Celebrating Gloria Wolbach & Random Acts of Kindness

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Everyone Has a Story…One Gift can Change Everything are words used by the Heartland United Way in our 2012 campaign and is a mantra that AOK Lady Gloria Wolbach has lived by. With Act of Kindness month upon us I'd like to pay tribute to this amazing woman, who happens to be the AOK Ladies Founder.

Gloria has always had a passion for helping people even when life wasn’t always the easiest for her.  Gloria has had her share of heartache in losing loved ones very dear to her and surviving breast cancer. During these tough times she became the grateful recipient of kind gestures.

After moving to the Grand Island community in 1978, Grand Island became a very lucky recipient of Gloria Wolbach’s passion to spread kindness and to help people in need.  As quoted by a friend many years ago, “Gloria is someone who understands when people hurt and when her community is in need, and she never hesitates to do something about it.”  And do something she did time after time…opportunity after opportunity…to spread kindness and to make a difference.

Gloria organized and developed the AOK Ladies, an outgrowth of her quest to reach everyone in the community with random acts of kindness. Under Gloria’s leadership, fifty three ladies in the community began performing acts of kindness (treating crossing guards with warm drinks and cookies, plugging expired parking meters, provided valentine cards for students who couldn’t afford to buy them, paying cab fare, their first act of kindness was a sit down tea party, complete with silver trays, to children in the afterschool program at Wasmer Elementary School. As Gloria once stated “what we can and will do is promote kindness for our neighbors and community.   These acts become like a chain link fence, entwined and strengthened with each act of kindness. Gloria encouraged everyone to pass on the act of kindness so the chain is not broken.  With an endowed AOK Ladies Fund, it pleases Gloria to think that years from now AOK Ladies will be strengthening ties and improving the community.

In addition to the AOK ladies, Gloria is a devoted supporter and volunteer for many charitable organizations in our community some of which include Stuhr Museum, Central Nebraska Goodwill, Heartland United Way, Grand Island Community Foundation, Red Cross, St Stephen’s Episcopal Church and many more.
Gloria was named the Grand Island Independent Woman of the Year in 1999, Heartland United Way’s Citizen of the Year in 1998 and the YWCA Woman of Distinction in 2005.

It is my honor and privilege to recognize and thank this woman who truly is one of the kindest woman I know.        

Karen Rathke, President & CPO
Heartland United Way