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12 Who Care 2008: Teresa Gilleo

7:38 PM, Jul 29, 2008   |    comments
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By Deanna Fené, First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- She's made hundreds of thousands of sandwiches over the years; not just for her family, but for local veterans.

Teresa Gilleo does it out of the goodness of her heart. Even at the age of 74, she never stops.

She's always cooking, or sewing, or working at the American Legion Auxiliary so she can buy groceries to do more cooking for veterans.

On the day we stopped by her home in Arlington, she was pulling a batch of brownies out of the oven.

She had a pot of chili cooking on the stove and a pound cake already made and ready to eat.

She was all set to make dozens of sandwiches.

She spends all day at least twice a week in the kitchen.

"I love to do it. I've been doing it for so long."

She's been preparing food for the veterans at the American Legion for more than 30-years.

She also takes her tasty treats to the V.A. Clinic and the State Hospital in Macclenny.

Her fondness of veterans began years ago.

She grew up in the Philippines; that's where she met her husband Jim, while he was serving in the military there.

They married and moved to Jacksonville in 1966.

Their kids, four boys, are all grown up but Teresa hasn't stopped.

On Wednesdays she spends the entire day making all sorts of goodies.

"I make the sandwiches and then they put in what they need."

Then, first thing Thursday morning, she takes all of her cooking to the American Legion Auxiliary off Fort Caroline Road where she works tending bar.

Many of the veterans have been coming in for decades and they always look forward to Teresa's cooking.

One long time member says, "That's why a lot of people come in here. Just for her cooking."

Another veteran adds, "Where she finds the time to do this stuff beats the heck out of me."

It's something she loves to do and the folks who get to eat her home cooking love her for doing something so special for them.

Another member says, "She does so much and nobody really thanks her enough."

And that's why Teresa Gilleo is one of 12 Who Cares.

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