In November, John Bartlett, activities and social service director for Catalina Village, put out a call for holiday help for the residents there who are all on the Arizona Long Term Care System, a program for indigent people who are at least 65 years old or are disabled.
Due to personal health issues, these words of acknowledgement have been delayed in getting out to many wonderful Tucsonans. For this I truly apologize.
But the appreciation and gratitude continues to be remembered each day as I see the many faces who benefited from their kindness and generosity.
First, I wish to express my personal appreciation to the Arizona Daily Star and its regional editor, Tiffany Kjos, for spotlighting my needs during Christmas and, hopefully, the next 346 days this year.
I was overwhelmed by the number of individuals, businesses, local RV parks and churches coming forward wanting to know how they could help - delivering items for use at my rummage sale, donations of furniture, clothing, gift cards, heartfelt monetary donations and more than 100 TVs.
To the many bands, choirs, musical groups and dance troupes that brought the music and joy of the holiday season, thank you!
That did not even include those who wanted to pick up a Christmas wish ornament to make the holiday a special one for everyone on my list.
Many of the donors were taken aback by the simplicity of the holiday wishes, such as "A jar of Maxwell instant coffee, a 24-pack of diet Coke, a box of See's chocolates, warm sweets and just maybe a bag of Doritos' Nacho chips?"
I had to explain to the many inquiries that for those that I was submitting wishes for, these were truly gifts to them. These everyday items that you or I take for granted are luxuries not always able to be acquired.
For me, it's very hard to know that there are individuals who must make it through the month on a very small and limited income just to cover personal needs.
In our country, we have witnessed many tragedies on a daily basis - from the rash of shootings, including the recent one at Sandy Hook that took many young and innocent lives, to local incidents, including our own recent two-year anniversary of the haunting Jan. 8 shooting.
We are also aware of our own homeless situation, Operation Deep Freeze, and those in dire need of medical coverage but are yet denied. And, of course, the list of those in need goes on and on.
But for that time being, when Tucsonans opened their hearts and sought ways to provide a truly memorable Christmas season, I tip my hat and tell you now: Your mission was truly accomplished.
Even to this day I continue to be approached and thanked for providing such a wonderful Christmas, but as I stress to everyone, it wasn't me. It was the citizens of our kind and caring city they need to thank. To remember it was Tucson that did it all for them.
So on everyone's behalf, as well as mine, let me share this quote from Albert Schweitzer, "At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Thank you Tucson, for lighting our hearts and spirits.
John Bartlett, who has worked at Catalina Village Assisted Living Apartments, 5324 E. First St., since 2008, is writing as a private citizen.