May 1, 2005

Beverly Nelson

This award is especially appropriate because my dear Wendy is currently battling lung cancer, even though she has never smoked.

The first year's recipient was Mary Ann Chvala. I chose Mary Ann because she gave me a precious gift when I was trying to survive in the hospital after our dear Heather's brain injury. The gift was ongoing emotional support during Heather's hospital stay and encouragement to stay focused on the positive and to look for and celebrate every positive step, no matter how small.

Now, two years later, I realize that there are two other women in my life that deserve the Wendy Award at least as much as Mary Ann did. I searched the internet for instructions on how to make a May basket just like Wendy's. No luck. Then I had to face the fact that even if I'd found the instructions I would procrastinate til it was too late. So, I went to The Greater Gift shop and purchased two baskets that will serve nicely, each made by loving hands. The two women are Ellyn Kroupa and Bev Nelson.

MY dear DEAR Miss Beverly, as the grandchildren call you, you have been there so consistently, so many times, for my family over the past 20 years, I scarcely know where to begin. I'm sure I will forget some of the gifts of love you have given us. You were one of the substitue Wonderful Women in the hospital. When Heather finally came home after eleven months you continued to give us support, both moral and physical. You called and arranged the church helpers that cared for Dan and Heather on Friday nights so Paul and I could have some time alone, and of course you and Jerry were the most enduring church helpers. You helped with Heather so much you were even comfortable walking her around the house. You were like grandparents to little Dan, inviting him to your home and taking him places and making him feel special. One of the reasons Dan gave for coming home this summer and not staying in Platteville was he'd miss out on seeing our church friends. I know he was thinking especially of you. You came with me on the plane to Florida the first time I was brave enough to travel with Heather and Dan, even though you were scared of flying. You helped me with all my schemes at church. Remember the time we were previewing a World Hunger video and I spilled hot tea all over my lap and you had to give me first aid? And all the SERRV fairs? And all the Bread for the World events? You helped me with my home schemes too, Dan and Heather birthday parties, graduation parties, the Augmentation party. I remember times you were supposed to be a guest and kept busy all evening doing the things I was neglecting. And it wasn't just parties. Remember when you helped me finish Dawne's wedding quilt? It was getting down to the wire and you came and helped me sew. It was finished exactly ten minutes before Dawne arrived home for the wedding. And you helped with "Home Church" the year we were both mad at church church. When I needed sponsors for Ayak's children, you were the first to volunteer. When Grandma came to live with us you helped. I know you had the thrill of cleaning up diarrhea more than once. You took care of Dianne Olson's toddler so she could work for Grandma. You were our guardian angel. You were the person we called when all else failed. You came the last night Grandma lived here when I was afraid she was going to die right in front of us of jello over-dose. You stayed with me in the hospital the day before she died. Then there is the Zoua chapter! Words totally fail at expressing how much your moral and physical support meant during that amazing chapter of our lives. Any normal human would have been totally sick of us by the time that was over! But you continued to be our friend and to work for Heather. I'll never forget the day my breakfast buddies asked about something at my home and I told them how everything was fine at home because at that very moment you were there caring for Heather and cleaning my kitchen floor with a toothbrush! The above are just some of the amazing and wonderful gifts of kindness you have given to our family. I remember someone once describing the love of God as "steadfast good will." You, Bev, have been a constant beacon of God's love in our lives. You, as much as anyone, deserve the

2005 Wendy Benton May Day Award for Forgotten Kindness

because no one could remember so many wonderful beautiful things as you have done for the Stevens' family. You are a beautiful example of what it means to be a Christian. Paul and I and our whole family are humbly grateful that we've had your example and your kindness in our lives.

From you Loving Forever Friend,

Dianne Stevens

1301 Reetz Road

Madison, Wisconsin 53711

608 271 2179