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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Freedom Plaza initiates new award

On Feb. 1 Freedom Plaza will host another Wear Red Day, joining the national effort to call attention to the prevalence of heart disease in women. As in last year's similar event, there will be a guest speaker, music, socializing, prize drawings and appropriate refreshments. Last year's event also introduced an additional element to the concept of "heart," one referring to the nonphysical aspect of the word, its emotional connotations. Rationalizing that good deeds start "in the heart" with an impulse to perform an act of kindness without thought of recognition or reward, we sought out a resident who demonstrated that attribute. With so many Good Samaritans at Freedom Plaza, the task was not easy. Eventually, we selected and at the Wear Red Day event publicly recognized Shirley Dawley for her heartwarming act. This is how it came about: Borrowing both title and concept from the movie, "The Bucket List," Freedom conducted its own bucket list project. Residents were invited to submit their fondest, yet unfulfilled, wish for consideration.
The bucket filled fast. Some wishes were simple and uncomplicated, others more involved. One wish, however, was unique in that it was totally unselfish. Shirley wished that Freedom Plaza pay for the Ruskin United Methodist Church's youth group to visit the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry. Such a wish proved irresistible and arrangements were made for the group to not only tour MOSI but be treated to a pizza party on the premises. Shirley happily hosted the excursion. This year, nomination forms have been sent to all Freedom Plaza residents requesting their suggestion for a 2013 From the Heart award recipient. The winner will be feted at the forthcoming Feb. 1 affair and presented with our first From the Heart trophy. We are indebted to Shirley Dawley for her generous, kind-hearted act, which inspired the award and motivates all of us to "love our neighbor as ourselves."

Peggy Burgess is a creative consultant for Freedom Plaza and a columnist for The Sun.
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