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Catching up with Pops: How he keeps his spirits up through the pandemic

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(WBNG) -- Back in February, we introduced you to 84 year old Edward Segrue.

After Segrue's wife passed away about four years ago, he needed something to help him get out of bed every morning.

Segrue started serving breakfast everyday to the Pre-K students in the class his daughter, Sharon LaMantia, teaches at Floyd Bell Elementary.

That's how he earned his nickname, "Pops."

Since the story aired, Pops has become somewhat of a local celebrity.

"I'm an usher at my church so I'm standing at the back of my church handing out the bulletins as the people come in and all I kept hearing was, 'Hey Pops! How ya doing Pops? Saw you on TV Pops!'" he said.

Also since then, schools have closed due to coronavirus concerns.

"It took his social life away. Literally. Took his social life away," said his daughter and Pre-K teacher Sharon LaMantia. "Besides me and Mrs. Hagerman who works with me, he and the secretary chatted everyday. There were a couple other people that made a point of having a little bond with him."

Pops now has a whole different routine in the morning.

"Just sitting here in my recliner, watching the news, and ESPN and then I have to take my shower and get dressed. Then I say, 'Well I gotta do laundry today, I'll do that.' Or I might say, 'I gotta run the vacuum cleaner and clean the house.' I try to stay busy," he said. "On good sunny days I try to spend as much time as I can out in the yard, to walk around or get exercise."

But Pops misses walking the halls of Floyd Bell Elementary.

"I do miss going out there and seeing their happy faces and getting my hug and 'Good morning Pops.' It starts my day off on the right step, you know," he said.

The kids feel the same and are trying to stay connected to Pops from afar.

"I got a thing in the mail, a letter in the mail, and I said, 'What the- who's this?' And I opened it up and Henry drew a picture of an Easter bunny and sent it to me," said Pops. "It makes me feel good that I'm making some kind of impression on them that they would go to that extent."

So for now while we're all stuck at home, Pops is just looking forward to the future.

"For his heart health, both emotional heart and physical heart, he needs to get back into that routine and have that purpose. He needs people," said LaMantia.

Hoping to get back into the classroom, whenever that may be.

"Well I'll have to wait and see how I feel, how my health is. If everything is going good, I'll probably be there. It's going to take a lot to keep me from going, but I look forward to it," said Pops.

Annie Flaherty

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