My Turn: Holiday Angels

Elaine Johnson Wold may shun the limelight, but her star burns brightly in Boca

The holiday season is full of Christmas lists, shopping, fabulous parties, the city’s holiday and boat parades, our friend Anne Green’s Christmas cookies and over the-top decorations at the Resort. However, under this glittery blanket of prosperity and celebration are the forgotten children of God who are hurting—hurting from mental illness, homelessness, loneliness, abandonment. Boca is no different than anyplace else when it comes to suffering.

Except for our angels; we have a legion of them.

I believe that God’s angels are always with us—at our shoulder, to protect, lead and guide each of us along life’s journey. They are God’s secret weapons here on earth. We all need help and guidance, some more than others. That’s why there are organizations in our community to enlist their help, and to summon people in Boca who really make a difference.

Longtime Boca Raton resident Elaine Johnson Wold is one of these. She is an elegant and shy woman who has generously supported, among others, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Lynn University for decades. This does not include the numerous friends she has quietly taken under her wing. She is a very private person whose individual acts of charity seldom enter the conversation but have touched and comforted many.

Twenty-three years ago Margaret Mary and I co-chaired what was then the Boca Raton Community Hospital Ball with Elaine and her late husband, Keith. The hospital was in turmoil at that time, with the community divided over rumors of its sale. Differing opinions on the issue resulted in friends who wouldn’t talk to one another; some friendships ended. But at the suggestion of Dr. Wold we put aside our differences to honor the docs and nurses.

It was an idea that united many and that, under the circumstances, made the evening very nice and civil. The most important thing we as a couple took away from this experience was an enduring relationship with the Wolds. It was one of the nicest experiences we’ve had in our 39 years living in Boca Raton.

The act of giving is innate. You either understand what you have been blessed with and decide to share it with those less fortunate or you don’t. There are no courses in giving—you can’t teach compassion. There are no honorary degrees or payback, just the satisfaction that your help can change lives— and make our community what it is today. For years, Elaine Johnson Wold has steadfastly advanced many charitable Boca Raton causes. In the truest sense, she is a living example of one of God’s angels.

May He bless her—and others like her in our benevolent community—this holiday season for all they do in giving to our institutions.

This story is from our November/December 2019 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.