Port Orange woman gets fish, family for Christmas
By Chris Graham
Milta Butts, middle, finds out she is receiving
four sponsored meals at her favorite diner,
Rossi’s, from Zachary Young, left, of the
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Milta’s daughter, Terry, is also pictured.
SOUTH DAYTONA — When 92-year-old Milta Butts was asked what she wanted for Christmas, she could think only of fish and family. For the better part of a decade, the Port Orange woman and her daughter, Terry, have been going about once a week to family-owned Rossi’s Diner to share a fish platter.
“We’re really devoted to Rossi’s,” Terry said.
“I love the fish,” Milta added.
Friday was supposed to be one of those days the pair shared together, but some secret Santas had made other plans.
“I really fell for it,” Milta said through tears.
Partnering together, the Council on Aging and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office were able to make Milta’s Christmas wish come true, surprising her with four meals sponsored by the restaurant.
The Council on Aging holds an annual gift drive for elderly who are helped through the program, but the organization doesn’t usually give out gift cards, said Priscilla Chanfrau, the council’s Living Gifts Foundation director.
“It was such a touching story,” Chanfrau said, the organization put the word out about Milta’s Christmas wish.
Zachary Young, 30, who was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in September, heard about the request and wanted to help, though he didn’t have enough money. So he went to the owners and asked about sponsoring a meal. Co-owner Bernadette Rossi said she couldn’t resist helping out a longtime patron.
“It’s an honor that such a sweet, elderly woman would ask for your diner specifically,” she said.
“How could we say no? It’s great just to be a part of it.”
In addition to getting four free meals, Milta and Terry received a small Christmas tree and other goodies.
Milta could hardly stop crying.
“Those are happy tears,” she said. “I’m grateful. I’ve got real family,” she said, pointing to her daughter, then gesturing to the restaurant’s dining room, “and family here.”
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151