By SKEETER TOWER
Special to the OBSERVER
It is a happy occasion when one encounters an employee who not only serves the public but who goes the extra mile to please the customer. When Josie Christopher encountered such an employee and received focused attention beyond her inquiry, she was not only elated, but intent on public acknowledgment for this young woman.
Kristie Giambrone recently helped out Josie Christopher and her Circle of Love.
Christopher is the director of the Circle of Love, a private, not-for-profit agency which services cancer patients with prayer shawls, pillows, breast prosthesis and wigs, all at no cost. Josie coordinates a group of volunteers she refers to as her "angels" who knit the shawls and make the pillows. Christopher provides a serene and loving gathering spot for these volunteers, as well as for grief groups and other meetings for her clients.
Always on the lookout for ways to praise and thank her volunteers and encourage her patients, Christopher found a pen at the Family Dollar store checkout with the message "Faith, Hope, Love" on the bright pink pen. Clicking the pen opens a message window on the pen, and one can read, "Hope makes all things possible"(click), "Faith, Hope and Love Abide"(click), "And the greatest of these is love"(click). Christopher was so excited she purchased all available pens at the Dunkirk store and asked if there might be more somewhere. This is where another "angel" stepped forward.
Family Dollar store manager Kristie Giambrone agreed to seek out all resources. She contacted all stores in Western New York to locate inventory. She contacted her boss, Jeff Elminowski in Cheektowaga, who gave her the go ahead to personally round up over 250 pens at other stores. Giambrone drove to Gowanda, Arcade, Mt. Morris and Dansville to gather the pens with the message Christopher found so perfect for her purposes.
"My boss does have a great heart," Giambrone said. "I knew once I'd located the pens by texting other stores that he would support this effort."
She also could hardly turn down Christopher who was so intent on her mission for the Circle of Love.
"She made me smile. Her personality is contagious," Giambrone said.
All who have encountered Christopher and her determined passion for her work would agree.
In addition, Giambrone has a best friend, a mother of four, with stage four cancer. Christopher's mission touched her heart as it has for so many who are struggling with cancer themselves, or have friends or family facing such a challenge. Giambrone's friend will now become the recipient of all services of the Circle of Love. Pillows and pocket angels were instantly provided.
Giambrone lives in Angola but soon will be commuting to Westfield as the new assistant manager of that Family Dollar store. We consider Westfield Family Dollar customers very lucky to be gaining this friendly and helpful new employee. Thanks and good luck to you, Kristie Giambrone!
Skeeter Tower is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org