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Celebrating 100 years…with a few friends

Josephine Rovaldi woke up Wednesday, Oct. 18 with a lot to look forward to. Today was the day she would graduate from the Passport Rehabilitation program at Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford – and, adding icing to the cake, she would also celebrate her 100th birthday.

But what’s a celebration without a few close friends?

Enter the West Hartford Police Department. A group of West Hartford’s finest – Officers Tom Lazure, David Strzaka, Jim Mahon and Leigh Cogle – surprised Josephine by showing up on Hebrew Center’s doorstep, arms filled with a bouquet, balloons, cupcakes and lots of love and hugs for the woman who has lived on the street across the street from the West Hartford Police Department for more than 60 years (even before the department moved in). The officers have known Josephine since they each started on the police force.

“[Josephine] has been there since before the police department was. She always made a point to come out, pick up any litter off the sidewalk, say hello and would even came into the front lobby to say hello. She always wanted to develop relationships,” said Lazure, who has been on the force for 15 years.

Added Cogle, “[Josephine] is a very special lady and she has made it her business to know us. As a new officer 19 years ago, I remember her visiting us and striking up a conversation and it amazes me that on nice days, as recent as this year, we’d still see her outside enjoying the sun and keeping our lot clean! All the West Hartford police officers contributed to Josephine’s gifts today. Detectives and supervisors, too. Her 100th birthday was discussed as part of our roll call this morning.”

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