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Everyday Heroes: Alesa Smith

The Blooming Flowers Project

As Alesa Smith drives her pearl white Cadillac to her first stop of the day, Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” plays through the speakers and her backseat is packed with roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and more.

Her destination: Addington Place at Alpharetta’s Assisted Living and Memory Care, to deliver flower arrangements.

“They’re to brighten the life of not just our patients but the family members taking care of them,” Smith said. “We wanted to brighten the lives of their caretakers. At the nursing facilities, we always like to have flowers to drop off at the nurse’s station because we know how hard the work is.”

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Alesa Smith

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Alesa Smith

Smith, 50, began volunteering in hospice facilities about 10 years ago when she heard about dying veterans in need of care and company on the radio. Smith, the daughter of a Marine, signed up and fell in love with the work.

“I know that I wouldn’t want anyone to die alone if it was my mom, dad or grandparents,” Smith said. “Many facility patients are just lonely.”

Eventually, she turned it into a career and today works as the volunteer coordinator at Agape Hospice in Marietta.

As a hospice employee, Smith recruits volunteers, trains them and keeps their records up to date. But she continues to give her free time to the hospice community as well. In 2021, she started the Blooming Flowers Project, which uses donations to deliver flowers to staff, patients and their families.

“She’s extremely caring and put in a lot of hard work, effort and love in the project that was started to make the patients feel good,” said Praxa Patel, 51, a former volunteer who did a few deliveries early this year with Smith.

Shirley Ann “Gussie” Beck, 87, recalled how much Smith’s friendship meant to her and her husband, Jesse Beck, toward the end of his life.

Jesse Beck was in hospice suffering from dementia, and Smith would visit him when Gussie Beck couldn’t be there. The two enjoyed watching classic shows like “Gunsmoke,” “The Waltons” and “The Virginian.”

“One time, she came just to sit with Jess to relieve me, and I appreciated that so much at that time and still do,” Gussie Beck said of Smith. “She was always very sweet.”

When delivering the arrangements, Smith chats with almost anybody who crosses her path.

She stops by the front desk at one hospice facility, juggling a box of water-filled flower arrangements and her purse, to talk to the receptionist about the facility’s weekly Friday happy hour. As she passes a woman in a wheelchair, she pauses to join her in admiring Halloween decorations.

“Even when you think your floral arrangements look weird, people are so happy to have them,” Smith said. “You’re doing good and you are giving somebody the gift of presence that otherwise they would never have.”


WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER: A SPECIAL PROJECT

This place we call home is filled with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Their selfless acts make this region so special – and they bring out the best in all of us. With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share their inspiring stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and offer ways that you can help.

Just as the 55 people we’re profiling can’t do it alone, nor can we. That’s why we worked closely with our partners to bring you this collection of uplifting stories.

We hope they leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the busy new year that lies ahead. We hope they make you feel more connected to your community or to your neighbors.

And maybe, just maybe, they will motivate you to come up with your own small way to make a big difference in the lives of others.

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