Thanks to the efforts of the student members of the Keuka College Veterans Club, a local veteran will be able to participate in an Honor Flight from Rochester to Washington, D.C. in the spring.
Honor Flight Rochester is one of 130 hubs in a national network which enables members of the military who served during WWII, the Korean, Vietnam or Cold Wars, to travel free of charge to Washington, D.C. to visit the monuments and memorials honoring their service. The non-profit program, coordinated by volunteers, funds trips entirely through the generosity of donors and sponsors. Veterans fly to D.C. accompanied by a “guardian” who assists them in navigating travel to and from the various sites.
The Keuka College Veterans Club conducted two fundraisers in the spring to raise $300 to donate toward the Honor Flight Program; a veteran’s trip is valued at $500. At this year’s Veterans’ Day ceremony in Norton Chapel, Siobhan Costain ‘17, president of the club, participated in a symbolic gesture of giving to a local veteran; a formal check presentation was made Dec. 17 on campus.
“A lot of times veterans are forgotten more than they should be,” said Costain, whose father and grandfather served in the military. “We are awed by the fact that these men and women have done so much for the country, and this is what we could do for them.”
P. Earle Gleason, former director of the Yates County Veterans Service Agency and an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, helps coordinate Honor Flight travel for Yates County veterans along with locals Norm Koek and Andy Swarthout. According to Gleason, some 23 veterans from throughout the county have taken Honor Flights to D.C. so far and another six to eight have applications in process for the coming year.
The Penn Yan volunteers help coordinate local contingents of Yates County veterans to travel together within one of the three honor flights offered from Rochester each fall or spring. Honor flights are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, with priority given to veterans of the oldest eras first, then to those in more recent service eras suffering terminal illness.
Unlike other Honor Flights around the country, veterans who travel from Rochester enjoy a 36-hour trip, including an overnight stay at the Hilton Hotel at Baltimore-Washington International airport after a full Saturday of travel to D.C. memorials. A special banquet is hosted for the veterans that evening and according to Rich Stewart, president of Honor Flight Rochester, the time after the keynote speaker concludes can be “quite moving” as veterans begin to share their memories.
“A lot of them will open up and tell stories never told before, even with their families,” explained Stewart, who has made the trip a half dozen times as a guardian or bus leader. “People who’ve never publicly spoken in their lives will say ‘I need the microphone’ and it takes your breath away sometimes.”
Thanks to Honor Flight Rochester, 2,121 veterans have visited the military memorials since Rochester trips began in 2008, Stewart said, adding the vets are often greeted in D.C. by military and government officials. When veterans return to Rochester Sunday morning, they may find as many as 500 to 700 people to greet them, he said. In addition to friends and family, the airport welcome includes patriot guard riders bearing flags, a variety of community bands playing patriotic songs, and even members of the Knights of Columbus who create an archway of swords for veterans to pass under, Stewart described.
“It’s really a hero’s march, if ever there was one. It never gets old,” Stewart said. “Please thank the young folks down there for all they’re doing!”
Local veterans from WWII, the Korean War or ill veterans from the Vietnam or Cold War eras interested in applying for the next Yates County tour-within-a-tour are encouraged to contact Norm Koek at St. Mark’s Terrace or the Yates County Veterans Service Agency for an application to Honor Flight Rochester, Gleason advised. While applications can also be made directly online at www.honorflightrochester.com, online applicants may not be grouped with others from Yates County. The Yates County coordinators also work to defray travel costs for guardians.
On the surface, the Presbyterian Church, Penn Yan Racquet Club, Lions Club, Christmas for the Needy, and Keuka Care Comfort Home might not seem like they have much in common.
Nor might the Once Again Shoppe, Penn Yan Area Council of Churches Community Action Program, the Back to School Program, and the Elks Club.
But there is one common—and constant—bond that connects each organization to the others. His name is Bill Turner, a lifelong resident of Penn Yan and the 2015 recipient of the Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service. The award will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 11 at a noon luncheon in the Geiser Dining Hall in Dahlstrom Student Center at Keuka College.
The Stork Award was established in 1991 by Keuka College to recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the College’s commitment of valuing individual initiative for the common good. The award was named after its first recipients, Penn Yan residents Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork.
Those who know Turner say he’s a person who believes that individuals can change communities for the better. This is just one lesson Turner’s parents instilled in him as a child—a love of his community and a commitment to helping others.
Take the Presbyterian Church, where the young Turner helped his father stoke the furnace. Since then, he has continued to dedicate himself to his church through a variety of roles. He continues his work as a trustee, has served as an elder and a deacon, and sits on the Building and Grounds Committee. He has also been active with the Penn Yan Area Council of Churches Community Action Program Inc., where he has served on its Board of Directors.
For the Christmas for the Needy program, Turner has organized the transportation of toys and food, and makes certain that those unable to get to the distribution site still receive Christmas packages. At the Once Again Shoppe, Turner can be counted on to move and sort donated items or find the right piece of furniture for someone in need, among other projects. He chairs the Building Maintenance and Repair committee there, too.
In addition, Turner has assisted with the efforts of the Back to School program by helping shop, package, and deliver school supplies to ensure students are ready to begin the school year. He is a founding member of the Penn Yan Racquet Club, and a longtime member of the Elks Lodge and the Lion’s Club, where he received an Award of Merit in 2002. Turner has also served as a Town of Milo councilman, been a member of the United States Junior Chamber (more commonly called Jaycees), and has supported efforts to raise money for Keuka Comfort Care Home.
Tickets for the luncheon are $13. Seating is limited, so advanced reservations are advised. Make checks payable to Keuka College and mail to: Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478, or reservations may be made online at events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Aug 5.
For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail [email protected]
By Victoria Grisdale ’17
KEUKA PARK— Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY) is now less than one month away, and with April 12th fast approaching, area residents are encouraged to sign up soon to participate in this annual service event. Organized by Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, CSCY is the day each year in which volunteers team up across the community on behalf of the county’s non-profit organizations. In the last 17 years, work sites have included youth camps, churches, cemeteries, libraries, fire departments and more.
Last year, a number of Keuka College students in various clubs, organizations, and sports teams —as well as individuals from the communities of Penn Yan, Branchport and Dundee — came out to help rake, clean, paint, and plant whatever was needed at 20 different non-profit work sites across the county.
One of those volunteers, Mike Wainwright ’15 worked alongside classmates Sara Sloan ’15, Haley Jordan ‘15 and Eric Saltrelli ‘15 at the ARC home on Hamilton Street last year and said they helped clean up garden beds and lay sod for spring, receiving a very warm welcome. Wainwright said he has participated every year and it has been a great experience seeing more and more students volunteer each year.
This is a great, supportive community that is always a part of the College, whether it is at sporting events or by hosting Field Period™ students,” he said. “I’m excited to go back this year and put a smile on someone’s face for something as small as fixing the yard where the snowplow scraped it up.”
Wainwright added that in addition to getting out in the community, CSCY provides a good opportunity to “roll up your sleeves and spend time with friends.”
Katie Talbot ‘17, a co-captain on the Keuka College women’s soccer team worked alongside teammates raking and mulching trails in the Teamworks! Adventure Complex on the hill behind the campus.
“It was a rewarding experience that helped bring our community together,” the sophomore said. “I’m looking forward to helping out again this year and spending the day getting to know the community better.”
To that end, volunteers are urged to pre-register online at http://cscy.org by Friday, March 20 to guarantee a free CSCY T-shirt and submit a request for any round-trip transportation needed to work sites on the day of the event. While walk-in volunteers will still be accepted the day of the event, March 20 is the cutoff to reserve transportation and guarantee an event T-shirt.
One of the sponsors of the event, AVI Fresh, will provide a free lunch in the Geiser Refectory in Dahlstrom Student Center between 11 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. for all volunteers checking in to receive work assignments the day of the event. The kickoff ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. and will include Keuka College’s new mascot, Kacey the Wolf.
Students in the Penn Yan Central School District will be receiving brochures to take home to their families to encourage participation, thanks to the generous support of school district leaders and the ARC of Yates print shop, which donated printing services to help spread the word.
Elsewhere in the community, the Ferro corporation has issued a “corporate challenge” to other area businesses to empower teams of company employees to volunteer during the event this year. Ferro is recruiting its own company team of volunteers for CSCY and is urging other businesses to do the same. In prior years, teams from the Eaves Dental Group, the District Attorney’s Office and others have participated on behalf of local companies to support the county-wide event.
Non-profit agencies also have until March 20 to submit a request online for volunteer services as a designated work site this year. The form can be accessed online at: http://www.cscy.org/volunteer/become-a-work-site/
Despite the deep freeze still hanging over the region, a sure sign of spring are the plans underway for the 18th Annual Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY) day of community service, to be held Sunday, April 12.
A collaboration between the Yates County Chamber of Commerce and Keuka College, CSCY is the day when volunteers from across Yates County join hands on behalf of the county’s many non-profit organizations. Youth camps, churches, fire departments, cemeteries, parks, libraries and other agencies receive help with spring clean-up projects, both inside and out, from participating volunteers. Non-profits provide the supplies while CSCY volunteers —which include many college students, local families, individuals and corporate teams—provide the service. In 2014, more than 218 volunteers came together to invest an afternoon completing tasks such as raking, cleaning, repairing and painting for 20 non-profit agencies.
This year, Ferro Corporation is putting together a team of employees to lend a hand and is challenging other local businesses to do the same.
“Non-profit organizations add to the health of our community and an event like this gives us an opportunity to support their objectives in a tangible way,” said Mary Anne Rogers, human resources manager for Ferro.
Rogers serves as coordinator of the Ferro corporate team for this year’s CSCY day of service, and has sent letters to local businesses inviting them to rally employees to form corporate teams of their own. In previous years, other companies or offices have sent teams to participate in CSCY, too. In 2012, the Eaves Family Dental group rounded up more than a dozen staff and family members to don hoodies bearing the company name and pitch in at Camp Koininea. And in 2014, staff from the office of District Attorney Valerie Gardner spent time serving at Sunny Point in Dundee.
Through March 20, volunteers can pre-register online at cscy.org to volunteer on the day of service and receive a free CSCY T-shirt, as well as request transportation to a work site. While walk-in registrations will be accepted on April 12 at the check-in area inside Dahlstrom Student Center, walk-in volunteers will not receive T-shirts and must provide their own transportation. Thanks to sponsor AVI Fresh, free lunch is available to all registered volunteers checking in at the College between 11 a.m. – 12: 50 p.m., before the official kickoff ceremony begins at 1 p.m. This year, new College mascot Kacey the Wolf will be a part of the opening ceremony.
Work site applications are also available in electronic form for non-profit agencies interested in hosting volunteers for service, as are interest forms for businesses or merchants willing to help underwrite the event. In 2014, CSCY was supported through the generous donations and in-kind goods and services of the following sponsors: ARC of Yates, AVI Fresh Catering, Eaves Family Dental Group, Esperanza Mansion, Ferro, Fitzgerald Brothers, Keuka College Campus Safety, and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations; Knapp and Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Lyons National Bank, Ricoh, Roto-Salt, Seneca Lake Duck Hunters Association, Stork Insurance Agency, Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Gold Classic, and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce.
For the eighth straight year, Keuka College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted 690 colleges and universities for the role they play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.
Keuka College was one of 15 schools in New York state to earn Honor Roll with Distinction recognition. It’s the fourth time in five years the College has earned that status.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
In the past year, Keuka College students dedicated nearly 143,000 hours of service to the community. Some of the many local organizations and programs that benefit from the time and talents of Keuka students include: Yates County Humane Society; Clinton Crest Manor, an adult care facility in Penn Yan; Child and Family Resources Inc; Head Start in Penn Yan; Relay for Life; Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates, an annual day of community service organized by students, faculty, and staff and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce; and the DRIVE (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, experiential learning) program, a partnership between the Yates ARC, Penn Yan Central School, and the College that provides on-campus learning and life training skills to area students with special needs, ages 18-21.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. It is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships.
To learn more about the Honor Roll, visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/honor-roll