LIMA — Judy Folden never really had a green thumb.
Of course, her valentine for over 40 years knew that.
So, her husband Carol Folden — also her first and last valentine — made sure to give her artificial roses every year.
The couple met while working at Frisch’s Big Boy in Dayton. He was a cook, and she was a waitress. It wasn’t long until they married. Judy was 20, and he was 25. They had two daughters together.
Unfortunately, the couple didn’t know that Feb. 14, 2013, would be their last Valentine’s Day together when Carol died in January last year.
But that won’t mean Judy will go without a valentine this year. She has the chance to witness a new love story blossom as her youngest daughter, Melissa, plans her wedding for May 2016. She’ll also be visiting for the holiday.
“I’m counting down the days,” Folden said.
As a resident at The Orchard of Lima Living and Rehabilitation Center, Folden — with almost 500 other seniors in assisted living — will be receiving hand-made Valentines from Lima Memorial Health System volunteers. It’s the second year the hospital’s association engagement team has sponsored the outreach program, visiting four or five different senior centers on Friday.
“It brings the community together,” said Steve Mercile, the lead administrator on site. “Seniors here in Lima are an important part of the community.”
Resident Bruce Robey was one of the many seniors to receive a valentine on Friday. This year, he said his valentine is is Aunt Nancy, who was planning a visit. He’ll also go to the center’s party, which will include karaoke, where he plans to sing.
His first valentine, however, was his late mother Beth Kelly.
Volunteers Char Curry, Lima Memorial’s manager of sterile processing and Sarah Sarka, the hospital’s wellness coordinator, have participated both years, along with their staff. They were one of five hospital representatives handing out valentines to seniors at the rehabilitation center, which currently has 74 residents.
“It’s a good way to get involved and give back to the community,” Curry said. “Its amazing how something so small can mean so much.”