Supportive Care presents annual awards to leading volunteers, supporters

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 April 2022 at 8:30 am

Provided photos: Staff of Supportive Care of Orleans posed for a picture after announcing recipients of their three annual awards. Office for the Aging was named winner of the Business and Civic Award. From left are Tammy Graham, caregiver coordinator for the OFA; Meghan Bevins, assistant director of the OFA; and Chris Fancher, social worker and volunteer coordinator for Supportive Care.

ALBION – Supportive Care of Orleans is celebrating National Volunteer Week through April 30 by recognizing individuals who have given their time and talents to support the organization.

Three awards are traditionally given out each year – the Business and Civic Award, the Mary Janet Sahukar Award (named for the founder of Hospice) and the Volunteer of the Year Award.

This week, the Business and Civic Award was presented to Orleans County Office for the Aging for their outstanding dedication and support to Supportive Care of Orleans.

“The Office for the Aging staff are an invaluable resource to Supportive Care,” said Chris Fancher, social worker and volunteer coordinator. “The staff provides vital services, which allow seniors to remain in their homes, living life as fully and independently as possible. They are dedicated partners in caring for seniors throughout our community.”

Beverly Saskowski, left, stands with Julie Kumiega, director of Supportive Care of Orleans, after receiving the Mary Janet Sahukar Award for her outstanding dedication and commitment to Supportive Care.

Members of the Supportive Care social work team reach out to Office for the Aging staff on a weekly basis to coordinate care for their patients, Fancher said. OFA staff always respond in a prompt, friendly and professional manner, and they appreciate all their work, time and expertise, she said.

“Our goal is to embrace those facing advanced illness with optimal levels of comfort, compassion and expertise,” said Julie Kumiega, Supportive Care CEO. “Working with the Office for the Aging makes that easy.”

The Mary Janet Sahukar Award, named for the founder of Hospice, was presented to Beverly Saskowski for her outstanding dedication and commitment to Supportive Care of Orleans.

As a retired IBM executive, Saskowski currently serves on several Supportive Care committees, offering her expertise, and recently worked closely with Supportive Care staff on the technical side of things. Additionally, she serves meals in the Martin-Linsin Residence, dedicates her time to patients and their families as a family support volunteer and participates in every event held there.

“Saskowski’s contribution to Supportive Care has been immeasurable,” Fancher said. “From serving on our board of directors to stepping up and acting as interim CEO, Saskowski consistently goes above and beyond, dedicating her time and energy to ensuring our neighbors in hospice are well taken of.”

“Supportive Care of Orleans wouldn’t be where it is today without Bev’s guidance,” Kumiega said. “She has overseen and been involved in almost every aspect of the organization and is an invaluable resource to us. We are lucky to have her support.”

Chris Fancher, right, volunteer coordinator for Supportive Care of Orleans, is shown with Carol Culhane, local artist who was named Volunteer of the Year during National Volunteer Week.

Carol Culhane received the Volunteer of the Year Award for her hard work and dedication to Supportive Care of Orleans.

“Carol has been a friend of Supportive Care of Orleans,” Fancher said as she presented Culhane with her award. “Not just this year, but for many years.”

A decade ago, back in 2012, as the workers were building the Martin-Linsin Residence, Culhane was in the middle of the construction site creating and hand painting the mural depicting the seasons of life – winter, spring, summer and fall, in what is now the family meeting room. The project involved well over 200 hours of work, and she worked tirelessly as the commotion of construction surrounded her, Fancher said.

“Her kindness is a staple here at Supportive Care,” Kumiega said. “She has made a lasting impression on the entire organization. We are incredibly grateful to her continued involvement ensuring that our residence feels like a home.”

For the last 24 years, Culhane has supported Supportive Care of Orleans by donating ornaments she hand painted and personalized for members of the community as part of the annual Light-a-Life event.

“This labor of love involves hundreds of hours and she absolutely outdoes herself every year,” Fancher added.

Recently, Culhane has agreed to paint another mural in the Martin-Linsin Residence. This one will adorn the walls of the spa room, making the space inviting, inspiring and fun for patients.

“I am so honored to work with someone who’s been supporting hospice since the beginning,” Kumiega said. “Carol is an inspiring individual and we are thrilled to be partnering with her on another project.”

Supportive Care of Orleans extends their thanks to all their volunteers and is currently welcoming new volunteers in all areas of service.