In only two weeks, Genine Iadevaio was able to collect more than 100 Valentine’s Day cards for an Air Force troop in Afghanistan in memory of her father, Gerald “Jerry” Chiano.
Jerry served in the Navy Construction Battalion in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. While serving, he often swam and bathed in the rivers, which may have contained water-borne parasites that can cause bile duct cancer. He died in 2017, after battling bile duct cancer for more than three years.
His struggle led Genine to become the military care coordinator for Valley Stream-based SARA Companion HomeCare Services. “Because of my loved one, I am dedicated to bringing peace of mind and assistance to others who are in the same situation my family was in,” she said in a statement.
In her position, Genine provides home care for veterans, coordinates a team for the annual Alzheimer’s Walk and is considering holding a clothing drive.
For the Valentine’s Day drive, she traveled as far as Stony Brook to get veterans at the Long Island State Veterans Home to make cards for the Air Force troop. She also worked with representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1790, Lynbrook Restorative Therapy & Nursing, the Village of Valley Stream, Sen. Todd Kaminsky’s office, Maria Regina Elementary School in Seaford and the Garden City Senior Center to make cards and donate supplies. Additionally, Nassau County Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby enlisted the help of students in her district — which runs from Hempstead through Lynbrook — to help out with the effort.
While the cards and supplies were being packed up on Feb. 7, Genine and other Valley Streamers reminisced about her father. Mayor Ed Fare said that Jerry would have been embarrassed, but Genine said he would have loved it. “This is all for him,” she said.