Every now and then the Holbrook Florist unknowingly receives a call from overseas, typically Iraq or Afghanistan. The banter is the same: a young male in need of flowers for his mother for Mother's day, or her birthday or Valentines Day. The difference is the call back number.
"I ask them for their return number incase anything goes wrong and they start crying," said Cheryl, the owner of Holbrook Florist.
As a thank you to the mothers of the dedicated soldiers who serve our country, Cheryl takes the arrangement ordered and adds to it at her cost. She has given extra candy, a bear, a knickknack and a keepsake container. It is also an act of remembrance for her brother who served 18 months in the Vietman war. He returned safely in the winter of 1966.
"For every five to seven letters my mother sent she got one back," said Cheryl, reflecting on how her own mother felt when her son was overseas fighting for his country.
According to Cheryl, giving back is just something that the Holbrook Florist does. They donate 16 arrangements a week to the local Hospice, each one with a single rose to represent her sister who she lost to breast cancer. At the request of Hospice, the donations have been named "Friends with Flowers." They also send corsages to Hospice for special occasions like a 90th birthday or 95th birthday.
They donate to the St. Baldricks Fundraiser for childhood cancer research.
It's heartfelt for Cheryl. She received a thank you note from Daniel Manahan, from Holbrook currently serving in Afghanistan, whose mother received a larger floral arrangement than ordered, without charge. Also enclosed were a stuffed bear, a box of chocolates, and a thank you note for serving our country. His mother, Sharon wrote a letter of thanks to the local Our Place, sending the message to the community about the rare acts of kindness the Holbrook Florist dispels without being asked.
She has also received numerous phone calls and an anonymous thank you for her efforts. Cheryl has even received a thank you in person when she went into the drugstore one day and a stranger thanked her after finding out what she had done for Manahan.
"I'm shocked over how much fuss people made because to it's no big deal," said Cheryl, who feels everyone learns from what she does including the community and her own family.
She knows her good deeds teach her daughters and granddaughter morals and values and it is something she would have liked to be done for her mother. She feels if everyone cared a little more than they do, the world would be a more appreciative place.