Hospice honors volunteers and supporters

Photos by Tom Rivers: Beverly Saskowski was one of many volunteers for Hospice of Orleans recognized during the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday at the QWL Building in Albion. In addition to serving on the board of directors, Saskowski makes many home visits for Hospice patients and often will bake with them, making some of their favorite recipes.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 April 2019 at 5:23 pm

Gil Cain is congratulated by his niece Sonya Flynn of Ridgeway after he was named Hospice’s “Volunteer of the Year” for 2018.

ALBION – Hospice of Orleans recognized the many volunteers and supporters who are critical to the organization during Hospice’s annual meeting Thursday, which was at the QWL Building in Albion.

Hospice counted 165 volunteers who contributed 7,013 hours of service in 2018. They served as direct care volunteers (1,534 hours), in the office, garden and with maintenance (1,249 hours), at the Martin-Linsin residence (3,560 hours), at special events (434 hours) and on the board of directors (236 hours).

Volunteer of the Year

Gil Cain was named volunteer of the year. He set a new record for Hospice by volunteering 540 hours last year.

“Gil exemplifies selflessness, generosity and dedication in his hospice work,” said Christine Fancher, volunteer coordinator. “Gil can be seen in the residence serving meals several shifts each week. Gil gives freely of his own time and energy.”

Cain will frequently serve lunch at the Martin-Linsin residence, and come back and help serve dinner.

“Gil brings our patients their favorite lemon pies and donuts, and he takes time to learn each patient’s favorite food,” Fancher said. “Gil generously donates special holiday meals to the residence and serves meals on holidays.”

Business/Civic Award

Stacey Knights Pellicano, right, and Mary Zelazny accept the award on behalf of the Knights-Kaderli Memorial Fund.

Hospice presented its Business/Civic Award to the Knights-Kaderli Memorial Fund. That fund, named in honor of the late Richard Knights and Sue Kaderli, gives out about $50,000 annually assisting Orleans County cancer patients and their families with medical bills, equipment and other expenses.

The two families merged the fund in 1994. An annual golf tournament, wine-tasting, 5K run/walk and other fund-raisers support Knights-Kaderli. The fund is able to respond quickly to help local families, often relieving cancer patients and their families of deep anxiety with utility bills and other expenses.

“The Knights-Kaderli Fund has supported Hospice patients on numerous times,” said Kellie Spychalski, Hospice executive director. “They are always gracious and immediately responsive. We are so blessed to have them here.”

Stacey Knights Pellicano, daughter of the late Richard Knights, and Mary Zelazny, daughter of the late Sue Kaderli, accepted the award on behalf of Knghts-Kaderli. Pellicano said the community steps up and supports the fund-raisers for the fund, which then assist people fighting cancer.

“We belong to an amazing community,” Pellicano said.

Mary Janet Sahukar Award

Kellie Spychalski congratulates Terry Cook for his award.

Hospice also recognized Terry Cook with the Mary Janet Sahukar Award, named for Hospice’s founding director.

Cook, of Albion is known in the community for his locksmith business. He laso has been an active volunteer for Hospice for more than 5 years.

“At Hospice, we know Terry by his relentless willingness to help, and likely one of the most unassuming and humble natures I have ever known,” said Brittany Dix, Hospice director of development.

Cook will often go to a family’s home that recently lost a loved one. He goes to pick up medical equipment used by a Hospice patient.

“If you’ve ever had a conversation with him, you know that he is a person that handles this scenario with the utmost care and respect,” Dix said. “Family members often comment that they know Terry from the community and report that they feel comforted and reassured when he comes to their homes. It is a good feeling to be confident that when Terry leaves, the families are left with yet another face of Hospice that brought a little bit of peace and tenderness in a most difficult time.”

The award winners also received citations from State Sen. Robert Ortt, Assembly members Steve Hawley and Michael Norris, and Congressman Chris Collins.

About 100 people attended the annual meeting at the QWL Building in Albion.

The organization last year served 115 patients. Spychalski, Hospice executive director, said the agency will be stepping up its marketing and outreach efforts this year because she said many people who are eligible for Hospice services may not be aware of the program.

Hospice provides care that is funded through Medicare if someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, with six months or less to live. Hospice patients receive care in their house, at a nursing home or at the Martin-Linsin Residence in Albion, behind the Hospice administrative offices on Route 31.

However, Hospice has expanded its mission to work to serve people with chronic illnesses that aren’t terminal. That includes people suffering from symptoms and stress from serious illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, COPD, kidney disease, dementia and other conditions.

John Kenney, the former Holley mayor, was recognized for 12 years of service on the board from Kellie Spychalski.

The organization operates on an annual budget of $1.4 million and has 40 employees. The volunteer hours represent a contribution of $122,895.

The board of directors will have a new leader with the retirement of Craig Lape. Maura Pierce of Medina is the new board chairwoman.

Other board officers include Doug Miller, vice chairman; Beverly Saskowski, treasurer; Annette Pearl, secretary; and Ada Grabowski, assistant secretary.

Congressman Chris Collins chats with Hope Stirk and others who attended the annual meeting.

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