The Organization - History
Laurel House is a not-for-profit volunteer community organization in Newark, NY, formed with its first meeting on Nov. 7, 2014 and incorporated in May, 2015. It has a nine-member board of directors. John Addyman serves as president, Gene Palmer is vice-resident, Tom McUmber is treasurer, and Pat Albrecht is secretary. Ann Young, Peter Dohr, Tom Briggs, Dr. David Cywinski, and the Honorable Daniel Barrett are the other board members.
The idea of Laurel House – a volunteer-driven home providing free end-of-life care for Wayne County residents and their families – originated decades ago with Jean Cass, a nurse who watched one of her dear friends succumb to a difficult death from breast cancer. Jean’s passion for a better way to care for the dying brought about the House of John in Clifton Springs, and was the impetus for doing the same in Newark.
Pat Albrecht, pastoral associate at St. Michael’s Church in Newark, was part of a clergy group in 2013 when Newark-Wayne Hospital President Mark Klyczek brought the idea of a special “hospice house” to the group. Carlos Smith, the chaplain at the hospital, kept the idea alive with Pat even when the clergy group stopped meeting.
In the spring of 2014, Pat Albrecht brought the idea of a “comfort care home” into discussions with the new hospital president, Rob Cercek. In April, she and John Addyman met with Cercek. In June, Albrecht met with Carole Nary of the hospital auxiliary, and they began discussions to have the auxiliary sponsor and assist in the creation of a comfort care home in Newark. In July, 2014, Albrecht and Nary toured the Pines of Peace and House of John comfort care homes to gather information. Cercek offered his support, saying there was “energy around the comfort care home” idea. Albrecht met with Jean Cass, and started to find out other churches were interested in her efforts.
On Aug. 11, 2014, the Hospital Auxiliary discussed offering support in more concrete ways –help with start-up fundraising, data-gathering and an architect’s rendering, even attorney advice. Hospital President Rob Cercek also supported the idea. One hospital-owned property was offered as a possible site. The ranch house on West Pearl Street was toured.
On Nov. 7, 2014, nine people attended a meeting in John Addyman’s house in Newark and started to organize a group that would make Laurel House a reality. That group has grown to 130 members and meets monthly. The Hospital suggested another house may be available through a gift, on Fair Street. Laurel House hopes to open its doors on Fair Street in 2016.
On October 18, the Newark-Wayne Hospital Auxiliary hosted a Music Fest at the American Legion in Newark, raising $1,500 for Laurel House! We are so grateful.