Delivering the Gift of Gabbers

 

Harry and Camille Novak look over a recent copy of the Gabber in their Gulfport apartment. Every Thursday, Harry volunteers to deliver about 100 copies of the paper to shut-ins and others who can’t easily get it. He says it gives him an opportunity to do something for others and see his friends.

Harry and Camille Novak look over a recent copy of the Gabber in their Gulfport apartment. Every Thursday, Harry volunteers to deliver about 100 copies of the paper to shut-ins and others who can’t easily get it. He says it gives him an opportunity to do something for others and see his friends.

Harry Novak of Gulfport has what some people might consider an unusual hobby: every week he delivers 100 copies of the Gabber to shut ins, neighbors, toll booth workers, dry cleaners – in short, pretty much anyone he thinks would enjoy one.

A Chicago electrician who retired to Gulfport in 2000, Novak has been playing the role of volunteer Gabber deliveryman for about eight years. So much so, that people think he actually works for the paper, he says.

“I do it on my own; I only work for free,” he says laughing, adding that it never occurred to him to apply for a paid delivery job.

That kind of altruism comes naturally to Novak and his wife, Camille: Delivering Gabbers is basically a continuation of the various kinds of volunteer work they did while they lived in Chicago, Novak said Friday July 8 during an interview at their tidy apartment in Gulfport’s Marina District. It gives him something to do and a sense of satisfaction. In the process, he gets to see people who over the years have become his friends, he says.

Novak says he initially took over the job of distributing Gabbers in his 31-unit apartment building from another resident. He kept meeting people who liked reading the Gabber but couldn’t always get it, so he offered to bring them one too. His route expanded.

Nowadays he says he delivers around 100 Gabbers that a “real” delivery person in a truck drops off every Thursday in the lobby of his apartment building, Gulfport Shores Adult Condominium. About half of them go to building residents and neighbors within walking distance. Then he loads the rest in his car, drops about 10 off in Gulfport to “little old ladies or people who can’t get out” and heads over to the Pinellas Bayway office, to a Greek restaurant – including “six for the girls, because they like to read their horoscope on Thursday” –  then to his doctor’s office and his drycleaners, among others. It takes him about three hours to deliver all his papers. The last two copies Novak saves for friends he sees at church on Sunday.

Gabber publisher Ken Reichart says he was charmed to hear about Novak’s altruism.

“We deliver thousands of papers to over 350 locations each week, but we still can’t be everywhere. It’s incredibly kind of Harry to give his time like this.”

Once when Novak was sick, Camille delivered some of the papers for him.

“I told her, ‘I want you to learn this route, so when I go, you can do it,’” Novak said.

Once when Novak was sick, Camille delivered some of the papers for him.

“I told her, ‘I want you to learn this route, so when I go, you can do it,’” Novak said.

 

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