By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — Dorothy Kiester received almost 200 cards for her 100th birthday Aug. 14 thanks to a post on a Facebook page.
Card-bombing, or surprising someone with multiple cards at one time, has brought smiles and tears to people who have received the cards, thanks to the Facebook group "Pay It Forward Carroll County."
The group posted a request to send birthday cards to Kiester and the result was 180 cards and a birthday celebration with six generations of family.
Her grandson, Kent Kiester, said the centenarian was blown away by the outpouring of love and sincerity. He is still reading cards to Kiester every time he visits, he said, a month after the party.
A small group of women who prefer to remain anonymous are behind the Facebook page resulting in card bombings and other pleasant surprises around Carroll County.
The women decided to start the group after celebrating a national "Pay It Forward" day a few years ago. The Facebook administrators, who are also coworkers, decided to give coupons and have events to celebrate Pay It Forward day and from there decided to create a local group.
"It feels good to give back," one of the Facebook administrators said. "It is a good feeling to know you're helping other people."
The Facebook group, which has 230 likes, can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pay-It-Forward-Carroll-County/298681143539233?ref=br_tf .
The person who started the group said it is rewarding, but she is just as happy doing it with no one knowing she is doing it.
Another woman giving back without recognition decided she wanted to pay it forward every month for one year.
The Cutler woman received a prize to win a bouquet of flowers from a Flora shop every month for one year. Instead of keeping the flowers, the woman gave each bouquet to someone else.
"It helps you as much as it helps them," the woman said. "When you feel like you should give, give. Do it from the heart."
Paying it forward in Carroll County has become very much of a community thing, said Keristen Ford, a woman who works in Flora.
Ford, along with a group of three other people, began helping out Cody Green, a 12-year-old boy who had leukemia, and his family. After Green passed away in 2012, Ford said the women were lost because the people who hadn't really known each other had come together to help out the family.
Together, the women decided that though the boy was gone, they wanted to continue to be a part of something that was helping others.
"It helped my outlook on life," Ford said. "We had a lot of this energy and decided to help others."
Ford said it feels great to help others. The group continues to do projects as small as handing out cookies or leaving encouraging adhesive-backed notes and as big as giving laundry baskets full of items to residents who had been affected by floods in Delphi.
"I think it's important to be there for other people because you never know when you'll need help yourself," Ford said. "It's easier to stay positive and keep going when you have positive people around you. Sometimes people just need someone to believe in them."
Community members, the Facebook group and people like Ford have come together to help the community and plan to continue doing so.
Those looking to pay it forward in other ways may visit the Facebook page, like it and send a message to the group with any questions.
The newest card bombing is for Rebecca Knight, a young lady with cystic fibrosis, for her birthday. Those who wish to send a birthday card can mail it to 115 S. Second St., Flora, IN 46929.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit and like the Pay It Forward Carroll County Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pay-It-Forward-Carroll-County/298681143539233?ref=br_tf