At Eagle’s Castle Peak senior center, big gifts often come in small packages and grocery bags | VailDaily.com
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At Eagle’s Castle Peak senior center, big gifts often come in small packages and grocery bags

EAGLE — Residents at Castle Peak Senior Life are an inquisitive lot, so when they noticed someone building a sign on their front lawn, their curiosity was aroused.

Shelly Cornish runs the place, and if you have questions you start at the top.

“What on earth is happening on the front lawn?” residents asked.

Something wonderful.

Family members of one of the residents got together with a local outfit called Sign Gypsies to build a sign on Castle Peak’s front lawn.

“Heroes Work Here!” the sign says, possibly the most accurate headline ever written.

“It was such a morale booster,” Cornish said.

Not long afterward, that same family delivered breakfast burritos to the center.

“They wanted to support a local business, so they bought them there,” Cornish said.

Doing good for good’s sake

Like lots of places, Castle Peak is basically on lockdown. It’s filled with people to whom COVID-19 is likely to do the most harm. No visitors coming and going, just staff members wearing gloves and masks. Technology helps bridge that divide.

“We’ve been doing many virtual visits with residents and family members,” Cornish said.

Then there are people doing good for a couple of reasons: They’re good to begin with, and good needs to be done.

Vintage Magnolia sent a bouquet of flowers to each resident. Another local company is sending tea.

Potential do-gooders go to the Castle Peak center’s website, figure out what’s needed and bring it over.

“It’s been wonderful,” Cornish said.

‘Keep Smiling!’

There is this one guy, though, who goes above and beyond, silently leaving boxes of groceries outside residents’ doors. Not only that, he even pays attention to dietary restrictions.

Cynthia Bellini eats a plant-based diet, so he left her a gallon of almond milk. Her neighbor eats a low-fat diet, so he left her a gallon of 2% milk.

And then there’s this: When he leaves the groceries on their doorsteps, they’re double bagged in recyclable paper grocery bags — double bagged, of course, for safety.

He signs his deliveries, “Keep smiling!”

“Be a kind person, a humanitarian any way you can,” Bellini said.

She mostly comes out at night

Just think of Jodie Metz as the Sign Fairy, or one of the Sign Gypsies if you must.

“It was something that we thought would brighten their day,” Metz said.

It did.

In her regular life, Metz teaches second and third grade at Brush Creek Elementary School. She’s still engaged with her students, online. Teachers stay busy, so her Sign Gypsies sideline gathered a little dust.

She still has classes to teach but thought the signs would be a way to spread a little sunshine. She dusted off her sign stuff — literally and metaphorically — and started with the one at Castle Peak.

It’s the perfect isolation side hustle.

“It’s outdoors and I do it by myself, usually at night,” Metz said.


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