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Sam's Club greeter gathers pins to add zest to vest

She does not know the weight of the pin collection that lightens her spirit.

But the decorative pins on Dinah Filippone's vest have become so heavy that co-workers suggest she display the garment and don a new one.

The pins "are gifts of love from all my members," said Filippone, a greeter a Sam's Club. "I love my members."

Filippone, 78, greets those who enter the door and checks the sales slips of those who leave Sam's Club at Southridge Centre. During her nearly 10 years as a door greeter, she has become acquainted with many regular customers who stop to chat or give her hugs. About three years ago some began to give her pins to decorate the vest she wears at work.

"It started with three angels," said Filippone, whose collection has grown to about 300. "My members have brought me different kinds. They are all favorites. The members are so good to me."

She accepts all pins. The only requirement is the person who gives one to her must attach it to the vest. The front is covered but some space remains on the back of the vest.

"If you bring in a pin, you have to pin it on me," she said. "Then I give you a hug."

The variety is amazing. She has angels, shoes, pink ribbons, postage stamps, West Virginia state seals, a gingerbread man, butterflies, an anchor, Hard Rock Cafe, fish, guitar and numerous others.

"It all started with three little angels," she said. "The next thing I knew I was getting, not only angels, but as you can see everything. If they didn't love me they wouldn't give them to me."

Her regulars like to chat and joke with Filippone, whose nickname is Smiley.

Filippone makes sure everyone who enters gets a smile because one never knows what another person may be facing.

Aside from her job, she enjoys attending church, working in the flowers at her St. Albans home, and visiting her daughter and grandchildren in North Carolina.

While other greeters also get pins from Sam's Club members, there is no doubt that Filippone has the largest collection. Her vest has become so heavy that there has been talk of hanging up the current one for display and starting a new one to serve as a backdrop for incoming pins.

Door greeter Pat Westfall, 64, of Poca, has a nice collection of pins on her vest. She has worked there for 15 years and began receiving pins from members about two years ago.

"Sometimes they bring me three or four at a time," she said. "I like the crosses and angels. One lady liked one of my angel pins so much that I gave it to her. I like the people. We tell jokes and laugh. It makes me happy."

Westfall enjoys attending church, making crafts, and spending time with family including two daughters and four grandchildren.

And she loves going to work.

"I do like it here," she said as she happily greeted those who entered the door at Sam's Club. "People know me by name."

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlotte@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.


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