A Happy Valentines Day at Rolling Meadows

February 13, 2013
From left, Rolling Meadows Nursing Home patient, Audrey Williams, of Marianna receives a Valentine gift of a stuffed elephant from Kolby Smith, 10, and his brother, Walker, 14. Martha Turner of Waynesburg waits for her turn to choose a stuffed animal. Kolby delivered dozens of his favorite stuffed animals to residents at the nursing home this week in honor of Valentine’s Day. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – Valentine’s Day came a little early for residents of the Rolling Meadows Nursing Home in Waynesburg, thanks to a local boy.

Kolby Smith, 10, a fourth-grader at Waynesburg Elementary School, has been collecting stuffed animals since he was just a little guy, according to his mom, Tammy. Recently Kolby made the decision that it was time to part with them.

When he was discussing the matter with Tammy, the idea of sharing these beloved toys came up. A perfect solution it seemed was to contact Sharon Jeffries, the activities director for Rolling Meadows. Known as Aunt Sharon to Kolby, Jeffries said she was delighted when she got the call suggesting that Kolby bring in his stuffed animals as Valentine’s gifts for the residents there.

“He has been collecting these since he was just a baby,” Jeffries said. “I know it will be a little hard for him to part with them but he wanted to do this.”

For a few days prior to making his presentation Kolby and Tammy made some alterations to the animals that ranged from a turtle to a leopard. Each one was fluffed up, hearts sewn on them and red ribbons tied around the necks in honor of the occasion.

Kolby was joined by his older brother, Walker, 14, as he personally went resident-by-resident allowing them to choose which animal they wanted.

“I put them in two baskets, one for girls and one for boys,” Kolby told Jeffries, but agreed they could choose from either.

It was ladies first as the brothers went around the room with the baskets. Some of them brought their own stuffed animals along to show off what they already possessed. Several said they thought it was really nice of Kolby to think of them. Others waited anxiously for their turn to choose one of the treasures.

As hard as it may have been to depart with them, Kolby was all smiles. A horseman for several years now, he has slowly been moving on to activities that involve live animals. His parents said they are very proud of his accomplishments in the horse arena. Most recently, Kolby took second place at the 2012 Ohio State Fair Light Horse Show for Saddle Seat Equitation 10 & Under Walk/Trot.

But that is just one of the ways in which Kolby is involved with horses. In fact, mom and dad, Troy, said they are considering purchasing a miniature pony for him in the near future.

“He has plans already to use it as a therapy pony,” his mother said. One of his potential destinations where the pony might visit is Rolling Meadows.

Jeffries joked that there may be another reason behind such a visit – giving Kolby a chance to check on 60 old friends he graciously left behind for Valentine’s Day.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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