Good deeds are wonderful to do all throughout the year, but acts of kindness are especially important during the holiday season. No one knows this better than Becky Granstrom, of Dakota Dunes, who is in her sixth year of organizing an annual holiday giving tree for the residential care facility where her mother lives.

“My mother has been battling multiple sclerosis (MS) for over 30 years,” Granstrom stated. “She has lived at the nursing home for the past 17 years.”

Granstrom family

The Granstrom family celebrates together in pre-covid days with Patty Murphy, center front, from left, Mason, Matt, Becky (Patty's daughter) and Reagan Granstrom.

Granstrom’s mom, Patty Murphy, is a resident at Embassy Rehab and Care Center in Sergeant Bluff. Murphy was diagnosed with MS, which affects the central nervous system, in her mid-twenties. She became wheelchair-bound when Granstrom was 17 and moved to the full-time care center when Granstrom was a sophomore in college and her younger brother was still in high school.

Over the years, Granstrom, her husband, Matt, daughter, Reagan, and son, Mason, have come to know the staff and other residents at the care center very well. They have chatted and shared meals with them. However, for the past months due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, they have had to visit by standing outside and conversing through windows so all can stay safe.

“Over the many years, I’ve gotten to know many residents on a very personal level,” Granstrom emphasized. “Recently, my mother’s roommate died of COVID and that was devastating especially to my mother. Normally, you walk in and the residents know you by name and want to hug my family. I have been trying to go window to window to wave and give them a big smile. Some have a lot of family and some have none. This breaks my heart and [is why the] kind giving tree helps so much. It is important to never forget about these residents and stay in contact as much as possible. The littlest card means so much to all of them.”

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.