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Grace Point Place Memory Care Residents Make Valentines For First Responders, And They'll Be Receiving Valentines Too

OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) -- If Mother Nature has you shivering, we hope this story makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

Residents of a memory care facility in the southwest suburbs wanted to show their support for a group that hasn't stopped working in the outside world.

CBS 2's Lauren Victory captured the moment they shared their Valentine's Day gifts – and as it happens, you can make a difference too.

They are stuck indoors under COVID lock and key. But memory care residents wanted you to safely see they are making the most out of quarantine at Grace Point Place in Oak Lawn.

"You could just see the excitement when they knew that they would be reaching other people," said Rae Erickson, life engagement director at Grace Point Place.

They are creating Valentine's Day cards on the inside for people working on the outside. Erickson and Shannon Dahlman helped facilitate a drop-off to the Oak Lawn Fire Department while our cameras were there - and while the artists watched.

"One of the main pillars of the engagement program is making them feel they have meaning and purpose - and actually giving them that meaning and purpose," Erickson said.

One firefighter named Paulie got a Valentine saying: ˜Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you for your service. God Bless you. Adeline."

"I think I remember this lady," he said.

He just might. The firefighter/paramedics acknowledge they have visited Grace Point Place more than a few times for much different reasons.

"It's quite often, with the restrictions, that we're the only people from the outside that they see. Normally, it's during situations that aren't favorable, so it's nice to come and spread some joy," said Oak Lawn firefighter/paramedic Jeff Goworowski, "and even though you can't see it, we're smiling behind these masks and I hope they are too."

If not during this moment, the emotions might come this weekend. Residents actually did start crying at Christmastime when they got cards.

"We had almost 800 cards that were delivered to the community for the residents," Dahlman said.

That effort was so successful, they're calling for cards from the public again.

Erickson said there have been lasting changes from that contact the residents have received from the outside world.

"There's that extra boost when you get something and someone cares about you enough to make something for you, and that kind of carries you into the next day," Erickson said.

And those touched essential workers at the fire department agree.

Grace Point Place is located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn. The ZIP code is 60453. Valentine's Day messages for the residents can be mailed or dropped off at the front door.

This was the first time cards were both received and sent by the assisted living community - but won't be the last.

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