a man of kindness

kindness

I love this wonderful message of kindness that my dental hygienist had up on her wall.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that I like to discuss virtues from time to time. This week, I’d like to focus on the virtue of kindness and introduce you to one of the kindest men I  have ever known. Though he passed away a number of years ago, I think of him often–especially during the week of Remembrance (Veterans’) Day which just passed and World Kindness Day, which we celebrate annually on November 13th.

gil-gelinas

Gil Gelinas was a simple, unpretentious man. We had been neighbours when I lived near Birds Hill Park in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews in Manitoba.

He grew up in rural Manitoba and was a Korean War veteran who had suffered serious injury while in combat. He’d been given 10 years to live following his injury and defied the odds by living to the ripe old age of 85. It was probably his positive attitude, a loving family, and his love of life that gave him that longevity.

Random acts of kindness have been getting a lot of press in our local media. With Gil Gelinas, acts of kindness were not random. They were predictable. Gil was always kind and caring. Always welcoming, with a warm, sincere smile. He was a genuine person who never expected anything in return for his kindness.

I feel so privileged to have known him and to have called him my friend.

kindness

Just some of the smiling faces of my neighbours at the 2017 Matlock Block Party. Such a warm and friendly community of kindness.

I now live in a different area and also have great neighbours who are kind and caring. I have been the recipient of numerous acts of kindness that make me feel grateful to be here.

Do you know anyone who is the epitome of kindness? How have they enriched your life?

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Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

25 Responses

  1. Acts of kindness should not be random, and it definitely sounds like they weren’t with this gentleman. You have passed on this trait in ways too numerous to mention, Doreen. Thank you for sharing this story, and for your kindness.

    • Thank you, Christine, for acknowledging the importance of kindness. Too often, we are so busy that small acts of kindness go unacknowledged or unappreciated. But when we meet special people who ooze of kindness, we can’t help but notice its beauty and importance.
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  2. I’ve been lucky to have many kind people in my life, but the main one is my sister, Jackie. Well, okay my brother Joey. Then there’s the other sister, Joanne. If I were half as kind as each of them, I’d be doing okay. They are always willing to give someone a hand and the benefit of the doubt and forgiveness–all traits that I have been the beneficiary of. Nice thoughts, Doreen–I’m glad you had such a friend and neighbor.

  3. Bruce Smith says:

    The post about Gil was done before I began to receive your posts. Thanks for sending it for World Kindness Day.

    I think about the staff at Riverview Health Centre who looked after my Mother for 8 years. We all hope that we will be well treated in our declining years. My Mom was treated with respect, personal interest and humour. I remember specifically the nurse who for at least five years was my Mom’s main nurse and who came to the cafeteria and sat with me as I was writing Mom’s obituary. What a kind person.

  4. For me, it’s my late grandfather. He was the epitome of kindness and so full of wisdom.
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  5. Beautiful tribute. You were blessed to have him in your life.
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  6. Jeri says:

    My great uncle is a very kind man who was also wounded in war. He has lived well past most of the people in his life, and must be approaching 90 now. What I remember most if how he always had encouraging words for everyone. He took the time to teach me how to ride a horse when nobody else would have had the patience.
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  7. Doreen — It’s fate that you published your post on Feb. 19th, my late husband’s birthday. He was kind, especially towards the end of his life when he was failing. His little acts of kindness like not wanting to burden me with his care (which I loved to do), and always finding time to compliment me on something – what I was wearing, a blog post I wrote, just the fact of my being with him. That was true kindness even when he was sick. Three very close friends have shown me so many kindnesses I wouldn’t have space for them. I am very blessed to have them in my life. It doesn’t take much to be kind — just a big heart.
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  8. Stacey says:

    Doreen, what a wonderful tribute! He exudes kindness just from his photo. Positivity in life and kindness are great attributes because it’s so inspiring and uplifting to be around people like this as you felt around your dear friend. I am sorry for your loss. How great it must be to pass in this life and be remembered as a kind person. That’s something I aspire to.

  9. Harry Hobbs says:

    Very heartfelt Doreen and appropriate especially as we seem more aware of this – even here in Flin Flon we have a community pay it forward page .
    I published an article in our local Cottage North that talked about my school days and the good and not so good teachers I had in high school. What made the good ones stand out was the extra kindness they showed willing to go the extra mile and in fact one even bent the rules a little bit so I could succeed. this person became a life tong friend and a role model for me in my own teaching career.\Interestingly enough our Writers prompt vfor our Writers Club this month is to write about kindness and how one person’s kindness effected you!

  10. Susan Cooper says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a man I know you admired and appreciated. It’s always sad to lose a soul such as he, but he left a great legacy of kindness. For me, that would have been my Dad. He was like that too. I so miss him. 🙂
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  11. Phoenix says:

    How precious to have such awesome neighbors. Sorry for the physical loss, yet those memories are always alive in your heart, Doreen. Be gentle with yourself. <3
    Phoenix recently posted…Living HealedMy Profile

    • Thanks, Esther. It’s always nice when we attend a memorial service for someone and realize that everyone present shares the same warm memories of that person as we did. That is the true success of being a loved human being.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…a man of kindnessMy Profile

  12. Linda says:

    A lovely tribute to Gil.

    The epitome of kindness? Oh, I can name several people I would describe that way. One is Lucy, a woman who used to be a neighbor. We became reacquainted last year in a completely random situation and just before she was due for life-altering surgery. I wanted to be there for her and her husband, to do something helpful for them. But by golly, she has returned all of my petty attempts at kindness only hers are magnified a thousand fold. She is just an all around, splendid, thoughtful, and compassionate human being.
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  13. What a warm reflection to read on a snowy morning, Doreen. Thanks for sharing this. Warms my whole day.

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