By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — For years, Opal Daily has kept an eye on All Saints Catholic School, which is across the street from her home. The calls might be about litter in the neighborhood, the milkman arriving early or a feeling that something is “just not right.”
On Feb. 14, Principal Jeanne VonFeldt, along with four All Saints students and Daily’s great-granddaughter, surprised her with more than 400 Valentines and lunch for her and her son Ricky.
“Opal is a special friend to All Saints,” VonFeldt said as the group gathered in Daily’s living room. “She loves all the children.”
Her great-great grandson Xander Newberry presented Daily with the Valentines in a bag because there were so many — and he read a few of them to her. “This is so sweet of you,” Daily said. “These were made with love,” VonFeldt responded.
Daily said when the school was known as Holy Family School she attended grandparent day with a neighbor who was a student there decades ago. She didn’t really have much of a relationship with the school again until VonFeldt struck up a friendship.
“She’s the best principal,” Daily said of VonFeldt. “I mean it.” Both laughed.
VonFeldt has visited Daily on many occasions and built the friendship. Daily also has been invited to attend school functions.
When Daily’s son fell and broke his arm a few years ago, she said, “Jeanne sat with me while one of her staff rode with Ricky in the ambulance to the hospital. I don’t know what I would have done without them.”
Originally, VonFeldt had the idea to go to Daily’s house on her 88th birthday on Feb. 17. But school was out due to President’s Day. So VonFeldt chose Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the delivery of Valentines, the kitchen staff packed up pizza, vegetables, cinnamon rolls and milk for Daily and her son. When Daily heard there were cinnamon rolls in the bag, Daily exclaimed, “Those are delicious.” The kitchen staff even sent a card to Daily with the meal.
VonFeldt feels it is important to give back. “It’s part of our faith.” That is why she decided to organize the cards and meal celebration.
Xander and fellow All Saints students Mary Huber, Cruz Murillo and Mia Guerrero attended the gathering. Mary said it’s nice to help someone in need. Starting young in helping others sets a good example and makes Mary and others want to continue to help, she said. Kayla Newberry, Daily’s great-granddaughter, also took off work to be present. Daily hugged all those gathered as she fought back tears thanking them.
Kayla Newberry thanked VonFeldt for organizing the visit and allowing her and her son to take part.
“We have been working together to build a special relationship between All Saints and Opal. She does love our school. This shows that it is important to treat others with respect,” VonFeldt said.