Domestic violence shelter honors dedicated supporter

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:00 am

The late Susan Reynolds dropped off quilts, pillow cases and gas money for shelter residents

Photos by Tom Rivers – A reading room at a domestic violence shelter in Orleans County has been dedicated to Susan Reynolds, a volunteer and supporter of the shelter and its residents. Reynolds died on Oct. 27.

At least once a month for two years, Susan Reynolds arrived with gifts – gas money, toiletries, quilts, pillow cases and hand-stitched bags.

Reynolds, a retired school counselor from Hilton, had a heart for the residents at a domestic violence shelter in Orleans County. She was active in two quilting guilds and she convinced the members to donate gifts to the shelter in Orleans. (The Hub isn’t disclosing the location.)

“No one was as dedicated as Sue,” said Margie Aldaco, the shelter’s administrator.

Reynolds died on Oct. 23. Last Saturday Aldaco and PathStone dedicated the reading room in the shelter in memory of Reynolds.

“What a loss,” Aldaco said about Reynolds. “We’re so sad. She never wanted recognition for anything. She wouldn’t even take a tax receipt. I just felt an overwhelming need to recognize her.”

Reynolds considered volunteering and giving to shelters in Monroe County. But the Brockport resident turned to Orleans County.

“She felt the larger cities have more resources and get more help,” Aldaco said.

Margie Aldaco, administrator of the safe dwelling in Orleans County, stands by a room dedicated in memory of Susan Reynolds.

Aldaco has worked there for 10 years. When she started there were three employees at the site. Now it’s just Aldaco. PathStone has been forced to cut back due to budget constraints.

The shelter has three apartment units for families to stay up to 90 days until longer-term housing can be secured. The safe dwelling provides privacy, court advocacy, Internet computer access, a support group, transportation and other services.

Aldaco works with battle-scarred residents, connecting them to support in the community. Many of the residents in the shelter have suffered physical, emotional and mental abuse.

“Sometimes they are more broken from the verbal abuse than the physical after so many years of being told you’re worthless,” Aldaco said.

Aldaco secured a new grant that pays for pet care. Often women and families in abusive situations will not leave because they worry about their pets. PathStone has a grant that will pay for pet boarding at the Olde Dogge Inn.

Aldaco welcomes “serious, committed volunteers” for the safe dwelling. For more information, contact her at 589-8733 or 1-866-314-SAFE.