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Assisted Living Delaware News

Sussex County, Delaware – Elsa Clarke brags on Shelby Dolby as if he were her own grandson. He writes her letters, and she shows off his picture around Brandywine Living at Fenwick Island. But Clarke, 98, and Dolby, 24, had never met — until Brandywine staff set up a surprise meeting in July.

Clarke didn’t understand why she was missing her favorite word game that day, just because some mystery man needed to see her. Clarke never dreamed that her visitor was Dolby, complete with U.S. Coast Guard uniform and a flower bouquet.

“Isn’t he handsome?” Clarke said. “He’s precious.”

As a wintertime activity, a handful of Brandywine seniors had written letters to three service members. Dolby was the only person who replied to each letter.

In July, the Roxana native was on a brief shore leave from the USCGC Sangamon, a 165-foot cutter based on the Illinois River — his first official duty after boot camp.

So why did they continue writing to each other?

“He answered,” Clarke said simply.

That he would respond to every letter.

“It’s a lot more important — the value of a letter….

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