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
The Citizen. Auburn, New York
People Who Make A Difference
Monday, February 27, 2006