First Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner loses battle with cancer

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 4:50 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Connie Carter had no idea why so many cars were pulling up in front of her home on an overcast day in October of 2015. Curious, she came to the front door, looked out, and before we could get to her front door, she was standing outside with her arm in a sling.

Then, it started to rain.

“It was not the way we pictured the very first Gr8 Acts of Kindness giveaway to go,” I remembered telling our videographer, Laura Gunter.

After we explained what we were doing and why were were there, she smiled from ear to ear. I counted the first $408 dollar money giveaway from First Community Bank and KAIT into her hand. But what she said next would make us all realize this new project was a bit bigger than all of us—AND, it was way better than we could have expected.

“I know you brought this to me,” Connie said and put her hands together. Then she pointed skyward, “But, I know where it really came from. This is exactly what I need to make my house payment this next month.” Carter had to be off work because of an injury. She had broken several bones in her arm. Carter had prayed just the night before for help.

We all stood there in disbelief for a few seconds; then Carter invited us into her home.

Such a happy day spent there at her home nearly 8 years ago. Earlier this week, I returned to Carter’s house with Jace Passmore. We stopped by to say, “Hello” and check on this woman who so loved to serve others. She worked as a personal care aide worker and a cheerleader for her community. If something was going on in Trumann, she would let us know.

Because she was the first Gr8 Acts recipient, Carter became one of the biggest supporters of the Gr8 Acts of Kindness. Every person who won after her, I would see her congratulate them on social media. She loved welcoming them to this special group of people who go the extra mile to help others.

Carter also encouraged me. She checked on my mother, applauded the accomplishments of my children, and became a dear friend.

When I checked on her earlier this week, she had not opened her eyes or responded to people for a while. Her sister, Pamela Pitcher, told Connie “Diana Davis and Jace Passmore are here to see you.” Her eyes opened just briefly and she said, “Hey girl.” Then, she was back to sleep. Medication in her final days to relieve pain kept her in and out of consciousness.

Cancer had invaded her body; despite a valiant attempt to fight it. She had just rang the bell signaling the end of her chemotherapy earlier this summer. Those who knew her knew Connie was tough and fought this disease with every ounce of her being. But, earlier today, Connie Carter passed away. She was 69 years old.

The standard-bearer for a project that has lasted nearly eight years is gone, but her memory will live on as it does with other winners who have won the Gr8 Acts of Kindness and have since passed away.

Kindness is a treasure that is meant to be given away. Connie showed us that and we have never stopped finding people who inspire, lead, and change our lives for the better.