Delta woman’s act of generosity gives others a little piece of home

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 9:31 AM AKST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 4:10 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Marsha Taylor didn’t know at the time, but somehow her life and many others would be woven together through an act of kindness and handmade quilts.

She lost her husband Steven Taylor a little over 2 years ago to Alzheimer’s.

In Steven’s later years he moved into the Denali Center in Fairbanks. During his stay, his wife Marsha would travel over 100 miles past Delta Junction to the facility. Marsha said she would make that drive early in the morning. She wanted to make it there in time for lunch.

“During that entire time he was here I felt like we were partners with his family in providing his care,” said Don Thibedeau, who has worked at the Denali Center for 33 years.

“Even though they were from past Delta Junction. His wife Marsha Taylor would drive up very frequently every week,” he explained, “and throughout the week to come and see her husband.”

During her visits, Marsha began to notice many of the other residents didn’t have family who came to visit. This made her feel sad for those who didn’t have family to visit them.

After the passing of her husband, she wanted to give others a little piece of home. “During that time she kept thinking what can I do to give back to Denali Center? She had felt like we had helped her. We definitely felt like she partnered with us,” said Thibedeau. “So she got the idea of making quilts.”

What started as a thoughtful idea, became a reality. With a little help from her daughter in Colorado and some friends from her local church, Marsha got to work. Together they made 70 lap quilts for residents at the facility.

Thibedeau said the quilts were given to long-term residents and even to those short-term residents as well. “Something that is a comforting thing and a home-like thing to make them feel very good about their stay here,” said Thibedeau, smiling. The quilts came in all kinds of designs and it wasn’t long before residents were speaking up for the quilts they wanted. “I was hoping to show you several more examples, but we were able to give away several already,” he said.

Marsha’s effort ensured that every resident would have a quilt, and there would be more for future residents. “You can tell that it was a gift of love and we appreciate the Taylor family,” Thibedeau said warmly. It is moments like this Thibedeau said, he appreciates the connections between people, and the closeness he shares with the residents and their families.

Other residents and staff at the Denali Center sent a card to the Taylor family. He said this is just a small gesture of thanks and appreciation for the love and thoughtfulness it took to reach out and touch others she thought needed an extra hug during the holiday season.

When asked if he had a message to share with the Taylor family, he said kindly, “Merry Christmas, and thank you.”

Marsha Taylor said, she hopes this holiday season that everyone takes a little extra time out of their day to spend with their elders and family.