Oxford organization wants to spread kindness
By Steven Hoffman
On a recent morning, Roy Caudill took a plate of muffins over to the Oxford Post Office for the workers there to enjoy. Caudill and dozens of other people in town are on a mission to spread good cheer and prove that, in Oxford, kindness really counts.
Caudill and several other members of the Kindness Counts in Oxford team were stationed at a booth during the most recent First Friday event on Nov. 4 to raise awareness about the goal to get people to share smiles, to treat each other with kindness, and to be friendly to acquaintances and strangers alike. Caudill handed out flyers explaining that Kindness Counts in Oxford is “(a) homegrown grassroots organization determined to make oxford a showplace for kindness, caring, sharing, civility, volunteerism, and good, old-fashioned decency.”
Jerome Rodio, a popular business owner and president of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce, embodied many of these qualities. Caudill explained that Kindness Counts in Oxford got its start after Rodio passed away in July, and the group is dedicated to honoring his memory by continuing to spread good cheer and kindness.
During a community dinner to honor Rodio's good works in August, people shared their memories and talked about how Rodio's positive attitude impacted their lives.
“When Jerome passed, it left quite a hole,” Caudill said.
Each month, Caudill explained, the group will hand out a “challenge card” that explains the focus for that month. In November, the theme was gratitude, and asked people to “make or bake little gifts for folks who do nice things for you or others. Think outside the box. Try to target those you may have overlooked in the past or those who might least expect a “thank you.” The group was accepting letters from children who wrote to thank police, firefighters, emergency responders, and military personnel for the important work that they do. Nikki Hale,a member of the Kindness Counts in Oxford team, painted a photo cutout that allowed people to put their faces over the uniforms of firefighters, police officers and the military so that they can take photos.
Caudill said that the group has been encouraging people to not only shop in local stores, but to also make a friend while they are in the businesses by talking to the store owners, or simply sharing a friendly smile.
“We want people to show their appreciation and think outside the box when they do it,” Caudill explained.
The Kindness Counts in Oxford team currently includes Caudill, Betsy Brantner, Jenn Campion, Sue Cole, Sue Frampton, Nikki Hale, Cheryl Hamm, Jeff Hamm, Mayor Geoff Henry, John McGlothlin, Nickoel McGlothlin, Paul Matthews, Amy O’Donald, and Karen Stay. Caudill emphasized that the team’s roster is never full, and they are always looking for more people to spread kindness and good cheer. A website and Facebook page for the group are being developed.
Next August, the group will gather for another community dinner to remember Rodio—and they will also talk about the good work that has been accomplished during the past twelve months.
“The whole mission,” explained Caudill, “is to have a year of good deeds.”