When local veteran asks for Christmas cards, he can’t believe what happens

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — It may sound silly in this E-card era but there’s nothing like writing down how much you care.

A Christmas card was the only present retired Army veteran Gene Viscione wanted; now, thanks to his friends at the YMCA in Cuyahoga Falls he got more cards than he ever imagined.

“Holy smokes — some of those came in the mail,” said Gene. “Boy, what a day this is going to be.”

Zalinia Cole, who works at the YMCA, has become like family to Gene who stops in just about every day to work out. When Gene jokingly asked her for leftover holiday cards at the front desk to decorate his house she knew Gene deserved better. Zalinia asked for help and people quickly jumped into action.

“I was hoping to get 25 cards to send him one a day,” said Zalinia. “I would have never imagined 171 cards.”

She secretly mailed cards to Gene for weeks. He had no clue why he was suddenly receiving the boost in holiday cheer.

“It just has my name on it; I don’t know how it got here, maybe Santa Claus,” said Gene.

Tuesday, Zalinia revealed herself as his secret Santa and delivered almost 200 additional cards in person.

“Thanks for what you’ve done and thanks for thinking about me this holiday. Thank you,” said Gene.

When family is far away there’s nothing like being close to the ones who make your Christmas bright.

If you would like to help lift Gene’s spirits, mail a card to the Riverfront YMCA:

ATTN: Gene
544 Broad Blvd.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221