS
From your Loving Friend,
1301 Reetz Road
Madison, Wisconsin 53711
608 271 2179