And the BEAT goes on 2019: Celebrating Ten-Year Anniversary
of Harbor House
Just ten years ago, our amazing founders—Gary Acker, Christine Arcara, Tom Arcara, Leway Chen and Robert Wackerman—handed me the keys to a newly-remodeled house on Rossiter Road. My new adventure was to manage a house for families of seriously ill hospital patients. With those keys, they also gave me the responsibility of making sure that our guests would receive the support, love and care they would need. They entrusted me to maintain our beautiful home using the highest possible standards, to find caring volunteers, and to promote our house so that as many people as possible would hear about our mission.
Nearly ten years later, I can proudly report that over 11,000 nights of rest (and about that many hugs!) have been given to people from all over the country and the world. These guests remain a big part of the Harbor House “family” and are never far from mind.
This ten-year milestone would have never happened without the vision and determination of our amazing founders. We are so grateful for their wisdom and guidance, and also for our devoted board members and volunteers who have served this mission through the past ten years. There will never be enough words to express our thanks and admiration.
We hope that many of you plan to attending our “And the BEAT goes on…” celebration and fundraiser on September 21, 2019. The money we raise helps us to bridge the gap between what our guests can afford to pay and what it costs
to operate the house.
We will have a delicious sit-down dinner, a cocktail hour with open wine and beer, and of course auctions, raffles and games. With your support, our guests will be able to continue to receive the encouragement and care they need at a time when it means the most.
Tickets are available at: https://harborhouseandthebeatgoeson.bpt.me
Check our website for details: https://harborhouseofrochester.org/
Thoughts from a House Guest
Our journey with Harbor House started last fall. My husband and I are from East Otto, NY, a small farm community forty miles south of
Buffalo and two hours from Rochester. On November 2, 2018, my husband Tim was sent to Strong for advanced cardiac failure. While trying to figure a plan, I walked over to check out the Harbor House. This was a bold move for me as I was totally out of my “comfort zone.” It’s funny how that works in an emergency situation. I guess you just kick into “survival mode.” I met with Joan, who was simply delightful at this stressful time. Being at the Harbor House, after all, she was like a lighthouse keeper.
She showed me around and by our second week in Rochester, a room opened. I ended up being a housemate until May 3. My husband was blessed to receive a new heart on February 5, 2019, but we recently had to return to Strong due to a few bumps in the road. While I’m not sure how this journey will end, I know in my heart that nothing in our lives just happens by chance. I’ve met some incredible people along the way and intend to stay in touch. The hospitality and warmth of Joan and the volunteers has been much appreciated.
Remember each day to encourage and uplift all that we meet. Who knows, you might just be that little beacon of light in the storm. My definition of Harbor House is a place of safety in the midst of a “storm.”
A Fond Farewell and a
Rob Kochik, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, has been our board president for the past four years and a board member since 2012. Rob’s amazing communication skills helped us through the many decisions we’ve had to make, all the while keeping our mission at the forefront of all of our discussions and plans.
Rob retired at the end of June and moved with his lovely wife Carole back to their home town in Pennsylvania. He has showered our families with love and care over the years. We want to thank Rob for putting so much of his heart into our mission, and we all wish him much happiness in his wellearned retirement.
Now we are very pleased to welcome Katie Rudow as our next board president. Katie has been involved with the Harbor House since its opening, and she has been a board member since 2015. Katie has always shown deep compassion for the families of Harbor House and has always been passionate about our mission. She has the energy, heart and leadership skills to propel Harbor House to an even greater level of success. I can’t wait to see where she takes us! Please help us to warmly and heartily welcome Katie in her new role as board president.
It Takes a Village
(or at least a lot of Great People!)
Now that we are finally enjoying the long, balmy days of summer, it is easy to forget the crazy autumn we had last year. Because of the strange weather patterns, we were not able to fully complete our fall cleanup of leaves. This made an early spring clean up very important.
Murray Wright and Alex Forys are two of our loyal and hardworking volunteers from St. John Fisher College. They cleaned up all of the leftover fall leaves and debris and got our yard ready for new growth.
My amazing son Stephen works for an awesome company called Vertex that is based out of Philadelphia. Each year, their employees participate in a “Day of Caring” in their city during April. Since Steve works remotely, they allowed him
to choose a charity here in Rochester to offer his volunteer services and of
course he chose the Harbor House! He trimmed trees, organized our outdoor shed and moved the mulch (which truly saved my back).
Then May came and all the flowers and trees began to grow, and so did the weeds! An amazing group of men and women from one of our area churches, Glory House International, came to the house and spent a few hours pulling weeds, edging our gardens, digging up dead bushes and finally laying mulch. Not only did they spread the mulch we had, but they also purchased additional mulch at their own expense and laid that too. I think Harbor House just made some new friends and we are so grateful to them.
In July, we were lucky enough to be on the charities list for a mission group that includes many Presbyterian churches called “ROC Salt.” The group that came to us was from the Lewiston/Niagara Falls region. For two days, energetic and enthusiastic teens did all manner of yard maintenance. They also washed our
patio and back deck and arranged the furniture to make them look great We
loved having you and hope our paths may cross again in the future.
We are indebted to so many caring people and groups, including Charlie Ferro, who faithfully cuts the grass each week, and Lynn Fennel, who is always the first person I consult on all matters requiring a green thumb. The Harbor House yard and gardens continue to be a sanctuary and place of peace for our families to enjoy. Thank you one and all!
Volunteers in the Spotlight:
One of the ways we seem to get our best volunteers is by our current volunteers telling people about the house and urging them to volunteer. James Clement is one of these people. He was originally introduced to the Harbor House by one of
our long-standing volunteers, Tim Yelder. Tim knew we were looking for a few good people to help cover the evening hours during the week, so he mentioned this to James and got him interested in our mission.
James comes to the house on Mondays right after work. He has been volunteering at the Harbor House for more than a year now and has helped us in many ways since then. He has maintained and upgraded some of our technology,
and has also been great at getting new and unique items for our annual fundraiser (And the BEAT goes on…, see page 1).
Not only does James do these things, but he is always ready and willing to help maintain the house in any way that is needed. I think he even has mastered the “Joanie” fitted sheet fold (and not too many folks have been able to do this)!
James is always up for any type of work that we need—from computer work to housework—and is never too busy to take my calls. We are very glad that James has embraced the mission of the Harbor House and will do anything to help our house to succeed. Thank you, James. We are truly blessed to have you as part of our Harbor House family!