With a full house during the windstorm
recently, Evelyn VanCamp didn't have time
to talk about herself. Her daughter and grand-
children were over because their power was
out. She was busy with the kids and getting
dinner thought out.
Even two days later she wasn't exactly
comfor table with the idea. But since her
daughter had taken the trouble to write The
Citizen, she decided to oblige.
"I don't know, I just seem to be in the right
place at the right time," Evelyn said, con-
cerning her habit of helping people. "Some-
thing inside of you just takes over. Normally,
I'm not a pushy person, but if somebody needs
Her daughter Janie VanCamp could finish
the sentence. For instance, there was the time
when her mother's neighbor was sick and
didn't want to bother anybody.
"It was kind of funny, because I had a write-
up in the paper about her that sat on the shelf
forever. That day, I said: I've got to go down
and give it to her to she can mail it to her
daughter and then she could see it," Evelyn
said. However, her neighbor Donna said no,
you'd better not. She wasn't feeling well with
the flu and Evelyn would probably catch it.
"I made up my mind I was either going to
call her daughter or call an ambulance," Eve-
lyn said. Her persistence saved her friend's life.
Another time a neighbor who was suffer-
ing from Alzheimer's was out in the winter
cold. She couldn't get the door to her house
open and was lost out there. Evelyn went and
tried the lock herself and it wouldn't turn.
She was the only one home on the block and
if she hadn't of helped her friend of 40 some
years she might have frozen to death.
"I had to call her son-in-law," Evelyn said.
"Meanwhile, I got her warm with a cup of
Once, she couldn't save a young girl who
was involved in a car accident a couple of
doors down from hers, but she tried.
"She was in a car with a couple of teenagers.
She was thrown out. It was all head injuries.
There was nothing we could do," she said.
But about 20 years ago, a friend of her son
was thrown from his truck when it struck a
tree. It also happened in the neighborhood.
"I had my daughter call an ambulance and
told them we needed a life support," she said.
"There was a gentleman who kept trying to
move him. I wouldn't let him roll him - he
would have choked on his blood. They said he
died two or three times in the ambulance on
the way, and two or three times on the oper-
ating table. But he's married now and has a
son of his own."
The first time she ever helped anybody
occurred when she was 16 or 17 and swimming
in Skaneateles Lake. A young fellow, about
18, fell off a raft and panicked in the water.
She swam over and held his hand and called
for his friends.
A retired teacher's assistant, Evelyn is a
proud mother of five children, 10 grandchil-
dren, and five great-grandchildren. She often
gets her 6-year-old granddaughter ready for
the school bus in the morning and is always
happy to babysit her - or any of the rest. In addi-
tion, she's ready to fix baked goods for her
church, Saint Mary's, in Skaneateles, when
"I couldn't ask for a better mother," Janie
said. "Me and my husband, we couldn't make
it without her."
But Evelyn doesn't dwell on the things
she's done. "I don't know, I just feel like I
hope they're going to be alright and I did the
right thing, then I forget about it, until I get
a phone call from someone who asks."
..be a volunteer!
with arts and
crafts,or just by
being a friend,
Make a difference in someone's life...
For more information,
Anne Ventura at 315-539-5067
or through e-mail at:
You can make a difference!
`My mother is always doing things for others'
I am writing this letter about my mother Evelyn VanCamp. I would like to nominate her
for "People who make a difference."
The people she helped out are two of her neighbors. On this particular day my moth-
er had a newspaper article she saved for her neighbor and something told her to call her
that day to bring it to her. When she called her neighbor she could tell there was some-
thing wrong. Her neighbor said she wasn't feeling well. My mother asked if she would like
her to come down, her neighbor said maybe she shouldn't because she might have the
flu. But my mother felt she should go anyway.
She went down and her neighbor looked terrible, and she finally talked her into call-
ing her daughter and stayed with her until her daughter got there. They ended up taking
her to the hospital and she had emergency surgery done that night for a blockage in her
intestines. Her daughter said, "You saved my mother's life." If she hadn't gone down
there and talked her into calling her daughter that she would've died during the night because
she was determined not to disturb her daughter at work. She would have laid down and
passed away that night.
The other neighbor she helped out is also elderly. She was in the early stages of
Alzheimer's disease and in the middle of winter she had locked herself out of her house
and walked up to my mother's house and knocked on her window, my mother went out
and seen her and brought her into her house and called her daughter and had her neigh-
bor wait at her house until her daughter arrived and unlocked the door for her. If my
mother wasn't home her neighbor could have froze to death because she wouldn't have
known what to do.
This same neighbor also ended up having cancer and my mother helped her out dur-
ing her short battle with this disease, by staying by her side and watching over her.
My mother is always doing things for others she never thinks about herself first.
These are two of the many people she had helped out over the years. I hope you will con-
sider her for this nomination.
- Debbie Parent
Cleen Hoselton / Special to The Citizen
Monday, February 27, 2006
People Who Make A Difference
The Citizen. Auburn, New York
The Citizen. Auburn, New York
People Who Make A Difference
Monday, February 27, 2006
Pam Wilson is making a difference in the
lives of people with developmental disabili-
ties living in Cayuga and Seneca Counties.
As Director of Planning and Resource Devel-
opment for Seneca Cayuga ARC, Pam has
developed activities that provide an enjoy-
able experience for people who receive serv-
ices, while raising money for underfunded
programs at the same time. However, non
have made such an impact as FAME, which
she formed in 1999. FAME, Fingerlakes
Artists, Musicians, and Entertainers, is Seneca
Cayuga ARC's theatrical group and has given
over 200 people a chance to showcase their tal-
ents and abilities for their families, their
friends, and their community something
most of them could only dream of before.
With an extensive history in theater, along
with experience in working with people with
disabilities, Wilson created FAME to pro-
mote and develop the performing talents of
adults in a supportive and accessible envi-
ronment. Opportunities for creative expres-
sion include acting, singing, dancing, stand-
up comedy, and play writing, as well as costume
making, set construction and technical pro-
duction. Pam Wilson and FAME participants
have written, produced and performed over
11 original stage and dinner theater produc-
tions to date. Productions have included vari-
ety shows, dinner theaters, comedy plays,
and murder mysteries.
For the past several years, Pam has orches-
trated two FAME productions per year, requir-
ing a great deal of her personal time and
resources. Each year, ticket sales increase
as a result of Pam's efforts to produce big-
ger and better events which highlight per-
son-centered activities for more than 50 peo-
ple involved in each production. Interest
among families, staff and the community has
excelled , as demonstrated by the October1,
2005 FAME -sponsored event, "1964-The Trib-
ute". A Beatles impersonation act, which sold
over 750 tickets. FAME actors performed
during intermission and at other times during
Among the honors bestowed upon FAME
are the "Program of the Year" award from
the Community Services Board of Cayuga
County in 2002 and the 2004 "Inclusion of
the Arts" award, which was presented in Sep-
tember by the NYS Developmental Disabili-
ties Planning Council at the Governor's Man-
sion in Albany. In early 2005, Seneca Cayu-
ga ARC was notified that FAME was the recip-
ient of a Quality of Life Grant from the
Christoper Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
It is through Pam's dedicated volunteer
efforts that FAME was created, and it is her
continued commitment to that program and
to people with disabilities that helps to ensure
their individual success and happiness.
William Davis has made a difference in
my life because he is the most unselfish per-
son that I have ever known. Oh granted he's
not a Nobel prize winner or a rock star by in
my book her is a superstar. He has put his
needs above all others all his life. Lets start with
his mom Myrtle who is 88 years old. He has
been by her side in a time when many would
have put there parents in a nursing home
long before now. He raised, nurtured, and
supported his wife and three daughters until
they became driving adults and is still
raising his son. Of course some so what but
this is just the tip of the iceberg. I recall
some of the little things like going out in
a snow blizzard to buy a bottle of barbe-
cue sauce or buying flowers just about
every day for his sweetheart or driving
to Wisconsin at the drop of a hat to help
a friend in need or respecting his wife by
nurturing their relationship every day or
always dropping WHATEVER he is doing
at any given time to help anyone with a need
or donating his time to the Moose Club
organization or taking a roller coaster ride
or going swimming in Lake Ontario or
lives everyday by the lyrics of the song
by Tim McGraw "Live like you were dying".
Or attending AA meetings ever y week
for months to show support for a friend in
need or purchase any item that you would
ask for without hesitation if the funds are
there or help a friend at the time of a loss
of a loved one just because he cared. Or
say I love you everyday or give his heart
and soul to any individual who can just
reach out or be someones knight in shin-
ing armor. In these tr ying times it is a
blessing there are people that truly care
about the well being of others and this is
why he has made a difference in so many
Each year, Seneca Cayuga ARC honors
those who have contributed to over 20 hours
of volunteer service during that year. Of those
volunteers, one is chosen to receive the
agency's Mary Moreno Volunteer of the Year
Award. For 2004, that volunteer was Tim
Hoag, who has consistently given over 250
hours each year to the agency's recreation
Tim is practically a fixture around the
agency. He willingly assists consumers and staff
in any way he can, but particularly enjoys
helping out at Camp Columbus in the summer,
or with the Robert McIntyre and James Vis-
cardi bowling leagues during the winter
months. Tim is so enthusiastic about his vol-
unteer work that he has been known to walk
to Camp Columbus a trek of 7 miles when
transportation was not available.
Tim lives in Auburn and when not assist-
ing at ARC, he can be found helping his fam-
ily and tending to his father's healthcare
Mark Covich, Coordinator of Communi-
ty Recreation, says "It is volunteers like Tim
who contribute to the success of Camp Colum-
bus and our bowling leagues, and it is peo-
ple like Tim who make this world a better
My choice for "People who Make a Dif-
ference" would be in fact, 10 people. These 10
would be the the "Lady Chiefs" Varsity bas-
ketball team of Southern Cayuga School.
A team of 10 individuals who are a rarity in
that. They unselfishly think of the good of
the team over their own personal glor y. A
team who in spite of a year of injuries, are
always ready to play 100%. A team of 10 young
women who set a good example to the younger
players on good sportsmanship and com-
mitment to the team and community.
In a time of self-centered personal edifi-
cation they teach us older folks that their gen-
eration will be ready when the torch of the
future is passed on to them. I have a renewed
confidence and optimism for the future, "times
Thank you from a non- parent Richard
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