Aging Unbound: Larry Giordano
February 22, 2024

What do you get when you take a foster kid from Everett, put him in the Air Force, and send him to Germany where he develops a passion for the martial arts?

You get Larry Giordano, a person filled with discipline, respect, and a strong sense of civic duty. His contributions span decades of community service and have transformed the lives of thousands of kids in the Merrimack Valley.

Larry Giordano

In 1968, Giordano laid the groundwork for the Methuen Karate Association, where he remains an active instructor at 79. In 2005, he, his wife, Eileen, and a group of fellow community members started Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley, an organization he leads as president.

“We don’t think about it that much, to be honest,” Giordano said when asked about the impact he and his wife have had on the community. “We think this is what God wants us to do. We think this is our calling.”

Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of older Americans. Its theme of Aging Unbound continues to offer an opportunity to explore a wide range of aging experiences and celebrate the joy of independence and fulfillment as we age. 

Giordano has certainly done so through his work with foster kids and the karate school.

Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley is dedicated to creating a positive influence in the lives of foster children and supporting their development through a strong partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families. The organization provides children with backpacks and duffle bags filled with clothing and personal necessities, aiming to ease the children’s transitions between foster homes. As part of the Santa’s Helpers program, the program also guarantees that foster children aged up to 12 receive toys at the holidays. 

“When I turned 60, I said to my wife there’s something we have to do to help foster kids,” Giordano said. “We got about 10 people around my kitchen table, and we started Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley.”

Giordano was left in a hotel room when he was five days old and was raised by his foster mother, Helene Giordano, for 17 years. After four years in the Air Force, he returned to Everett and changed his name to Giordano.

His foster care organization annually awards two $2,500 scholarships in the name of Giordano’s foster mother to graduating seniors from the Merrimack Valley. It has been a life of civic duty for Giordano. He was a Methuen police officer, and his public service resume also includes stints as a Methuen City Councilor, State Representative, Public Safety Commissioner for Massachusetts, a Kiwanis International, and St. Alfio Society member, Sons of Italy Methuen Lodge 902, and volunteer work at St. Lucy Church.

Through karate, Giordano hopes to instill a sense of discipline and respect in his students. His career as an instructor goes beyond the Merrimack Valley. It includes stints as coach of a national team at tournaments in Japan and China.

“Karate has been a way of life for me,” Giordano said. “If it wasn’t for the military and karate I could’ve been in jail, who knows? You learn to take care of yourself.”

Giordano battled some health issues since the pandemic but has bounced back with renewed vigor. He’s back on the mat teaching his karate students, working closely with his team at Foster Kids.

“I want to do this as long as I can. I’m not going anyplace,” Giordano said. “As long as God will let me do it.”

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