CLARENCE CENTER, NY- In the midst of grief, a Clarence Center couple and the community are coming together to be grateful and give back, and that's why they are this week's 2 On Your Side "Good Neighbors."
The Gratitude Tree, adorned with little orange tags, has become a familiar landmark at the corner of Goodrich and Clarence Center Roads in Clarence Center. We first featured it last year, when it went up in memory of 19-year-old Paul Englert, Jr., who died suddenly in 2013 of a pulmonary embolism. His parents saw it as a way to help cope with their grief.
"Everybody has something to be grateful for. No matter how bad things are you still have something to be grateful for," said Paul Englert, Sr.
And now as the seasons change, so will the tree. The Gratitude Tree tags written by members of the community are being taken down and the Giving Tree angels are going up.
"It's a community project and it's just neighbors helping other neighbors, and it's exciting because when we work together some very wonderful and powerful things happen," said Deborah Tangelder, owner of the Perfect Gift, the store in front of which the tree sits.
Tangelder is encouraging folks to go into the mailbox, pull out an angel, and bring into the store to be assigned a person or family in need. The gifts will be collected through Saturday, December 3.
"That person is really just adopting that family or individual to give them a blessed Christmas. Then they bring the gifts back here and we distribute them to the families," said Tangelder.
The Englerts say The Giving Tree was Paul's favorite book. Now this Giving Tree, will live forever in their hearts.
"The holidays are very difficult for us, so this gives us something to focus on, and helping others is really the only thing that makes you feel better," said Denise Englert.
Tangelder says she feels blessed to be able to give back.
"It's a gift being able to do something to help someone and make a difference while you still can. We only have one shot here on earth and we want to make it count."
If you'd like to learn more about becoming an angel to help someone, or if you need assistance and would like your family to be on the receiving end, call Deborah Tangelder at The Perfect Gift- (716) 741-0722 or click here.
If you'd like to nominate your own "Good Neighbor" to be featured on Channel 2 News, e-mail Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com or call 716-849-2216.