Social media post offers, inspires giving of armbands to local families

It was the end of a rough week for Michelle Lee, and she was looking for something positive to do. Lee, who works as a 9-1-1 dispatcher in a neighboring community, knew exactly what she wanted to do after logging into Facebook after her shift.

“So when people treat me like crap – I try and show kindness,” she said. “So I just pulled out my phone and the Okawville residents page was the first thing I saw and the idea came to me.”

Lee offered to purchase a couple of armbands for the carnival at the recent Okawville Wheat Festival. She said in her post that she felt inspired to give back because she remembers what it was like to have to rely on the kindness of others in order for her children to have some fun at the festival.

“Without the help of grandparents there were years that my kids couldn’t have ridden the rides,” she said. “Money was tight for us and they always seemed to help when needed. My kids are grown now and where we are not rich but I had some extra funds I decided to help.”

Lee said there were two families who reached out to her through Facebook. But one thing she hadn’t anticipated was others offering to follow suit and also purchase bands for families.

“I had no idea that some many other people would offer to help,” she said. “And honestly I didn’t think the post was that big of a deal. I had no idea it would grow so big. Honestly kindness should be the norm, not the exception…. The kids are having a blast and making memories – which is thei most important thing!”

Lee works for O’Fallon Police Department at a consolidated center serving O’Fallon, Fairview Heights and Shiloh. She said she has been a dispatcher for 10 years, and she got her start at Washington County.

Cutline: Families stand in line to purchase carnival tickets Saturday during the Okawville Wheat Festival.

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