Good deeds often go unnoticed, especially in a small town where honesty is expected and human kindness is a way of life.
But sisters Kearstin Cruz, 11, and Celeste Cruz, 13, students at Boyd intermediate and middle schools, got some well-deserved and inspirational recognition for a good deed last week.
Earlier this month, the girls found a billfold in the parking lot of a business in Briar. What they found inside would have tempted most people. In addition to library and credit cards, the wallet also contained $1,341 in cash.
Celeste never even considered keeping it for herself.
“I thought it was probably really important to her,” Celeste said. “I thought she might have had a baby. And if she had a baby, she’d need money to feed it and take care of it.”
They turned it over intact to their parents, who contacted the Boyd Police Department.
Boyd Police Chief Greg Arrington soon located the woman who had lost the wallet.
“I called her on the phone at first, and she just started crying,” Arrington said. “She was so relieved that it had been returned.”
She had just cashed her income tax refund check.
The selflessness of the Cruz sisters impressed Arrington and the school district. On Friday morning, in a cafeteria crammed with kids, the principals of each school presented the girls with leadership awards.
“I never dreamed of this,” said Jerry McElroy, the girls’ adopted father. “They were just doing a good deed. I’m very proud of them.”
“I wanted to recognize them for their integrity,” Arrington said. “That means always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. That’s what these girls did.
“And congratulations to (McElroy) for doing such an outstanding job raising your daughters.”
The awards in the cafeteria came just four days after Arrington presented the girls with citizenship awards Monday night at the Boyd school board meeting. But Celeste said she was used to all the attention.
“It feels normal to me,” Celeste said. “I have a lot of friends.”