Cape Coral resident Devora Nurse got not just one, not just two, but three special surprises this week.
She was chosen as the recipient of the Tony Rotino Senior Center's Senior Wish Program to get a garden make-over and was given a surprise scholarship to Special Populations for her son Eric.
But what really touched her was reading the letter from her other son, Earl, who had nominated her for the garden wish.
"We received the letter from Earl and we were very touched by it and decided to pursue the garden project for Mrs. Nurse," said Theresa Hart, recreation specialist for the Tony Rotino Center.
In it, Earl said, "I'm taking this opportunity to nominate my beautiful mother...a graceful woman. My mother is not only a caring, loving, helpful person like most mothers, and she has devoted her life to us children."
He talked about her long commutes to work, and that she takes a lot of pride and care into taking care of his younger brother Eric who needs "extra special care" because of a disability.
"Her ultimate love other than us children is her garden. She loves to water the plants and keep her beautiful garden."
He then noted she works nights, and recently had shoulder surgery and has problems with her knee.
"It really amazes me how she can juggle so many things during the day to care for her sons, even if it means putting us first but this time we would like to give her something in return."
That was the garden, he said, something that would be very therapeutic for her.
He said much more about what a wonderful person she is, and asked for the wish.
"I'm shocked," she said, after actually reading the letter for the first time Friday. "I would have never thought he would write something like this. He is loving and always worried about me."
She described him as standing 6'7" tall, and shared that his wife is expecting their first child.
So in came those from the Tony Rotino Center and Yacht Club Community Park, and the Parks & Recreation Department.
"Everyone was so wonderful, really nice and really kind," Nurse said.
They helped with maintenance on the wood she had around a small garden, worked on her picnic table, planted plants and trees throughout her yard including Ixora bushes, flowering shrubs, jasmine and more. They even installed a permanent outside light for her garden.
"I love everything about gardening," Nurse said. "I'm a plant person, even when I was living in New York. I had many plants in the apartment in the window sills."
"She is just so inspirational," Hart said. This is a part of a grant program. "We received a a grant from CAMEO (Cooperative Associates Marketing Elderly Options). With the grant we have the Senior Wish Program where we receive requests for wishes for local seniors, anyone over 50."
"What we're looking for is heartfelt wishes," said another recreational specialist from the Yacht Club Community Park, Brenda Nixon. "And the majority of ones we've been able to grant are for their mom or grandmother, not for themselves."
If you wish to nominate someone, you can mail a nomination to the Tony Rotino Center 5817 Driftwood Pkwy, Cape Coral FL 33904 or email to bnixon@Capecoral.net.
The phone number is 849-7697.