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Meet ‘Pops’: The man making a difference in students’ lives

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Meet "Pops"

KIRKWOOD (WBNG) -- When students walk through the doors of Floyd Bell Elementary in the Windsor Central School District, they're sure to get a warm welcome.

84-year-old Edward Segrue is long out of school, but he holds a nickname in the Floyd Bell halls.

He's better known as Pops.

"He says hello to them, 'morning Pops,' is what you hear. 'Morning Pops!' There's a lot of hugs," said his daughter and pre-K teacher Sharon LaMantia.

A familiar face by now, Pops starts his mornings at the school essentially everyday.

His story started when he needed the kids the most, after his wife passed about four years ago.

"Well we were married 56 years. When you lose 'em, my children are all grown up, you come home to that big house all the time. It's tough," said Pops.

His daughter, a teacher at Floyd Bell, suggested he come in and help serve her students breakfast to help him get out of the house and pass some time.

And four years later, he has only missed a handful of days.

"I just fell in love with the job. Well it's not a job. The kids, they're super kids. I enjoy being around them," said Pops. "They're little magnets. You enjoy coming down and seeing them. Even the kids I've had two, three, four years ago. They come up this hall in the morning and say 'hi Pops!' They come over and give you a hug, it makes you feel good."

"He needed something to get up for everyday and I think I found it," said LaMantia.

Pops follows a routine, bringing food down to the class first thing in the morning.

"He sets the breakfast up and he wakes up and he puts the breakfast on the table," said student and Pops' great granddaughter Lena.

But his mornings are filled with a lot more than eating, creating a relationship with every student who takes a seat.

"It means a lot to me. He makes me proud," said LaMantia

Pops doesn't plan on stopping his daily visits anytime soon.

"I hope not. As long as I got my health, and I'm able to get around, I'll be here," he said.

Good thing, because year after year and class after class, he teaches things that may not be in the lesson plan, like love.

"The kind of love that comes from them is different than the kind of love that comes from a parent, or a teacher, or even a guardian, aunt or uncle," said LaMantia.

And he sure has shown that when it comes to his friendships with students, age is just a number.

Annie Flaherty

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