Super Senior: Bev Shaw - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Bev Shaw

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WINOOSKI, Vt. -

Tucked on a side street in Winooski is Papa Frank's. It's far from trendy-- nothing fancy, just a hearty plate of pasta and sauce. It's like a big dining room and Bev Shaw is the mom. She's worked here for 27 years. If you come a stranger, you don't leave a stranger.

Reporter Joe Carroll: A lot of people think you are the owner, don't they?

Bev Shaw: Yes, yes and they have for years.

You know you made it when you have a portrait on the wall. She's nicknamed Mamma Rosa.

Joe Carroll: She the real deal?

Chris Sciara/Manager: Oh yeah, what you see is what you get.

Bev grew up near St. Johnsbury. As a young woman, she came to Burlington with a friend and never left.

When Bev comes to work, she leaves her troubles at the door. Customers are king and she's known for giving them pet names. Most of her co-workers weren't even alive when Bev started.

Joe Carroll: Bev, I have to tell you, they played a trick on you.

Bev Shaw: They put something on my back?

Joe Carroll: Yes.

She's not 95, but 78, and she can take a joke.

"I was born to be a server," Bev said. "You know some people don't want to do that, want to serve, but I do."

The customers see the public side of Bev, the one that serves them, but there's a private side, a woman who takes care of a certain man.

Joe Carroll: Was there any hesitation about keeping him?

Bev Shaw: No, he had nowhere to go and I just grew to love Mark.

It was 27 years ago when Mark Chicoine, a special needs adult, had no place to go for Christmas. His case worker asked Bev to take him home for the holiday.

Joe Carroll: Was Mark a Christmas gift for you?

Bev Shaw: Ah, yes, a heavenly Christmas gift.

A day turned into Bev taking care of him full time. For years, Mark was pretty independent. But he has Alzheimer's disease and is now living in a nursing home unit in Burlington.

"Markey need more care than I'm able to give him," Bev said.

Joe Carroll: What's he mean to you?

Bev Shaw: He means the world to me; he's my precious little angel.

For Bev, Markey is no different than her two biological kids. She visits him every day.

Bev Shaw: Who do you love most in this world?

Mark Chicoine: Me!

Bev Shaw: Hey, it supposed to be me!

This will be the first Christmas the two won't celebrate at home. It will be hard.

"He's just not Markey anymore and that's just heartbreaking," Bev said.

Not a fairy tale ending, but reality. Bev, though, found a purpose in life.

"I think he gave back more than I gave him," she said.

An everlasting Christmas gift to the woman who loves to serve others.

"Everyone has a purpose in life," Bev said, "to be here, to love, to serve, to help people."

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