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Editor's Note: Kindness not limited to Day of Caring

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:00 p.m. CDT

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

– Blanche DuBois, “A Streetcar Named Desire”

This week’s cover story is all about the kindness of strangers. MidWeek reporters cruised around DeKalb and Sycamore on the Kishwaukee United Way’s Day of Caring and caught some of the 270 volunteers in action doing good work around the area.

I was still thinking about it when I spoke to Christy Gerbitz, operations director at Oaken Acres Wildlife Center, for an unrelated story. While we were talking, she began telling me a story about someone else who depended on the kindness of strangers last week.

In this case, the someone was a young fawn. On June 19, Gerbitz said the fawn was struck by a car on Greenwood Acres Drive in DeKalb.

Residents, thinking the fawn was dead, reported it to the city and went to drag it out of the street. When they realized the young animal was alive, despite serious head trauma, they called the city back and were instructed to call Oaken Acres.

“I dispatched a volunteer to pick up the fawn,” Gerbitz said. “That is not something we usually do, but these people were incapable of transporting it themselves. But when the volunteer arrived, he didn’t have the equipment or vehicle to take a fawn of that size.”

Meanwhile, a neighbor, whose wife had watched the fawn and its mother all spring, called his wife to tell her it had been hit. She rushed home from her shopping, Gerbitz said, and arrived in her sport-utility vehicle just as the volunteer was realizing his dilemma.

The larger vehicle was just what the little deer needed. With the help of the neighborhood residents, the Oaken Acres volunteer laid the fawn in the back of the SUV, and they took it to a veterinary clinic.

When I spoke to Gerbitz again on Monday, she said the fawn appears to be recovering. It is now at Oaken Acres, housed with the other injured or orphaned fawns the center has taken in this spring.

“He’s on his feet, taking nourishment, off his IVs and outside with the other fawns,” Gerbitz reported. “We’ll probably keep him until Labor Day weekend. He’s not recovered yet and still needs care. By the time he is recovered, he will still be too young to release into the wild, so we’ll keep him that long and let him mature a little bit.”

So, thanks to volunteers who saw something that needed to be done and then stepped up and did it, there is another happy ending to a story that happened to take place the day before Day of Caring.

Enjoy your MidWeek.

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