By Maddy PUMILIA
There are certain birthdays that are milestones in people’s lives: 16 (being able to drive), 18 (being able to vote, join the military or buy lottery tickets) and 21 (being able to gamble in Vegas or being able to drink). But there’s one birthday most still strive for: turning 100 years old.
Dr. August Giraldi achieved that milestone, recently celebrating his 100th birthday at Verdugo Hills Hospital. Born on July 18, 1911, Giraldi was celebrated by family members, hospital administrators and Family Care staff members who were invited for cake.
The room was decorated with Giraldi’s wood carvings, a hobby of the doctor’s. He has won many awards for his carvings, gaining numerous blue ribbons for first and second place. Now, he also enjoys reading papers and playing blackjack.
“He’s a treasure,” said Charles Mason, chairman of the board of the hospital. “If you meet him, he’s as sharp as a tack.”
Giraldi and his wife Anne are longtime supporters of the hospital (Anne died in September 2010). He has donated a computer on wheels (which keeps medical records) and a Barton medical transport chair to the facility.
“What’s great about this chair is it’s for patients who are immobile,” said Judy McCurdy, Vice President Patient Care Service Administration. She said that there was a patient who had been in the hospital for a half a year who thought she would never walk again. The Barton medical transport chair retaught the patient how to stand up, leading eventually to her being discharged. McCurdy recalled how the patient said that the chair “gave me my life back.”
“I did a lot of charity,” Giraldi said of his donations. “Red Cross … school for blind people … people that need it.”
Giraldi was a dentist who, over his 50-year career, practiced in Chicago, the San Fernando Valley and North Hollywood. He joined the Delta Sigma Delta Dental Fraternity in 1939. The fraternity is publishing his picture and biography, which will have 29,000 copies distributed all over the world.
“I cannot believe I reached 100 years of age,” Giraldi said. He said his mind didn’t feel it, but his body ached.