By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
If you want to know the definition of an angel, ask Josie Christopher, the founder of the Circle of Love. She will say there are angels everywhere - even in her backyard.
The Circle of Love's home was once on Washington Avenue but relocated late last year. Christopher moved to a new residence on Central Avenue, mere blocks away from her previous home. Bringing her paintings with her, Christopher has moved the Circle of Love to her backyard. To make her new home ready for the Circle of Love Christopher included an outdoor meeting space for special gatherings.
The first step was to have a deck constructed so the ladies of the Circle of Love would have a meeting space. Jeff Ortell started the project but because of an injury, he was unable to finish it.
Christopher put an ad in the newspaper and said "she prayed for a miracle." She had two responses.
Ron Romance worked on the deck in honor of a friend who has cancer. Sam Gerace responded on behalf of Sons of Liberty New York motorcycle club.
Following completion of the deck, Christopher was on one of her "frequent" trips to Walmart.
"It started when I made one of my frequent trips to Walmart and saw a woman collecting money for a child's cause," said Christopher. "(The woman) was radiant and beautiful."
Christopher said the woman reminded her of all the angels that have touched her life. The following day, Christopher went back to Walmart and talked to manager Brad Balentine. She suggested Walmart employees have an opportunity to be honored with an angel table since employees have been gracious to the Circle of Love. Balentine told Christopher to pick out any table she would like and asked when she could pick it up.
"He said 'Don't worry about it. When can you pick it up?'" Christopher said.
Christopher went to the Care Center, where she works, to get help with picking up the table. Since many of the employees were busy, she asked fellow employee Ken Parks to use his pickup truck.
"I said 'Kenny I need your help. Don't get out of your truck.' He said 'OK. Let's go,'" Christopher recalled.
Christopher said the events came full circle since the motorcycle club helped with the deck and Parks was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. Christopher spoke of Parks as her "hero" for helping. Once the table was placed in the backyard, Fr. Joe Zalacca of Holy Trinity Church came to bless the table. Everyone who came to the dedication ceremony walked away with an angel figurine.
Since the move, Christopher has changed the frequency of the Circle of Love meetings. Instead of meeting every week, the ladies meet once a month on the third Monday. That is the only change. The group still is providing services. The ladies make pillows, turbans and prayer shawls. Christopher hands them out to cancer patients on behalf of the grop.
"Everything is still the same," she said.
Christopher wanted to thank all those who helped with the deck and the angel table, including Todd Orr and Bob Welch from the Sons of Liberty.
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