A standing-room only crowd of some 150 residents and staff at Covenant Shores paid tribute to retiring letter carrier Edgar Silverio last Wednesday.
A brief program of tributes, original songs and humorous anecdotes had the Fellowship Hall alternating between laughter and tears. The sentiments shared left little doubt that this much-loved mailman had positively impacted the lives of the Island’s oldest retirement community.
Bud Palmberg, longtime resident and former pastor of Evergreen Covenant Church, collaborated with his wife Donna performing a ballad that captured Edgar’s personable style. Joy Thomson, a more recent resident, wrote original lyrics to the familiar hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” celebrating her favorite mail carrier’s faithfulness in doing his job in every season of the year no matter the weather conditions.
Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, chaplain at The Shores, read a composition written for the occasion. It was entitled “A Tribute to a Man of Letters.” The poem began “You know Edgar Martinez. With Ichiro and Jay, he helped the Mariners back when our team knew how to play. You’ve heard of Edgar Bergen with those dummies on his lap. But there’s an Edgar we all love with mail stuffed in his pack.”
Silverio was assigned his most recent route (that includes Covenant Shores) twelve years ago. The veteran carrier began delivering mail on Mercer Island, however, in 1983. As a result he has known many of the residents from their previous locations on the Island before they moved to the north end campus.
“I know I promised that I would never deliver bills and third-class mail,” the slender immigrant from the Philippines said with a twinkle in his eye. “My aim was to be the purveyor of love letters and checks, but that wasn’t always the case.”
As the microphone was passed for spontaneous tributes, person after person in the crowd recalled a similar scenario. Upon moving to their new residence at The Shores, they were delighted to discover their old mailman was their new mailman. What is more, Edgar called them by name and their old street number without batting an eye.
“I guess I have an ability when it comes to remembering those kinds of things,” Silverio admitted with a smile. “Often I think of the house number where they used to live before I think of a person’s name.”
The idea for the campus-wide reception began several weeks ago when it was discovered that Silverio was going to be retiring at the end of October. A few residents went to the administration suggesting a formal farewell. When word got out, the response was a nothing short of a groundswell.
A large basket of cards and small gifts was presented to the guest of honor. One of the gifts was a season guest pass to Emerald Downs given by one of the residents who came to know Silverio’s love of horse racing. Another was an autographed book written by one of the staff.
Silverio was accompanied by his wife Beth and two of his three grown daughters as well as his two granddaughters.
“I can honestly say,” Silverio said blinking back tears of emotion, “I have learned the most important lessons in my life since I began spending time delivering mail at Covenant Shores. The people here are amazing! Although I will no longer be delivering your mail, I know I’ll be back on a regular basis.”
Tom Heywood, the Covenant Shores resident who emceed the reception, observed how remarkable it is that someone could be so unanimously appreciated just doing their job.