Beacon Newsletter- Summer 2021

Posted - July 23, 2021

Guests From Far Away

A Map of Our Guests’ Homes

Rochester, NY is home to two major hospital systems: Rochester Regional Health and UR Medicine. These centers perform care that cannot always be found in rural areas and often brings these people to the area for treatment.

During the Covid-19 pandemic most of us stopped traveling, but for a family experiencing a health crisis that was not an option. As you know, at Harbor House, patients and their families can stay here when they arrive for critical care. And over the last 18 months, despite the pandemic, many of our guests have come from outside New York State. We have seen people from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas!

We are so glad that we were able to stay open during the pandemic, when the hospital was closed to visitors, as many of these guests were patients themselves. Even if a patient couldn’t bring a loved one to an appointment or test they could come back “home” to them and have that support system right by their side.
Sometimes it seems like there is little that we can do to impact the world. By working with local organizations, like the Harbor House, our impact can reach further than we imagined. We are so honored to be a part of the work that helps families during these difficult times.


I can’t thank Harbor House enough for extending to me and my family all the comforts of home, including the loving touch. I drove in to Rochester from Chicago for a live donor liver transplant at URMC. I needed to be in town one week early, stay in the hospital for a week, and then remain in town for one full month so that my recovery could be closely monitored. With everything that the transplant entailed (risk, pain, worry, time away from my family), the one thing I didn’t have to worry about was that I was staying in safe, affordable lodging which happened to be walking distance from the hospital.

Typically, a six week stay would be quite difficult to manage financially, especially when I was not working, but with Harbor House I didn’t have to worry about that. Also, as a transplant patient, I felt very comfortable with the safety precautions that the people at Harbor House took to keep the house sanitized, and safe from COVID and other germs.

They went above and beyond to make sure my needs were met and that I was comfortable. In addition, I enjoyed the space that Harbor House provided that a hotel would not offer. This helped me with my recovery after surgery as I was able to walk around the home, do a few stairs, as well as walk outside to their backyard and patio. I was allowed to have vaccinated home health nurses, physical therapists and speech therapists visit which was convenient. Also, it was great to have a full kitchen so that my caregiver sand I could make our own meals, cutting our expenses for food and allowing us to make ourselves healthier meals. Lastly, as stated earlier, we were walking distance from the hospital, but also walking distance to College Town, which has a CVS, as well as restaurants and shops.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to stay at Harbor House and to have met such wonderful, caring people while I was there. I will likely return periodically for follow up and look forward to staying at Harbor House in the future!


A Day of Caring

Left to Right- Josh, Scott, Colleen, Mark, Sue

On May 13th the United Way held its Day of Caring, an event when the community comes out for service projects to better their communities. This year we were honored to host a team from News Channel 13WHAM.

Scott Hetsko brought his coworkers – Mark, Sue, Colleen, and Josh to work in the yard, making it beautiful for our guests to enjoy. They powered through the work, cleaning up the remnants of last fall’s leaves, trimming the bushes and grass, and laying down mulch. I think they even managed to have fun the whole time!


The group having a laugh with HH volunteer, Dave

It was a splendid day in Rochester; as if the world knew that good things were going on. We are so lucky to have a caring community supporting the Harbor House with its time.



Fundraising Updates

Last year we canceled our “And the BEAT goes on…”fundraiser in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We are happy to see things opening back up as vaccine rates increase. Unfortunately, because of the large amount of planning, we have decided to cancel “And the BEAT goes on…” 2021.

We dearly miss all of our friends that we see every year. But we know the community still cares and that we have your support.
This support was shown last year when you answered the call for our appeal letter. We were blown away by everyone’s generosity! This fall we are repeating our appeal, so be sure to keep an eye on your mailboxes when the leaves begin to turn.

The money we raise is a vital component to keeping our house running and open. Just like your house, after ten years or so, it requires a bit of TLC. Things like new furniture, for instance, help keep the house comfortable for our guests and make our place feel like a home. When our appeal arrives in your mailbox we hope that you will keep this in mind.

We can’t wait until the next time we all get together in person. But until then, we are so grateful for having all of you in our community.

See You Soon, Not Goodbye

Jen and Scott Hetsko

Scott Hetsko is well known in Rochester. For years he has been a meteorologist, and is now with News Channel 13WHAM. All who watch him know that he is enthusiastic in all that he does. At Harbor House we know him as a man who is generous with his time as well. He began volunteering with us as an MC for our live auctions during “And the BEAT goes on…” and in 2019 he joined our board of directors.

Scott has been a great addition to the Harbor House Family, offering knowledge with technology, sharing his connections with the public, and spending his personal time at the house. Having undergone a heart transplant in the past, he knows the value of having family nearby during difficult times. This awareness has shown in his care for the Harbor House.

Recently, Scott’s schedule changed at 13WHAM and we’re excited to say he is now headlining the evening news. Unfortunately this means he will be stepping
down from our board. He assures us that he’ll still be around when we need him. We are happy that he’ll have more time to spend with his family, and we wish him nothing but the best! And of course, Scott will always be apart of the Harbor House Family.

Volunteer in the Spotlight:
Laura Anne Hirschler

Our long-time volunteer, Laura Anne, has worked with the Harbor House in many ways. She began back in high school after hearing about the house through her work with the Friends of Strong.

You may have seen her at our fundraising event, “And the BEAT goes on…”. She has also collected food for Easter dinner along with her health science club members at RIT and is currently volunteering weekly at the house.

Laura Anne understands the stress that comes with serious illnesses that some our guests deal with personally. She herself received a liver transplant at seven months old. With this experience she developed a life-long desire to become a doctor and will attend medical school, in July, at Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. With her kindness and compassion, she will make a great doctor!

We at Harbor House are so proud that we get to be a part of Laura Anne’s life journey and that we get to watch her make a difference in the world. So please join us in congratulating her on the achievement. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes and are always happy to have her time and talents given at Harbor House.

Make a donation

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Every donation helps us to keep our house open.

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Be a volunteer

All you need is love…It takes all different types of personalities, skills and gifts to run our house Share the love.

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Adopt a Day

Adopt a Day to honor, celebrate or remember a special person and become part of our Harbor House family.

Pick Your Day

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