Mercy Care Friendship Picnic

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks hosted more than 50 elders, Friendship Volunteers, Parish Nurses, and Board Members at Guggenheim Center on Lower Saranac Lake for its annual Friendship Picnic.  The gathering is held each year to celebrate older adults in our community and to honor and recognize the extraordinary gifts of friendship, kindness, and assistance given to their elder neighbors by Mercy Care volunteers.

Paul Reiss, Ph.D., Mercy Care’s Board President, discussed with elders and volunteers, Mercy Care’s new initiative, “Caregiving in the Adirondacks”, a community-wide planning effort to better understand the caregiving needs of people in our communities and develop an action plan to address them.

Picnic Photo 2013

 Mercy Care invites people of all faiths to become Mercy Care Friendship Volunteers.  It will hold its next Friendship Volunteer Training Program in Saranac Lake on October 9 & 16.  There is no cost to participants for the training but pre-registration is required.  To register or request more information, please call Sheila Schneck, Mercy Care’s Office Manager, at 518-523-5583.  (Both training date sessions are required.)

The program for the Friendship Picnic included a presentation by Sally Gross from the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.  Sally shared the most recent features at the Wild Center including Planet Adirondack and Flight of the Butterflies, an award-winning film that follows an amazing winged migration.  She explained how the Wild Center is especially able to meet the needs and welcome its older adult visitors.  The Wild Center has manual wheelchairs available for loan free of charge, power scooter (please call to reserve), accessible loop trail around Greenleaf Pond, Guided tour for the visually impaired (please call in advance to schedule), captioned videos in their “Find Our Forest Exhibit”, assisted listening devices available for theater presentations, and captioning available on select theater movies (scripts available for others).

Sr. Catherine Cummings, RSM, Ed.D., R.N., Director of Friendship Volunteer and Parish Nurse Programs, and Frank Lescinsky, Chairman of Mercy Care’s Board Pastoral Care Program Committee, presented the recognition awards to Volunteers.

Renate Schachenmayr Award 9 2013

The Mercy Care Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Renate Schachenmayr of Lake Placid. The Volunteer of the Year receives the Catherine McAuley medallion.  Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831 to serve the poor, the sick, the uneducated and all those in need.  She is always ready to say “yes” if she possibly can find a way to fit it into her day.  She respects the dignity of each elder, cares for the whole person, and serves with compassionate care.  Renate gave the most hours overall to elders in the Tri-Lakes Mercy Care assisted this past year.

The “Power of One Special Recognition Award” was presented to Patty Francisco of Tupper Lake, a woman whose love of the elders in her community motivated her to support and assist the evolution of Mercy Care from its beginning in 2007.  She has not only been a faithful Mercy Care volunteer but has shown us the power of one person to make her community a better place for elders.  She has given a lifetime of service to her family, friends and neighbors.

The award for most hours of Friendship Volunteer Service donated in Tupper Lake went to Anne Sander and Julianna Caguiat donated the most hours in Saranac Lake.  The award for most hours of Volunteer Parish Nurse Services donated went to Virginia McDaniel.

The “Above and Beyond” awards were earned by Friendship Volunteers and Volunteer Parish Nurses with over 100 hours of service given in one year.  The award recipients included:


Julianna Caguiat – Saranac Lake Virginia McDaniel – Saranac Lake
Bernadette Clarke – Lake Placid Anne Sander – Tupper Lake
Diane Collins – Lake Placid Renate Schachenmayr – Lake Placid
Margo Cooper – Saranac Lake Sheila Venezia – Lake Placid
Linda Jones – Lake Placid Sr. M. Denise Wilke, RSM – Lake Placid

Five-year service awards were earned by:

Natalie Clark – Tupper Lake Pearl McCahill – Lake Placid
Greg Dennin – Lake Placid Cindy Platt – Tupper Lake
Patty Francisco – Tupper Lake Renate Schachenmayer – Lake Placid
Cecile Jarvis – Tupper Lake Anita Stemp – Saranac Lake
Frank Lescinsky – Lake Placid Anita Varga – Lake Placid
Sr. Barbara McCarthy – Tupper Lake

Mercy Care has recruited and trained over 90 Friendship Volunteers and 11 parish nurses to serve elders in the Tri-Lakes area.  Since 2008 when Mercy Care was established, its volunteers have contributed over 9,000 hours of assistance to elders living in their communities.  Mercy Care enjoys a 89% volunteer retention rate.  Mercy Care appreciates each and every volunteer for touching the aging in the Tri-Lakes with mercy. 

 Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.  Its mission is to enhance in every dimension the fullness of life of elders living in their community.  It carries out its work through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Parish Nurse Program, and an Education and Advocacy Program.  Its work is funded solely through charitable contributions and grants. Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is located at 185 Old Military Road, Lake Placid, NY  12946.

For more information, please visit Mercy Care’s web site at