Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well Wishes for Elsie Fae

If you are from our corner of Northwest Missouri or read our local newspapers, there is a chance you have heard the name Elsie Fae Rhoades. Her weekly newspaper column, filled with witty comments and funny stories, has made her a staple in our community. 

Elsie Fae’s claim to fame reaches far passed our region into Iowa, where she was a teacher in Shenandoah for many years.

Last month, news of Elsie Fae sustaining injuries in a car accident spread fast, prompting friends and family to pass on a link to the Community Hospital-Fairfax website, where letters of encouragement and well wishes could be submitted online and sent to Elsie Fae as she recovered.

As I sat at my desk one morning, I couldn’t help but gasp at the list of emails in my inbox. Forty six messages? That couldn’t be! Surely they were “spam” mail. But as I begin browsing through them, I realized they were everything but.

“Get well” wishes had flooded my inbox from the form set up on our website where friends and family could send notes to patients. Normally, they trickle in one at a time and then I transform the message into a printed card and deliver it. But this time, there was obviously going to be a need for a much larger card.

My heart was so warmed for Elsie Fae as I read all of the notes from family members near and far and Shenandoah alumni.

From Cedar Rapids to Georgia and California, Elsie Fae’s name far outstretched the boundaries of the hospital.

Being a lover of literature myself, my favorite messages included a past student (SHC Class of ’69!)  who said she vividly remembered Mrs. Rhoades’ lesson on Dante’s Inferno and another bragged they were still able to quote Macbeth thanks to their amazing teacher...

I kept reading, so enthralled by the love and support:

“You are a strong woman!”

“Praying you have a speedy recovery!”

“Wishing you continued healing, from two Shenandoah grads!”

“You touched and influenced the lives of hundreds of Shenandoah High School grads! Wishing you a fast and speedy recovery!”

“Mrs. Rhoades, You have been in my prayers. I'm happy to hear of your continued progress. Keep up the good work and God bless!”

“Wish you nothing but the best, speedy recovery. You have meant so much in my life, in particular my tough high school years, you were a fabulous teacher!”

“Hope you continue to feel better each day. You are such a strong women and I will never forget the kindness and great friendship with my mom. Much love and "Get well Soon!"

Forty emails later and I was convinced that if words at the power to heal, Elsie Fae would be up and out of the hospital in no time. I typed all of the well wishes into a 6 page get well card and practically skipped down the hallway to deliver it to nurses for them to pass on.

If you know someone in the hospital, never underestimate the power that encouraging words can have. If a loved one is at Communtiy Hospital-Fairfax, consider making an impact by sending a get well card by visiting our website at and click on “Send a E-Message to a Patient” on the right side column.

You’ll never regret sending encouragement.

Written by Jennifer Herron