Visits with Trish Alden often have a familiar beginning. When she hands people a rose bouquet, they plunge their faces into the palette of colors and fragrances. They inhale and emerge with a satisfied, “Ahhhhhh.”
There’s a reason that Alden, 80, is often called “The Rose Lady.”
Each year, she delivers thousands of roses to friends, neighbors, HopeWest employees and anyone needing a smile or pick-me-up. She waits excitedly for the first roses in her yard to bloom each spring.
“It always makes my heart happy to give people my roses,” said Alden. “Giving is what God has given me to do. Seeing all my roses reminds me of how they’re going to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Alden has known serious illness and difficult times. She understands what it means to have someone reach out with simple acts of kindness. She was a teacher for 30 years and made a point to be aware of the feelings of each child and the need for extending special care.
When she moved to Grand Junction in 2005, Alden didn’t know anyone in town besides her daughter’s family. That changed quickly.
On the south side of her house was a tangle of five large cedar trees. Her son, who was visiting, replaced them with eight rose bushes for her to enjoy. She now has 50 bushes, each a different variety. Alden grows peach, magenta, coral, yellow, pink, orange, lavender and red, ranging from petite tea roses to grand roses the size of an adult’s hand.
“I knew if I had more roses, I could give them away,” she said. “From the very beginning, I started giving them to my immediate neighbors, then to people I would meet on my walks around the neighborhood.”
She’s on a first-name basis with almost everyone now and has support- ed many through illnesses, family challenges and life’s ups and downs. She offers to pray with them or tells them she’ll keep them in her prayers.
Before her roses bloom, the Rose Lady receives emails from HopeWest employees asking when she’ll come by. They know she’ll bring them roses every other week, but her friendship is what they miss most.
“It takes me three hours to prep the roses and another couple hours to hand them out and talk to the peo- ple at HopeWest. I’m very careful not to miss anyone,” she said.
Alden said she has never thought of herself as special. She feels humbled to be able to serve people and make them feel a little better.
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