The phone rang late in the week and it was an elderly woman, calling to ask the best way to thank some people publicly in the Maitland Mercury
"Write a Letter to the Editor," I suggested. "That way you can thank as many people as you like."
But we continued chatting and bit by bit Ilona Grigg's story emerged.
She wasn't just thanking anybody, but the Maitland Volunteers for Palliative Care who had been supportive of her and Dan, her husband 52 years, during the dark days when he became seriously ill and passed away. Her "silent angels" she called them.
I remember distinctly how emotional she became emotional as told of how much they had done for her.
She mentioned that she wanted to thank Maitland police too.
When she learned Dan was slipping fast and she might only have 30 minutes or so to get from her East Maitland home to the hospital in Newcaslte, she rang and asked the police if they could help.
In no time there was a paddy wagon at her door and off they went, doing their best Daniel Ricciardo impression. It's fair to say they were hitting speeds not otherwise encouraged on Newcastle Road, but she got there all right, and they escorted her right to Dan's bedside.
By this stage the journalist in me kicked in.
She had mentioned she wanted to get it out to as many people as possible, so I asked if she would be up for a picture and let me do a story. I assured her it would reach more people, but that I understood if she'd prefer to stick with the letter.
"You don't really want a picture of an old thing like me with a broken wrist in your paper, do you?" she asked.
Broken wrist? That sealed it. And I'm glad I suggested it. Anecdotally, the feedback we've received has been terrific and the story went to numerous mastheads around the country.
Ilona sure got the word out about Volunteers for Palliative Care.
We plan to do a follow up over the next week or so - and meet some of this special breed of people themselves. Keep an eye out for it.
Rick Allen, Editor