In an era when swagger, lies and bullying have become the tiresome norm in everything from politics to pro sports, it’s refreshing to see someone who exemplifies kindness and caring get some recognition.
In this case, that person is Alaina Linden, school nurse at Terrace Heights Elementary. She’s up for the national LifeChanger of the Year Award, which comes with a grand prize of $10,000 — $5,000 for the individual winner, $5,000 for the winner’s school. She could also qualify for any of four other cash awards in the contest.
From what we saw in a story the other day from YHR education reporter Vanessa Ontiveros, we like Linden’s chances.
We also like what co-workers, school parents and students have to say about Linden, who’s lived in the area all her life and attended East Valley schools herself.
“Knowing that Nurse Alaina is taking care of my child if he gets sick or injured at school gives me a huge peace of mind,” Kari Thompson wrote on the LifeChanger nomination page. “She is amazing with kids, knows her stuff and puts everyone at ease. We love her and are so proud to have her for our nurse!”
“Alaina is always super caring, loving and a joy to be around!” Cindy Badillo added. “You will always see her happy and spreading her love.”
Linden got her nursing credentials through Yakima Valley College and took a job in Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. The mother of two still works occasional ER shifts in her spare time — and she’s earned the respect of co-workers there, too.
“Alaina is a caring nurse always willing to listen to her patients,” Kerri Sutton wrote on the nomination site. “One of my best memories was when Alaina came to work with a pair of shoes for a homeless patient she had been caring for.”
Hard to imagine anyone saying things like about the sneering, blustering and obnoxiously self-satisfied faces we — and our children — endure day after day on our screens.
Whether Nurse Alaina brings home any cash or not, she’s clearly already enriching her community. She’s treating playground owies, sure, but by her smiling example, she’s also helping kids, parents and co-workers see how they can be healthier from the inside out.
That’s about as generous a community contribution as anybody could ask for.