Valentine’s Day delivered to Autumn Care

Published 10:03 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

For the fourth year in a row, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office brightened up Valentine’s Day for local elderly with the help of Elephant’s Fork Elementary School students.

About 30 fourth- and fifth-graders in the Becoming A Man and Young Ladies of Distinction youth guidance groups spent two days with chalk, colored pencils, crayons and construction paper to make 115 cards for residents at the Autumn Care of Suffolk nursing and rehabilitation center, according to guidance counselor LaToya McGlone.

“They were extremely excited to bring smiles to the residents’ faces, and they were able to work together on team-building skills,” McGlone said.

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Community Engagement Coordinator Katie Jones collected the cards with Sgt. Joe Bidnick and Deputies Wade Thomas and Veronica Woodson on Wednesday morning and brought them to Autumn Care.

The four of them went to each of the facility’s 60 rooms to deliver bright, heart-adorned cards to approximately 99 elderly residents, according to Tameika Cross, activities director at Autumn Care.

“They really look forward to Valentine’s Day,” Cross said about the residents. “They like to reminisce about love and their first dates. They also make Valentine’s Day cards for each other.”

Residents smiled as they held their new cards, each with “Happy Valentine’s Day” written in a child’s handwriting.

“I think it’s beautiful that they go out of their way to do that,” said resident Leona Marvin.

“Thank you very much, and thank the kids,” resident Mary Luter told the deputies. “Tell them that I just love my valentine. It made my day.”

Many of the residents were sharing stories about their valentines in years past. Adelaide Montgomery recalled the candy, cards and evenings with her late husband Fred Montgomery.

“Before I was married, my mother would always bring some candy and make a nice dinner. After I married my husband, he would bring the sweets and take us out to dinner,” Montgomery said with a smile.

Woodson joined the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 3 and distributed her first Valentine’s Day cards in Suffolk with glee.

“I love it,” she said. “Just to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as well as the residents’ faces. Just to give back and brighten someone’s day.”

The Sheriff’s Office organizes events for the Autumn Care residents year-round, whether its Veterans Day, Christmas or bingo. They’ll also be there in the spring with the Easter Bunny and plush rabbits to distribute, according to Jones.

Thomas said he enjoys seeing the children excited to help others in their community, while Bidnick believes this helps foster in them a taste for volunteerism.

“I got to help someone out and put a smile on someone’s face,” said fifth-grader Katelynn Hyman, 10.

“Even though their families might not be there all the time, we’re always thinking about them,” said fifth-grader Da’Asia Poole, 11.