This articel was taken from the newspaper Caloosa Belle, Volume 82 Number 40, Wednesday, October 13, 2004. The newspaper serves LaBelle, FL.
'Angel Man' offers Labelle smiles for free
By Donna Meister
Ted Govola, affectionally known about town as the 'Angel Man' just turned 78 years old. For over a year now he has been on a mission to spread a smile and a little cheer. He has been handing out smiley face angel pins to anyone he feels might need a little lift that particular day. The little gold pins are high quality, 18 kt. gold finish with diamond sparkled wings, and a yellow smiley face.
And a smile it brings. Looking at the gentle man with the big heart you can't help but smile. He wants nothing in return but a smile even though he gets all kind of reactions. Most people are thrilled to receive a gift with no strings attached. Of course some have been skeptical-mostly a few silly husbands. Many employees around LaBelle have been blessed with the "smiley angel." Restaurant, grocery store, dollar stores and convenience store employees, county workers, nursing homes, the Moose Lodge, VFW and American Legion, to name a few of the many. He remembers with a tear in his eye, the hugs and a kiss of thanks he received from one surprised lady. Only one person in the over 1,000 he has given away refused his kind gift. She said, "She wasn't into that stuff."
In 1974 he retired from a factory job of 30 years when he was only 46. After retirement, he earned his pilot's license and took on a second career of flying sporting people to ski, fishing and hunting trips, and what have you. Some of the places he has flown to are Canada, the Keys, the Bahamas, Maine and the snow country.
He and his wife also operated a seafood specialty restaurant in Pennsylvania. He would fly to the Outer Banks in North Carolina and pick up hundreds of pounds of shrimp for the restaurant.
Generous man that he is, he enjoyed watching people have fun while fishing or vacationing when he delivered them to their destination. At his restaurant he enjoyed watching people have fun dancing the polka. He just has a gift of spreading joy. At this time, he and his wife both work for the Neilson Media Company (Neilson TV ratings) in Nokomis. They both work six weeks on and six weeks off, spending their free time at their Meadowlark campsite in Ortona on the off times.
When asked what his wife thinks of his generosity the "Angel man" said, "She thinks I'm spending too much money," adding, "It's just something I have to do." lie loves spreading smiles - one person at a time. One ladv called it his "ministry" Maybe it will work like "Pay I Forward," doing a favor or some thing nice for someone and tha someone pays back the favor to stranger, and on and on.
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