, Port Arthur, Texas


October 18, 2012

Groves girls “pay it forward” to help former teacher

GROVES — Christina Puente always taught her Taft Elementary School students to help others in need.

When the teacher learned that two of her former students were selling pecans to benefit a local cancer patient with lymphoma she was so touched by the gesture of kindness that she immediately bought a bag and donated $20 to the cause.

Little did she know that Kassidy Thomson and Lauren Edington, both aged 9, were collecting and selling the pecans in order to buy ingredients to make a dinner for Puente and her husband, Jesus, who was then undergoing treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

“I saw it posted on a friends Facebook page and found out later it was for us,” Christina Puente said. “It touched our hearts.”

Jesus Puente completed his sixth and final round of chemotherapy on Monday at M.D. Anderson in Houston. He is scheduled to return to his physician in three weeks where, he said, hopefully he will be cancer free.

Earlier this week the Puente’s met with the two girls and their mothers, Heidi Thomson and Barbara Edington, at Thomson’s house. The kids spread out in the large front yard and began collecting pecans to fill 50 orders.

While the kids carefully counted the pecans and placed them in plastic baggies ready for sale and distribution, the adults talked about the goal of the children and how it has inspired others.

“There was one lady from Bridge City who came by and bought a bag of pecans and donated $50,” Heidi Thomson said as both Christina and Jesus Puente teared up. “The lady wanted to help and knew this was the time to do this.”

Both girls stopped counting pecans for a brief moment to say they believe they’re making a difference and feel good about the work they are doing.

The elementary school teacher looked to the two women and said she can’t take all of the credit for teaching the children to help others, their mothers and families taught them as well.

“It was just me, just doing my job,” Christina Puente said.

The Thomson’s have three large pecan trees plus two small pecan trees and have never picked the nuts. Now there is a reason.

The Puente’s, who have two young daughters, feel blessed to have such caring friends and students, they said.

Christina Puente also feels like the students are her own children.

“These are my kids,” she said. “For them to choose to do this for us is priceless.”

Persons wishing to purchase a baggie of pecans can contact Heidi Thomson at 719-6081, through her Facebook page.

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