Patrick Tropea may be 99 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from working hard to turn handmade beaded poodles into cash to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“A long time back my granddaughter had a string of beads and she cut them up and made poodles out of them,” Mr. Tropea said. “I thought it was fantastic and made one myself and never thought any more about it. A few years later I picked it up and made poodles and gave them out to everybody for nothing. So, I thought, why not try to make some money for St. Jude hospital for the children with cancer. I got poodles all over the place.”
His brand-new venture has already resulted in a friend donating $100 to the cause. He picked up some of the beads he used from a recent Mardi Gras parade he attended. He gets others from dollar stores and some strings of beads are donated from friends and family. The poodles come in many different colors and although all are tiny, including “baby poodles,” some can be made bigger than others. They sell for f50 cents each or three for $1.
“I don’t want a penny. Every penny I could earn, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, it goes to them,” he said. “I saw on television this little kid suffering with cancer, wondering if they have a chance. The little kids cry for their parents and they are away (from home) and all that, that’s what got me. I feel great, I feel super, knowing that the money is going to go to the kids of St. Jude’s. If I can help the kids get a cure, that’s all I want. I’m glad I thought of this idea. I love making them. The more poodles I make, the more money is made for St. Jude.”
Pauline Poplawski, who lives in South Daytona, is a close friend of Mr. Tropea. She said what he is doing “is great. I love what he is doing.”
The World War II veteran, who retired as a U.S. Army corporal, lives in Daytona Beach Shores. Besides his military service, he is known throughout East Volusia County for his love of karaoke singing, which he participates in several nights a week.
Ms. Poplawski, a singer in her own right, usually accompanies him. Mr. Tropea is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fraternal Order of Eagles, American Legion, Catholic War Veterans and Sons of Italy.
To order some poodles, call Mr. Tropea at (386) 334-2065. You can also call him if you want to donate beads. He also accepts checks made out to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his honor.