Dozens of strangers are helping to ease the dementia suffered by an 89-year-old retired mailman by sending Valentine’s Day cards to the senior center where he lives.
Jim Gaboardi spent 45 years of his life delivering mail in Danbury Connecticut. He has currently received more than 80 handmade cards after his eldest granddaughter, whorequested on social media that the old fashioned communication method to be reincarnated to bring joy to her aging grandfather.
“He looks up to me and said, ‘Sure been a long time since I got any mail,'” Meghan Henriques-Parker, 36, told ABC News. “I felt absolutely horrific, so I put it on Facebook and I just wrote ‘Hey guys, do me a favor if you have time, or an extra stamp, pictures, just send it over.'”
Within days, dozens of cards began to arrive to the Stony Hill senior center for Gaboardi, a grandfather of eight and World War II veteran.
Although Gaboardi was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, the degenerative disease progressed over the last year, Henriques-Parker said.
Before her grandmother, Dorothy Gaboardi, passed away, she and Gaboardi would go “out to dinner every single night,” Henriques-Parker said, adding that they knew “everybody” in town, including the mayor.
“I love everything about him,” she added. “He did the best Donald Duck impression. He loved to swim, so he’d get in the pool and make whirlpools with me. He loves ice cream. That was his biggest thing. He’d tell you your ice cream cone would be dripping and then he’d eat half of it.”
Just before Christmas, when her Gaboardi’s dementia was taking a toll on him, causing him to stop eating, Henriques-Parker made the request on Facebook to help lift his spirits. As Christmas cards poured in by the hundreds, Gaboardi began to regain his appetite.
Now, the Valentine’s Day greetings are beginning to trickle in.
“Many of our residents and families know Jim from years past when he carried the mail for the U.S. Post Office, always socializing with them and their children, delivering mail – by hand – to those who were disabled,” said Amy Silva-Magalhaes of Maplewood at Stony Hill. “Jim is naturally kind, full of happiness, humor and polite words. We are all so fortunate to have Jim around us all each and every day.”
If you would like to send a greeting card to Gaboardi, send it to this address:
Maplewood Stony Hill
46 Stony Hill Rd., Bethel, CT 06801