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Healing Hearts At St. Francis Hospital

Dressed to the nines, sporting a tuxedo, 90-year-old Al Toma of Albertson and his date, Rose Repke, 93, of East Williston looking glamorous in her ivory silk blouse and red taffeta skirt, were ready to ring in the New Year the way they have for the past 10 years — at St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center in Roslyn. Volunteers at the hospital, they decided a decade ago that rather than go out for New Year’s Eve, they’d bring some happiness to those who are stuck in the hospital during the holidays instead.

 

Wheeling a cart with punch and cookies, hats, and streamers, they make their rounds for three hours every New Year’s Eve starting at 6 and ending at 9 p.m. According to Repke, who first came up with the idea, “Coming here New Year’s Eve is magical. The patients just love it and we love doing it.” Toma added, “The patients are so surprised when we walk in their rooms and ask where are we going and we tell them we are here to see you. Then they ask, where are you going afterward, Nowhere. We’re in bed by 10:30.”

 

The reactions from patients range from shock to surprise. “Some don’t want to see us because they are in too much pain and others are so glad we came by,” commented Toma. Repke recalled one patient who was depressed that he was in the hospital but turned around after meeting them. “This one man was very ill and supposedly dying. I went in and I prayed with him. I had on a skirt and all of a sudden the man called me back and said, “I’ve decided not to die because if there are legs like yours in the world I am going to stay alive. That was my best miracle that ever happened to me in the hospital.”

 

Following the couple on rounds at the hospital we visited a few patients. The first one was 72-year-old Hy Jacobson of Smithtown, who was stunned and delighted to see the couple who handed him a bright red hat and wished him a Happy New Year and dispensed some wisdom and jokes.

 

“This is a beautiful thing. It just made my day. I was in pain before and now I don’t have any, it’s gone. Amazing.”

 

John Wilson, 68, of Farmingville, smiled brightly as Rose placed a gold party hat on his head and was hoping to get out today. Rose offered to write him a note but didn’t know if it would help.

 

After joking around, the three of them said a prayer together and wished him a joyful life. Wilson had this comment, ”It’s very nice of them to come in here like this, it’s terrific and gives me encouragement that people are out there doing this for people holed up in a hospital. It’s nice.”

 

Dolores Kolmal of Baldwin, who was their next visitor, felt that this is important in the healing process. “It’s a heck of a lot better to be smiling than frowning. Can you image being their age and doing this as volunteering. I think it’s fantastic and you think about all of the good they do, just cheering people up. Being stuck in here for New Year’s isn’t much fun but I feel really good right now. They are so joyful.” Smiling brightly, Dolores picked up her streamer and blew it and laughed.

 

When asked what her children think about this Rose commented,” They think I am home on a rocking chair waiting to die.” Instead she is out rocking in the New Year in style with her best friend Al, dispensing the best kind of medicine, smiles, laughter and compassion.

News

A lawsuit brought by O’Carroll’s Recovery Room Bar and Grill owner Jeremiah O’Carroll against the Village of Mineola was settled recently. However, Mineola prevailed in its decision on a December 2013 application from O’Carroll to open a second business. He challenged the board of trustees’ denial of his request to open a health food store/shake shop next door to his business.

 

“We settled it by him accepting the original decision,” village attorney John Spellman said. “The restaurant is going to be all one [space]. The agreement said he has to have a permanent opening between the two buildings and a permanent opening between the front space and back space. It’s all the circulation of one business.”

The nine-story apartment building at 250 Old Country Road is rising on schedule, according to developers. Lake Success-based Lalezarian Developers is constructing a nine-story, 315-unit complex at the site.

 

Kevin Lalezarian estimated the project is about 20 percent complete.

 

“Our foundation is nearly complete,” Lalezarian said. “Our superstructure is proceeding. That’s the main thing happening right now.”


Sports

Mineola runners PJ Diskin, Kaitlin Phelps, and Yuri Karasz were award winners in the Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9.

The Mineola 9U Hurricanes recently completed its summer baseball season as the NJBL 9U Central Division Champions, finishing 10-2-1 on the year and secured a second place spot entering the playoffs.

The Hurricanes beat the North Shore Spartans for the fourth time this season in a playoff win in walk-off fashion as they came from behind to win 4-3 earning the Hurricanes a berth into the championship series. 


Calendar

Leisure Club Opportunity - August 20

International Night - August 21

Check Your Medications - August 22


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com