ST. STEPHEN – For 35 years, Dot Larsen has ensured the children of St. Stephen Elementary make it to school safely.
She has spent the past two weeks in hospital recovering from surgery and only had kind words to say about the staff helping with her progress.
“They’ve been fantastic,” said Larsen.
Much of the hospital staff have known Larsen since back when they attended St. Stephen Elementary, or from the impact she’s made on their own children’s lives.
“Everyone who comes to see her or help her, she was their crossing guard, or their children’s,” said her son, Rodney Larsen.
Years have gone by, and yet her community members remember and celebrate her.
“I remember all their names and first days,” said Larsen.
She’s helped raise generations, watching them grow into adults, and into parenthood.
In a single day, Larsen received 450 cards from St. Stephen Elementary students. This past week, she’s received overflowing bags of more cards, all wishing her well. The countless cards decorate her hospital room, reminding Larsen of the community she’s served for over three decades.
“Oh, my goodness, it brings love to my eyes and my heart,” she said. “They’re still looking out for me now.”
Larsen is the kind of person who, without a doubt, loved her job.
“Oh dear, did I ever,” she said, adding the best part for her was, “getting up and seeing the kids run to me saying, ‘Hi Dot.’”
Children at St. Stephen Elementary have started and ended their days with Larsen’s kindness. Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, Larsen would give the children lollipops, brightening their days.
Although she’s not sure when she can return home, her positivity and kindness have not wavered. “I’m taking it one day at a time and hoping for the best,” she said.
The endless support from her community has been truly touching for her and her family.
“It’s just beautiful,” said her son.
She continues to show what one person can do for their community, and just how far kindness can go.
“Tell them all I miss every one of them,” she said.