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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

The Mineola School Board will hold a public hearing on the much-debated New York State veterans exemption on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willis Avenue School. It is expected the board will either approve or disapprove the tax exemption during its regular meeting at 7 p.m.

When votes go to the polls next week on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to vote on the Town of North Hempstead’s 2nd Council District seat, candidate Bonnie Parente feels her stance on the building department is what voters will remember when casting their choice. The 2nd council district post is currently held by Peter Zuckerman, a former East Hills trustee. He was appointed to the seat in January to replace Thomas Dwyer, who resigned last year.

 

“That’s the major issue I heard about when I knocked on doors,” she said. “No matter where I am, I could be at the Herricks Community Center or the Albertson Pasta Dinner and

predominately what people ask about is how to fix the building department.”


Sports

Samantha Pastore

Samantha Pastore, senior and third-year varsity player, is also co-captain of the currently undefeated (11-0) Mineola Girls Varsity Volleyball team. She is an outside hitter and is often recognized in games by starting rallies with her quick thinking and nimble feet. She earns 20 percent of the team’s points and averages four aces per match.

The Mineola Mustangs varsity football team fell to the Seaford Vikings last week 27-21, missing their chance to tie the top seeds Locust Valley and Roosevelt’s 6-1 Nassau conference IV record.

 

After tying the game in the second half and having the opportunity to capitalize on Seaford’s failed extra-point kick on their final touchdown, the Viking’s senior wide receiver/defensive back Bobby Buell knocked away a pass from Mineola senior quarterback James Gerstner to senior wide receiver Brian Smith in the end-zone with 57 seconds left


Calendar

International Night - October 30

Halloween Parade - October 31

Cultural Arts Series - November 1 


Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com