Mercy Care honors Volunteer of the Year and others

Mercy Care friendship volunteer Darlene Donnelly, left, of Tupper Lake, holds a birthday party for an elder friend this summer. (Provided photo — Mercy Care for the Adirondacks)

LAKE PLACID — On Thursday, Sept. 10, Jerry Hayes, Mercy Care’s board president, welcomed Mercy Care friendship volunteers and volunteer parish nurses to its annual “Friendship Picnic” via Zoom.

On behalf of Mercy Care’s Board of Directors, Hayes said, “Mercy Care’s Friendship Picnic is held each year to celebrate older adults in our community and to honor and recognize the extraordinary gifts of friendship, kindness and assistance given to their elder neighbors by Mercy Care volunteers. The board is most grateful to our volunteers for making Mercy Care’s mission possible.

“A virtual picnic is no comparison to the joy of greeting friends, elder neighbors and volunteer colleagues on the shores of Lower Saranac Lake, where Mercy Care traditionally holds its Friendship Picnic.”

According to Mercy Care, this is best illustrated in a recent statement by the Sisters of Mercy: “For Sisters of Mercy, who take a vow of service, the order to stay at home hit especially hard. Unused to being asked to sideline themselves as the cries of our suffering world grew louder, those who could continue their ministries did so — albeit sometimes in creative new ways — and those who could not personified the ministry of presence, also in creative new ways.”

The recognition and acknowledgement of the commitment and gifts of mercy were celebrated through a video developed by Hannah Pelletieri, Mercy Care’s program associate, and by special recognition awards presented by Mackenzie Boushie, Mercy Care’s program director, and Terry Lewis, Mercy Care’s care manager.

Kathy Daggett, a Mercy Care parish nurse, was recognized with the Mercy Care Volunteer of the Year Award. The Volunteer of the Year receives the Catherine McAuley medallion, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. The recipient of this award exemplifies what McAuley did when she reached out to share her courage and love with those in need. “Kathy shares her generous spirit as she carries out her Mercy Care errands of mercy with her elder neighbors,” Mercy Care said in a press release. “Kathy gives of her time and compassionate care generously to elders newly referred to Mercy Care and to elders in need of a parish nurse’s care.”

Penny McGill, a Mercy Care parish nurse, received the Appreciation Award. She gave the most volunteer time over the past year, spending more than 160 hours and driving 1,000 miles helping elders in the community cope with illness and other needs.

Margie Gallagher, a Mercy Care friendship volunteer, was presented with the Most Resourceful Award. “Being a volunteer during a pandemic requires ingenuity and creativity,” Mercy Care said. “Margie faithfully checked in with her elder friend by telephone on a weekly basis, baked cookies for her, made homemade cards and took pictures of her dogs to share with her elder.

Ted Volz, a Mercy Care friendship volunteer, received the Compassionate Comrade Award. “This award honored Ted for his continual compassion and caring, even though he was not able to provide transportation assistance to his elder friend during the initial phases of COVID-19 in compliance with public health guidelines,” Mercy Care said. “He checked in with Mercy Care staff to inquire about how his friend was getting to her medical appointments she needed to treat a serious illness. Mercy Care coordinated with the Essex County Office for the Aging, which responded immediately, to ensure that she received the medical transportation she needed.”

Darlene Donnelly, a new Mercy Care friendship volunteer, was presented with the Novice Award. “Darlene exemplified Catherine McAuley’s spirit as she reached out to share her courage and love with those in need,” Mercy Care said. “She organized a birthday party outside on her elder friend’s lawn, delivered Donnelly’s ice cream to her and brought her a piece of cake.”

Some of Mercy Care’s volunteers have contributed more than 100 hours this past year to respond to the needs of their elder neighbors, including Alanna Fox, Martha Holmes, Sister Denise Wilke, Lou Scavo and Sue Scavo.

Ten-year service pins were awarded to Dick Jarvis, Penny McGill, Judy Grimard, Shannon Stratton, Mary Merrill, Kelly Barker-Bujold and Bernie Clarke.

Five-year service pins were awarded to Peggy Jones, Marcia Doty and Jim Moscatello.

Mercy Care continues to carry out its mission and programs to enhance the fullness of life of elders living in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic health crisis, although using different strategies guided by public health recommendations.

Mercy Care invites people of all faiths to become Mercy Care friendship volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a Mercy Care friendship volunteer or volunteer parish nurse, contact Care Manager Terry Lewis at tlewis@adkmercy.org or 518-523-5585.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Its mission is to enhance in every dimension the fullness of life of elders living in their community. It carries out its work through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Parish Nurse Program, a Caregiver Friend Program, a Community Empowerment Program, and an Education and Advocacy Program.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is governed by a local board of directors and relies solely on grants and charitable gifts from individuals and foundations for its support. Board members include Jeremiah M. Hayes, president; Sister M. Camillus O’Keefe, RSM, vice president; David Aldrich; Ann Cantwell; Art Devlin; Melissa Eisinger; Jack McGill, D.D.S.; Judith Meagher; Paul O’Leary; Mary Welch; Jamie Whidden Sr.; Denise Wilke, RSM; and the Rev. John Yonkovig.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is located at 185 Old Military Road, Lake Placid, NY 12946. For more information, visit http://www.adkmercy.org.


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