Members of the Brighton Area School District and the community came together to give a couple local families a surprise Christmas gift.

Maltby Intermediate School teacher Karen Storey was recently inspired to help a local family from the school district and a staff member from within who have been going through troubled times with a little Christmas cheer. In less than a week’s time, Storey pooled the support of Brighton Education Association, Brighton High School National Honor Society, the BHS Executive Board, and Brighton Ford for the cause. Thursday afternoon they surprised two unsuspecting winners with “Christmas wish” checks for $1,250. One went to Lori Malvich, a mother of 4 boys, who is battling stage 4 cancer. Malvich (top picture) was overcome with emotion and said this was an amazing surprise and that people have been so kind and caring. She said this gift will allow her and family to get away for a couple of days because they never travel and that this would be a wonderful way for them to all spend some time together.

The other recipient was a district staff member who wished to remain anonymous. Fellow staff member Chris Darkowski made the nomination, and told WHMI that she’s never known anyone who has faced as much extreme challenge, adversity, and trauma in their life, yet rises with more unconditional love, dignity, and grace. The recipient said they feel blessed knowing that their colleagues are there for them.

John Cueter of Brighton Ford was there for the presentations and said he embraced the idea of the Christmas wish as soon as he heard it. National Honor Society teacher Sean Carney said that they live in a great community and that any chance they have to help someone out is really the spirit of the season and the spirit of Brighton.

The 2 winners were selected randomly from a pool of 26 nominees. Storey said she looks forward to continuing this special event next year. (MK)