Hearts of Gold: Jane O'Toole lives life making time for others

Published: Feb. 19, 2018 at 6:32 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2018 at 8:36 AM EST
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(WWBT) - The Olympic athletes have taken us on an emotional ride though wins, and at times broken dreams, but we know we don't have to go to Pyeongcheng to find gold.

Here at home, we're recognizing people from our community with Hearts of Gold. One of the biggest we found was Jane O'Toole's.

Look at pictures of Jane O'Toole, and you'll see everyone around her smiling. She isn't one of those people who ever looked to make a big splash, to do big things for the big recognition. She made ripples, that added up to waves - in all of the small quiet acts of kindness she diligently performed.

"She always made that time, had that window in the late afternoon to do something for somebody," said husband Mike O'Toole.

She remembered birthdays, special occasions, and was just so good at "just because."

"She always bought her cards at the Dollar Store and showed up with a card and a bouquet of flowers," said Patty Lumpkin.

These women in her book club counted on those cards and that kindness. It's why Lumpkin nominated Jane for this award.

"She was the first person I called when my husband died at age 52, and she walked with me and my children every step of the way, through our journey of grief and recovery," said Lumpkin.

Once a week, Jane visited a woman who had suffered a stroke - to socialize or help with chores. She didn't talk about it. She just did it.

"You knew if you went to her to get something done, it was done. It was done in a timely manner. It was professional. It was done right the first time," said Mike O'Toole.

The hardest part of telling Jane's story - is that we never got to meet her. The mother of three and devoted wife and friend died suddenly in December.

"She was the glue...The way she was as a wife, she was as a coworker, as a friend. She was caring, she was compassionate, her faith was her compass."

It was a compass that was always so selfless, and so giving. And so golden.

She helped with a clothing closet at the local hospital - for patients who needed new clothes, for whatever reason.

Her commitment was steadfast, and the closet has since been named in her honor.

"People say 'I don't have time.' It's not that you don't have time. You make time. And Jane always made time," said Mike O'Toole.

And so as we celebrate Jane's Heart of Gold, Jane's devoted husband asks that you remember this about her, in the way you live your life.

"Be caring, be compassionate, make the time. Don't just be too busy. Sadly, as we've learned, life's short," said Mike O'Toole.

Short, yes. But Jane's legacy, and Heart of Gold, we're sure will live on for a long time.

Jane was the recipient of a $200 gift card to Saxxon Shoes. Her husband says the money will be used to make donations to that clothing closet Jane was so passionate about - which is what she probably would have done, even if she was still with us.

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