Beacon Newsletter- Summer 2018

Posted - August 26, 2018

Time to Buy your Tickets for

“And the BEAT goes on… 2018”

Summer is upon us, which means our annual “And the BEAT goes on…” fundraiser is just around the corner. It will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2018. While some traditions will be coming back, we will be hosting this year’s event at a new venue: Monroe Golf Club.

We are excited to see a return of our basket raffle as it was so popular last year. It will be running alongside our classic silent auction. During the night you’ll also have a chance to win a bottle of wine in the wine toss and grab yourself a decadent chocolate heart for the chance to win a special grand prize.

We are also happy to welcome back our master of ceremonies, Maureen McGuire! This year she will be joined by auctioneer Chris D’Orso. Chris is a Mets fan, a baseball card collector, an Admissions guy, and a dad. Oh, and he competed on Jeopardy!

However you choose to support the Harbor House, we hope to see you at “And the BEAT goes on… 2018.” For us it’s like a family reunion, catching up with friends and sharing a fun evening while we come together to support our very important mission.

Don’t delay, buy your tickets today. Go to: or call the house at (585) 473-1779 for instructions.

Invitations will be going out shortly. If you don’t receive one, we may need to update your information. Please email us at: harborhouseofrochester@gmail. com. Please include your name(s), address, phone number and email address. Our list is private and we don’t share it or sell it, so your information is safe with us! See you in September!


Thoughts from a House Guest by Brittany King 

(Amy & Brittany King)

On April 1, 2018, while most families were sitting down to enjoy Easter Dinner, we were forced to face some very tragic and unexpected news. My wife Amy thought my mother had pneumonia. However, upon getting her to the hospital, we were told that she had had numerous heart attacks and was still having one, right at the hospital.

Upon further testing, the news got worse. Not only did they have to take her into emergency surgery to put a stent in her heart, but the doctors also informed us that she had a huge hole on the bottom of her heart. They put her on a balloon pump to keep her alive, and she would also need another immediate life-saving procedure. The doctors said that the hospital most equipped for what she needed was Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

In the blink of an eye, with no warning, we went from living our everyday normal lives to being in a city we knew nothing about, putting the life of our loved one in the hands of doctors at a hospital we had never been to and knew nothing about. The first couple nights we stayed at the closest hotel we could find. After speaking with the cardiac team, we knew it would be a long road. How were we going to afford living in Rochester? The hotel was close to $300 for two nights, and we also had to meet our expenses back home.

On our third day in Rochester, a nurse told us about the Harbor House, explaining that it was only two blocks from the hospital. I called right away. Within minutes of speaking with Joan Malley, the Director of the Harbor House, I felt at ease, and was actually hopeful that everything would be OK. Not only were we going to have a place to stay so close to the hospital (exactly two blocks away) but it would be at an incredibly affordable price.

The best part of all is that the Harbor House is so much more than an affordable place to stay close to the hospital. It has such a feeling of comfort. You have access to the entire house including two kitchens, so you can cook when you’re tired of eating out. There is a very comfortable sitting room, and another TV room if you don’t feel like sitting in your own room to watch TV. There is also a computer printer, etc.

There is also private parking and a beautiful backyard with a patio. Not only is everything super clean, but clean towels, bedding, and the basic necessities are provided and always available. And on top of all that you can do your laundry right there at the house for free with all laundry products there for you to use for free!

The house is actually safer than a hotel. Each private bedroom is secured with a smart lock that can only be opened with a key fob, and each guest’s assigned key fob doesn’t work for any other private room. Your key fob gets you into the house, with the door automatically locking behind you. Near the door is a board on the wall where you indicate whether you’re in the house or not, and how many people are with you (guests are allowed)—in case of an emergency, the staff will know right away how many people are in the house.

But the very best part of staying at the Harbor House is the staff, made up of the kindest, most welcoming people. They greet you every time they see you, and ask how you’re doing or if you need anything. The house is volunteer-based, so trust me when I say that the staff not only takes care of the house, but also is there for the guests, making sure they are as comfortable as possible.

Joan Malley especially made a huge impact on my wife and me. She always had a genuine concern about how my mother-in-law was doing, which made us feel a lot better. Joan was always there to lift our spirits and to give us a special “Joan Hug.” Within no time she felt like family.

We stayed for 32 days. Even though we were happy to be bringing our loved one home alive, it was also hard to say goodbye to the Harbor House and especially hard to say goodbye to Joan. I will never forget the Harbor House nor the staff, and will forever cherish and be more than grateful for all they did to help us through our hard time. Thank you for reading about our stay, and a huge Thank You to the most amazing staff ever!


Let’s Talk About Terrific Teens

Early this summer, Harbor House was invaded by twelve of the nicest middle school aged kids (and their wonderful adult supervisors) that you could ever meet. The group came from Gates Presbyterian Church, where it is part of the church’s youth ministry.

They arrived bright and early on a Thursday morning, full of enthusiasm and good humor and ready to do whatever was needed to help out the Harbor House. They divided into groups and conquered many tasks.

They eagerly and thoroughly cleaned two bedrooms and other areas of the house, as well as carting and lugging items up and down stairs, dusting, polishing, making beds, cleaning bathrooms, … the list goes on and on!

We also needed weeds pulled, mulch laid and all the thirsty plants watered. As if that wasn’t enough to accomplish, the middle schoolers actually asked me if they could do some bush and tree trimming! I had to smile at the strength of young people as I watched some of those kids actually running while holding a full bag of mulch on such a hot summer’s day —Ahhh to be young!

Half of the group made breakfast muffins and a luscious fruit salad with Greek yogurt for breakfast and the other half made tacos with all the fixins’ and the most delicious Mexican coleslaw as an accompaniment for the house’s evening meal.

The best part of being with this fantastic group was all the energy and enthusiasm that surrounded them and the happy and upbeat personalities of these terrific teens and pre-teens.

We are so happy to be developing a long-standing relationship with Gates Presbyterian Church. I feel better about the future of our world when I meet special kids like this. Thanks for sharing your time, talent and energy to make the lives of our guests a little better. You all rock!


Interesting Tidbits about our House

• It’s close to the hospital.

• It’s an easy walk to many great restaurants & shops. • It’s in a quiet neighborhood.

• It feels homey.

• It’s clean and neat.

• The volunteers are great.

• The staff is superb.

• The price is very reasonable.

• The donations of food and special things like books, magazines and toiletries make our guests feel right at home.

• Our guests find themselves making lasting friendships.

• They are not alone during a frightening and difficult time.

• There are three refrigerators, one on each level, and most of the time, they’re all full!

• The Harbor House symbol is a lighthouse to indicate a place
where safe harbor can be found.

• Some former heart patients whose familes stayed with us have volunteered at the House.

• Each guest room has its own bathroom. But we never run out of hot water, even if everyone takes a shower at the same time, because Harbor House has a continuous hot water service.

• Two heart transplant recipients are on our board now, and at one time we had three!


Staff Member in the Spotlight: Peggy Lull

One of our dedicated staff members has been with the Harbor House almost since its opening. Like many of the early volunteers, Peggy Lull was recruited by Joan because she and Joan were dear friends. When Joan told Peggy about the Harbor House and its desperate need for volunteers, Peggy did not hesitate for a second before offering her services. She became one of our most trusted and reliable volunteers very quickly.

When the house was stable enough and doing well enough to add on staff members for the weekends, the board felt it would be best to hire two people so that one person wouldn’t be stuck working every weekend without relief. Mary Crowley was a logical choice for the position of weekend manager, but that left us needing someone to relieve Mary for one weekend a month.

Peggy’s ability to make our guests feel cared for and supported and her excellent organizational skills encouraged Joan to approach her about the position. Although she had a full-time job, she was willing to take on the responsibility of running the house one weekend per month.

She has been here ever since and has been loyal and steadfast in her position. She has also been very flexible when we needed multiple weekends covered and while I was out for medical reasons. We have been very blessed to have Peggy—a quiet partner in our organization but an invaluable one. Thank you, Peg, for your years of dedicated service!

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