'Give some love'

Like everyone else, Vincent Mitchell was saddened by the school shootings that left 17 dead at a Florida high school.

So he did something about it.

Mitchell, whose business is Heavenly Hands Homecare in Charlotte, delivered thousands of bouquets of fresh cut flowers to CMS for distribution to schools Feb. 22 and 23. It was a second-generation act of generosity: online florist ProFlowers had donated nearly 2,000 boxes (with 30 to 40 bouquets of a dozen flowers in each box) to Heavenly Hands.

"I want to give them to the schools. Instead of guns, let's give flowers," Mitchell said. "Give some love. It helps the day go by. It changes the atmosphere from bad to good."

He was right. At school after school on Thursday and Friday, educators were moved to tears of delight as CMS warehouse personnel wheeled in boxes of roses. The deliveries will continue the week of Feb. 26 until all schools have received flowers.

At Independence High, warehouse workers Willy Vaughan and Helmut Karman were all smiles as they rolled six boxes into the front office on Feb. 22 and opened a box to display its contents.

"They're beautiful!" said Vanessa Howard, a secretary at Independence High School, holding her bouquet. She started to cry, then got busy arranging for delivery to the teachers in her school – "They'll cry, too," she predicted. Her co-workers Phyllis Galbreath and Risa Kudeviz also got misty as they received the long-stemmed red roses.

Senior Kaleb Baker – "They call me K.B." – was tapped to take a bouquet to social studies teacher Noelle Hamrick. In her classroom, she cradled her bouquet with delight. "It's heartwarming," she said. Told that Mitchell had donated her bouquet along with thousands of others, she beamed. "What a great guy!" she said. "Give him a hug for me."

As deliveries continued the week of Feb. 26 to schools, smiles mixed with happy tears as teachers and school staff received flowers.

Mitchell, who has a son in seventh grade at Randolph IB Middle, said he was glad that the flowers – all 798,000 of them – made the schools happy.

"This is so great," he said.

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