A phone call, a blessing and faith created a special bond between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) employee Michelle Jackson and local senior Rose Cloud.

Jackson and Cloud met through the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, which pairs families and seniors in need with volunteers who donate gifts to make the holidays special. Jackson’s marketing team at BCBSNE participates in the program yearly, and this year, Cloud was one of the team’s adoptees.

Before purchasing gifts, Adopt-a-Family participants call their adoptees to find out what items they’re interested in receiving. Jackson placed the call to Cloud for her team and felt a connection from the start.

“She just touched my heart from the minute we had our first phone conversation,” Jackson said. “She blessed me on my way into work and was hopeful I had a safe drive in every day.”

Jackson and Cloud spoke over the phone for 45 minutes and learned more about each other’s backgrounds. After discovering Cloud works part-time at Windows of Faith Thrift Store, Jackson decided to donate a few items.

Jackson found Cloud’s faith “very uplifting” and wanted to make Cloud, a member of the King Solomon Baptist church, something special for one of her gifts. She made Cloud a wooden sign with the word “faith” on it.

Jackson asked Cloud to open the special gift when she and a coworker delivered gifts to the adoptee.

Cloud opened it and noticed the item’s sentimental value.

“She said, ‘do you like it, Rose?’” Cloud said. “I said, ‘oh, I love it.’”

Cloud is saving the rest of her gifts to open on Christmas and said she appreciates being adopted by BCBSNE.

“I think it’s nice,” Cloud said. “I deeply appreciate this and what they’ve done for me.”

Jackson enjoyed meeting Cloud.

“Rose is a very uplifting person,” she said. “Her laughter, faith and smile are very contagious.”

Jackson encourages others to participate in Adopt-a-Family.

“It makes my Christmas,” she said.

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