Four years ago on Valentine’s Day, Arizona native Natalie Reilly started “Nothing but Love Notes” with her mom, who was battling cancer. The goal? To show first responders how much they are appreciated.
“We had a bunch of thank-you notes, threw them on the kitchen table, and she always had an affinity to first responders,” Reilly said. “We got her in the car, drove around three hours and looked for them.”
Although Reilly’s mom is gone, Reilly still makes it a priority to continue writing the notes and finding first responders to give them to—and not just on Valentine’s Day. Reilly keeps the cards in her purse always and hands them out whenever she sees a person in uniform.
“You give them these cards, and they literally break down, and it’s beautiful because I think sometimes the strongest ones need it the most,” she explained.
“It seems like Natalie’s notes find people on bad days or just long days, when you’re tired and drained, and it kind of recharges you,” said Buckeye Police Department Sgt. Zachary Astrup.
Reilly even ended up finding her boyfriend when she gave a retired police officer a note a year ago.
Over the last four years she has given out more than 20,000 love notes. Each time she gives one out, she thinks of her mother.