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Birthday cards to be collected for WWII veteran who will turn 97

Organizations like Hope Rises and WNY Heroes are partnering to help make the season bright for local veterans.

CLARENCE, N.Y. — On Saturday, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and even Cindy Lou Who visited six local veteran families heading into the holiday. 

World War II veteran Ed Clancey of Clarence told 2 that On Your Side he was "very surprised."

His daughter, Darlene Clancey, added, "It was wonderful because it brought a huge smile to him for days." 

The celebration came together through organizations like WNY Heroes and Hope Rises.

Moore for Kids and the OSC Foundation also sponsored the event.

"Hope Rises really wanted to partner with WNY Heroes and we did hear of Ed Clancey and his story," said Kate Glaser, the founder of Hope Rises.

She added, "My own grandfather fought in Pearl Harbor, and I know how important it is to thank our veterans, young and old, for all the sacrifices they have made." 

While Ed lives with his daughter Darlene, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept him relatively isolated, without seeing the whole family in several months.

He described it as "very lonely." But there is a way you can help.

Ed is turning 97 on January 2 and his family, along with Hope Rises and WNY Heroes, is asking for birthday cards to lift his spirit.

"We have received cards from all over the nation. We even had one come from England, which is really cool," Glaser said. 

Darlene explained, "It will be a real special time that we have together, going through them all and reading them." 

While 2020 has certainly been tough for Ed, Darlene knows they're lucky to have each other. So she's thinking of other seniors this holiday season who might be facing their own battles too. 

"Whether it's a phone call or a knock on the door and you stand back and just say 'Hi' and 'Merry Christmas,' I think it would mean the world to them and help them through a really difficult time of being alone," Darlene said. 

She explained that a gesture, no matter how small, can send the message that even with all that's going on, people really do still care. 

Glaser said birthday letters should be sent to:

WNY Heroes, ATTN: Ed Clancey, 8205 Main Street, Suite 1, Williamsville, NY 14221