A heart is more than a Valentine. Nowhere is that made more evident than in the special way Freedom Plaza has chosen to observe St. Valentine’s Day.
While the usual social activities associated with Feb. 14 still play a part in the day’s happenings, additional meanings of the word “heart” are also brought into focus.
The American Heart Association has declared February Heart Month to encourage greater awareness of heart disease issues. And since women tend to ignore this aspect of their health, yet are equally as prone to heart disease as men, the association has taken things a step further by initiating a Wear Red campaign. Across the country special events and designated days in February will find both women – and men – dressing in red to remind women to pay attention to their hearts.
February’s traditional holiday, St. Valentine’s Day, with its heart symbol and predominant color red, gave us good reason to combine a Wear Red event and Valentine’s Day party into one special occasion.
Yet “heart” has even more than physical or romantic connotations. It also denotes sincerity, courage and a generosity of spirit, which added yet another element to the Feb. 14 celebration by giving public recognition to a deserving resident.
Last year it was decided to initiate a “Freedom Plaza From the Heart Award.” This would be given to some resident who had shown, by unselfish, unheralded actions, a “love thy neighbor as thyself” attitude. The recipient would be determined through secret nominations from fellow residents during the final weeks of January.
In 2013, the award went to Dorothy Rossell, a quiet, unassuming lady of more than 90 years who frequently helped her Freedom Plaza neighbors by such menial tasks as washing their dishes.
This year’s award went to resident Joyce Wentzell, who took it upon herself to see that a neighbor who lost a spouse had help and encouragement when it was most needed.
Both of these good samaritans performed their deeds without any thought of public thanks and were totally surprised by their awards.
All of these aspects of the word “heart,” each of them equally as important, were acknowledged and celebrated at Freedom Plaza Feb. 14. The theme of the event was appropriately You Gotta Have Heart.
Peggy Burgess is an associate of Freedom Plaza and columnist for The Sun.