Positively Naperville

Touched by a news story with images of a mother and child in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a youngster from Crest Hill was determined to help. A week ago, 10-year-old Danica Ward, with assistance from her parents and neighbors, dropped off two car loads of donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey at the Des Plaines Street parking lot where Joliet city officials had coordinated a collection.

Joliet partnered with Cadence Premier Logistics, a Joliet trucking company, with plans to deliver the goods in a large semitrailer to hurricane ravaged Texas as soon as possible.

According to the Jenni Ward, her daughter collected and delivered approximately $650 worth of nonperishable items.

For her efforts, a week later Joliet public officials arranged for Danica to have a tour of Cadence Premier Logistics where she could watch the truck being loaded with her donations for transport to Texas.

When the youngster found out about the tour, she told her mother they also needed to buy some Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards for the truck drivers.

“When I asked Danica yesterday what made her do this,” emailed Caylor, “she said, ‘I was watching TV and saw a lady carrying her baby walking in water above her waist, it made me tear up and tell my mom, ‘we have to help them.'”

Caylor, in awe of the generous contribution loaded in his truck for delivery, continued, “She grabbed her little red wagon and started going door to door (collecting items to send to Texas.) …Such a beautiful thing to see, such love and compassion in our young people. Inspirational… sometimes they can teach us so much more then we can teach them. We adults just need to take a break and listen.”

During her visit, the folks at Cadence Logistics presented Danica with a certificate of appreciation that read, “Outstanding participation in the Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort.”

The youngster also received some play time on one of the Cadence indoor soccer fields with Caylor’s partner Tom Maciulis, a former pro soccer player in Germany. Maciulis participated in the recognition ceremony that included a keepsake No. 10 soccer jersey.

“The jersey number 10 was given because 10 always represents the best player on a soccer team,” Caylor added.

“We let Danica drive a truck to Texas on our driver simulator,” noted Caylor. “She also gave the drivers some Dunkin Donut gift cards for coffee for the long drive to Texas.”

Email from Danica’s parents to Cadence Premier Logistics

I just wanted to say “thank you very, very much for taking time out of everyone’s day to acknowledge Danica on her efforts to help the families in Texas.” It meant the world to us and it meant the world to Danica.

I was in complete shock at the attention and compassion everyone showed Danica. It was very heart warming. We talked to Danica on the way home and explained that when you do nice things for people it may go unnoticed. We do not do things for people to get recognition, we simply do them because we are wanting to help, but it is a good feeling when your efforts do get noticed, Danica agreed and smiled.

Danica didn’t raise a million dollars or get celebrity type of donations, and that doesn’t matter. No amount is too little or too big when it comes to helping others, but for you and your company to treat her as if she did says a lot about the character of you, your staff and your company.

You, your staff and the city officials are simply amazing! Thank you again for making Danica’s day extremely special, she will remember this day for her lifetime and hopefully it will inspire her to continue on a great path.

—Jeff & Jenni Ward

In a written statement, Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said, “I want to personally thank Cadence for once again being a great neighbor and partnering with the City. The people of Joliet have always come together to help other communities in need and I am sure the response will be the same for the people in Texas and Louisiana.”

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