During my Fourth of July visit home to the Atlantic City area, I learned that casino executive Dennis Gomes had died in 2012. Tears immediately flowed.
In 1993, I was a teacher at Creative Learning Preschool in Galloway Township. Dennis and Barbara Gomes were parents of a student I had in my class, and my husband did landscaping on their home.
We had two young children - 3 years old and 20 months - when my husband, Jake, fell gravely ill and was transferred to a hospital in Newark. Barbara and Dennis would ask me what I needed and what could they do. They offered a limo to take me to see my husband. They were so incredibly kind to me.
Shortly after Jake died, I had a bill to pay for $500, and I had no money. The company was going to attach my wages. I wasn't sure what to do, and I didn't tell anyone. I just prayed about it.
A week later, I went to the mailbox to find an envelope. Inside was a check in the exact amount of $500 and a note that simply stated, "Take care of your babies," signed by Dennis and Barbara Gomes.
I want to say thank you to Dennis Gomes for being such a wonderful man, and I want his family to know that 20 years later, I'm the founder and president of the largest autism foundation in Scranton, Pa.
I think Barbara and Dennis would be very proud of how I took their kindness and paid it forward.
I know Dennis did so much for Atlantic City, but the true measure of this man is how he helped a young mother and teacher survive by such a generous act of kindness.
Kindness truly does matter.
KATHLEEN M. WALSH
The Parents Loving Children
Through Autism Foundation