OPERATION: SUPPORT JUSTIN
Random acts of kindness go a long way, literally and figuratively. From Sun City Elementary all the way to a hospital in Colorado, students in Bossier were cheering on Justin Marshall, a boy they had never met who was undergoing intricate surgery to separate the left side of his brain from the right side.
The surgery was to help control brain seizures Justin has been having as a result of a tragic car accident that killed his brother and injured the rest of the family. Justin suffered a skull fracture and is partially paralyzed on his left side.
"It's funny how kids are reacting like they know him," said Kimberly Tuminello, Principal at Sun City.
When Tuminello was approached by Sun City parent Starsha Adams about declaring Wednesday 'Justin Day,' she jumped at the chance to get her student body involved.
Adams is friends with Justin and his family, who they know through the military. She is one of the promoters who began a grassroots effort to send messages, photos and cards of support. What began with the set-up of a Facebook page quickly mushroomed to more than 4,000 friends, military members and complete strangers flooding the family with encouragement the day Justin was in the operating room.
"I just knew they were military and we're together, even if we're not physically together. We haven't seen them in two years," Adams said. "Everyone in the military is our family, our support system."
Adams and Deanna Davison, a fellow parent, went from class to class snapping photos of Sun City students clad in blue, Justin's favorite color. The kids also displayed 'Team Justin' signs and other well-wishes. Before Justin was wheeled away to the operating room, he was able to see the outpouring of support. Adams continued to send the photos throughout the day to Justin's family in the hospital waiting room.
"The pictures are priceless and he knows people are supporting him," Adams said. "I just messaged his mom and she said, 'You have no idea what this means.' That's all they want from people is support."
Tuminello emphasized that a number of students at Sun City are also military dependents and supporting Justin was one way the entire student body could demonstrate support for those families, whether near or far.
It goes to show a random act of kindness knows no boundaries and that kids can connect with each other even hundreds of miles away.