County has a long history of caring for poor and infirmed

Posted 25 July 2013 at 12:00 am

To the Editor:

Being a student of history, I couldn’t help noticing references to our early and honorable treatment of the poor and infirmed in Orleans County. This dates back to the late 1820’s when the County was in its formative stages.

In 1829-1830 a series of resolutions (county laws) were passed by the Board of Supervisors declaring “The distinction between the town and county poor is hereby abolished, and the expense of maintaining all the poor shall be a County charge” (Isaac Signor, Landmarks of Orleans County, p. 185).

I wonder if this resolution is currently in force. Others with more expertise than I will have to answer that. But let’s examine the implications of this historical fact. I believe it conveys the pioneer spirit of “I am my brothers’ keeper” and “what effects one, will effect us all.”

There is also compassion in the resolution and a willingness and a sense of duty to care for those sick and less fortunate. For the past 183 years it has served us well. But recently, as a society, we seem to be at the threshold of saying “You are on your own; don’t bother me with your petty needs of food, medicine and shelter; it is your fault if you have unmet needs; saving a few dollars is more important than the quality of your later years of life.”

I am concerned that in our rush to privatize public agencies we are losing the very thing that makes Orleans County unique. That uniqueness is in how we treat our fellow human beings in the eye blink of time we have here on this earth.

Al Capurso