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Hugs By Mail

Cooperative Hero Eva Dennison of Hart County has been bringing smiles to many faces for more than 30 years with the simple stroke of her pen on birthday cards.

Her late father, Oliver Bunnell, owned a feed mill and the John Deere dealership on U.S. 31E between Uno and Hardyville. Eva, as a youngster, got to know most of the families in the community and began sending humorous birthday cards to special customers.

The feed mill is long gone, but Eva’s “birthday book” contains hundreds of names and birthdays of people to whom she still sends cards all over Hart County and beyond. She is well into the third generation of some families.

“I would say probably as many as 400 birthday cards a year, not counting get-well cards, sympathy cards, and thinking-of-you cards,” says Dennison, who is a member of Farmers RECC, along with her husband, Gary. (She notes that her grandmother’s house was one of the first to get power from that co-op.)

Though most who receive cards from Dennison are not close personal friends, and some don’t even know her, a number who lived alone or in nursing homes, or whose families were gone, have told her that she was the only one who remembered their birthday.

“In the course of life, we find just a few people who go that extra step to do that small thing that can make a difference in the lives of people around them,” says Carlisle Logsdon, who nominated Dennison as a Cooperative Hero. “Eva is a source of cheer and encouragement to a large host of people…and she is one of the happiest people I’ve ever seen.”

Dennison is a farm wife and works as a driver’s license deputy clerk in the office of Hart Circuit Clerk. She pays for all the greeting cards and postage herself and has never calculated the yearly expense.

Her reward is an occasional hug.

“I’m a huggy person,” she says. “I like to hug people and I like to be hugged, and sometimes when somebody gives you a hug at the grocery store and says, ‘Thank you for remembering me,’ it just gives you a good feeling.”

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