- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Flowers, just like milk, have an expiration date, and that made Terra Seyler sad. Flowers brought a lot of joy, the kind she worked hard, sometimes too hard, to spread to others.

Still, she and her parents, Mike and Charlese Seyler, who live on a farm near Kersey, all began to see the potential in those expired flowers, which looked about as good as new. Terra talked to Bev Wright, the floral manager for the Hillside King Soopers and asked if she could take the flowers to an assisted living home instead of throwing them away.

Terra was a senior at Platte Valley High School who played volleyball, took part in 4-H and was an honor student. She was busy, but she enjoyed volunteering, too. She got a small group of students together and read to kids in elementary school. She brought a 4-H group to work at the Weld Food Bank.

“She was always trying to find more to do,” Charlese said. “She doesn’t do anything half-heartedly, and it means a lot to her to help others.”

Sometimes that meant doing too much. And yet they supported their daughter. They helped her gather the flowers and load them in the car. Sometimes, the whole back end of the car would be stuffed with expired flowers.

Terra then drove them to homes all over Greeley. She rotated among the assisted living centers and A Women’s Place, a local shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Sometimes it took a couple of hours. Eventually, Wright began to call them when there was a bunch of flowers headed for the Dumpster. Usually she called at least once every two weeks.

“It’s wonderful for us,” Wright said. “This way they get used, and it gets our name out there a bit.”

It took time every week, but it also seemed to make people happy, and that made Terra happy. She got to know some of the residents of the assisted living centers. A resident in one home liked a certain kind of flower, so Terra had that one ready for her before she came in.

“The thing about it is, it’s not a huge deal,” Terra said. “It’s just a little time, and it’s something that brightens their day.”

That’s usually what Terra says about whatever she does, Charlese said of her daughter. She doesn’t like attention. She doesn’t like accolades either.

“She doesn’t like it when I come to pick up flowers with her,” Charlese said, “and I try to involve my camera.”

Terra is at her first year at Colorado State University, and she’s struggling to find a balance between helping others, working and studying. It’s a little overwhelming. She’s already thinking about changing her plans to attend vet school.

“I have to find my niche,” Terra said.

That means Terra doesn’t have the time to take the flowers around as much any longer. Yet Wright has heard that other King Soopers stores are trying to find places for their expired flowers. Terra hopes it continues.

“Those places look forward to it now,” Terra said. “People don’t have to specifically help me, but maybe if they just did it in their own way.”

Charlese wants to keep it going too. She’s hoping for volunteers. She’s also glad that her daughter is working to find time for college.

“As she gets older,” Charlese said, “she’ll find that common balance we all have to have.”

Terra hopes to find it soon. Her hard work has taught her that there’s always a need for more joy.

___

Information from: The Tribune of Greeley, Co, http://greeleytribune.com

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