News of Otsego County

Helios Care

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Stop and Smell the Wildflowers 05-18-22

Stop and Smell the Wildflowers


WILDFLOWER WALK – 10 a.m. – Noon. Jean Miller Memorial Wildflower Walk returns this year, led by local plant expert and DOAS member Connie Tedesco. Participants should dress for the weather, bring water, binoculars, & insect repellent. Gilbert Lake State Park, 18 CCC Rd. Laurens. 607-397-3815 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE – 2 – 7 p.m. Donate through May 19 for chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps eight. Laurens Fire Department, 34 Main St., Laurens. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

Community pays tribute to Bob Schlather

Community pays tribute
to Bob Schlather

CLICK HERE to view the full obituary

Last week, the community lost an exceptional friend in Bob Schlather. Those who attended the Mass at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown on Saturday were graciously asked upon entry if they were with a particular organization, to be shown where others from their group were seated. This spoke volumes about Bob, who was involved in a dizzying array of groups and causes encompassing healthcare, human services, education, arts, historical associations, Rotary — basically, anything established for the betterment of the community. And it was with compassion, dedication, gentleness and a legendary and comforting sense of humor that Bob jumped into his volunteer roles as advisor, advocate, contributor and leader. In her homily during the Mass, the Rev. Betsy Jay referred to Bob as “invincible;” he was always there to get things done, and he did so with understated deliberation.

The Glimmerglass Festival was incredibly fortunate to be a keystone cause of Bob’s. He and his wife, Karen, first became involved as volunteers and supporters in 1979, when the Opera was still in its infancy. By 1984 he was elected to the Board and during his nearly 40 years as a Trustee, Bob served as: Treasurer for seven, Vice President of Personnel for four, Vice President of Legal Affairs, Chairman of the Audit Committee, an At-Large member
of the Executive Committee, and importantly, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for an impressive six years — in tandem with Peter Duchin as his President, with whom he then swapped the Presidency and Chairmanship positions for a year.

Helios Care: Volunteer Appreciation

Helios Care salutes its volunteers

[Editor’s note: This week’s “News from the Noteworthy” comes from Tammy Christman, Director of Community Outreach and Volunteer Services for Helios Care.]

April 17-23 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and organizations across the country are celebrating the wonderful works of volunteers. The value of hospice volunteers cannot be overstated. The desire to give time and talents freely, to those on the end-of-life journey, emanates from a heart of compassion and a spirit of giving.

Whether providing direct or indirect support, volunteers are an integral part of our team. Helios Care’s exceptional volunteers use their gifts and skills to help provide patients, caregivers, and families with the most peaceful and comfortable end-of-life experience possible. Our outstanding office and fundraising volunteers also work diligently behind the scenes to contribute towards this best possible care for patients and families.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Seniors Walking Group 03-28-22

Seniors Walking Group


WALKING CLUB – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Enjoy a fun walk on Mondays & Fridays with friends old and new and listen to music of the 70s. Free for members, non-members aged 50+. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 547-2800, ext. 109 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE – 1 – 6 p.m. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Learn About Benefits of Native Plants 03-15-22

Learn About Benefits of Native Plants


NATIVE PLANTS – 7 p.m. Learn about ‘Local Community Native Plant ‘How-To’ Project’’ in which a group of Delhi volunteers distributed 500+ native plants to residents of their area and educated the community about their benefits. Free, registration for Zoom required. Presented by Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society. 607-643-5680 or visit

News from the Noteworthy: Have a plan: Start the conversation

News from the Noteworthy:
Have a plan: Start the conversation

New York State is 50th in the nation for hospice utilization, and I wish I knew why.

I believe most people know about hospice. It is a service that helps and supports those with life-limiting conditions to address their symptomatic needs. Additionally, hospice supports the patient families, including bereavement care after the patient passes. New York has a hospice utilization of 30 percent, meaning only 30 percent of those who qualify for hospice die with the hospice service. And for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, it’s free. All of the services, prescriptions; emergency room visits; if necessary, hospitalizations; all covered by Medicare and Medicaid as well as by many commercial insurances.

The benefit is also good for six months or more of improved quality of life, not for the last days or hours. The word Hospice itself has a negative connotation, that is one of several reasons Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care changed our name to Helios Care.

Helios wins national honors, program grant

Helios wins national honors, program grant

Dan Ayers, President/CEO Helios Care (contributed)

Helios Care — formerly Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care —won a $200,000 year-end grant from The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for its award-winning “Choices” program, designed to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and address social needs for individuals with serious illness.

“The cost of the final year of life is the most expensive,” said Helios Care President and CEO Dan Ayers. “Any service that can show reduction of cost has a place in the future of health care. ‘Choices’ provides high-quality, lower-cost care, and in our pilot, we’re collecting good data. It’s an experiment that will let us prove we can provide the services people need and want.”

The December grant is the Cabrini Foundation’s second for ‘Choices,’ first seeding the program with a $300,000 contribution in 2020. Mr. Ayers said the new funding allows the program to serve more than 90 people through the end of 2022. The grant came just two weeks after Helios Care won national recognition for “innovative initiatives that have made — or will make — positive, breakthrough change in the care of serious illness.” The John A. Hartford Foundation Tipping Point Challenge awarded its Silver Winner honor to ‘Choices’ and named it one of the top eight entrants of all national applications.

Helios Care named as finalist for major award

Dan Ayers, CEO and President of Helios Care. (contributed)

Helios Care named as finalist for major award

By GREG KLEIN • Special to

Oneonta’s Helios Care is a top 25 finalist for a prestigious award for innovative palliative care.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Tipping Point Challenge, sponsored by the Center to Advance Palliative Care, is a “national competition to catalyze the spread of skills, ideas and solutions that will improve health care delivery for all people living with a serious illness,” according to its website.

“We are absolutely honored to be included with Mount Sinai and Indiana University and all the other prestigious groups,” said Helios CEO/President Dan Ayers. “I think we are the smallest group on the list by far. There is one from Kentucky. Obviously, they cover a rural area, but we are smaller.”

CHRISTMAN: Helios Recognizes National Volunteer Appreciation Week


Helios Recognizes National
Volunteer Appreciation Week

To the Editor:

Helios Care is celebrating and honoring the valuable and heartfelt commitment of our wonderful volunteers during National Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Even when a person is dying, there can be a lot of living to do. Hospice makes it possible by bringing care, compassion, and hope to patients and families facing life-limiting illness. Volunteers are a vital part of this special care: 224 trained volunteers support our local communities during patients’ end-of-life journey and make the mission of Helios Care possible.

Whether a volunteer is serving at the bedside, honoring a veteran, assisting in the office, helping in the thrift shop, or assisting with events, they are the heart of our hospice. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their unwavering support and generosity. This week and throughout the year, we honor and celebrate our outstanding volunteers.

Helios, Director of Community Outreach

Turkey Trot 5K Goes Virtual, Honors Late Founder John Hayen

Turkey Trot 5K Goes Virtual,

Honors Late Founder John Hayen

ONEONTA – Helios Care’s annual Turkey Trot 5K race will go virtual this Thanksgiving, with the 10-day run dedicated to the memory of founder John Hayen, who helped plan and support the event in the years before his passing earlier this month.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend John Hayen.  Many will miss him and his passionate spirit,” said Kelly McGraw, Helios Care’s Director of Access and Turkey Trot Event Director. “Dedicating the 2020 race to John will allow Helios Care to show our gratitude for the enthusiasm he brought to this event and his advocacy on behalf of hospice care.”

In 1st Month, 230 Give Foundation $175K

In 1st Month, 230

Give Foundation $175K

COOPERSTOWN – The one-month old Community Foundation for Otsego County has raised $175,000 in donations in its first four weeks of operation from 230 individuals so far.

In the last 10 days, the foundation’s COVID-19 Fund has also made five awards, and now has a total of 17 in review or completed. Completed awards include:

• HELIOS CARE – $5,000 to buy PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for staff to visit patient homes.

• CATHOLIC CHARITIES of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties -$5,000 to buy PPE and supplies for child-care providers in private homes.

• BASSETT MEDICAL CENTER – $7,500 to distribute gift cards for gas and food to employees who have been furloughed or had hours reduced due to clearing the facility for COVID-related use.

• FOX HOSPITAL – $3,000 for the same purposes as Bassett.

• COOPERSTOWN FOOD PANTRY – $3,000 to buy farmers’ market vouchers to give to families that use food pantries.

In another instance of community support, Alex’s World Bistro dedicated “Well Spent Wednesday” on April 29 to the fund, donated 15 percent the day’s receipts. The Bistro will reprise this in the near future.
In addition, the town boards of Worcester, Cherry Valley and Otsego have passed resolutions supporting the fund, as has the Cooperstown Village Board and Oneonta Common Council.
U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Assembly John Salka, R-Brookfield, have also announced support for the fund.

Qualified nonprofit organizations may obtain applications from the foundation website,; donations are also accepted online at the website.

For news updates, check Contact the foundation at
Contributions are still being sought from individuals, companies, other local foundations and organizations. Online gifts have the most immediate impact and can be accepted at
Donations can also be sent to the Community Foundation of Otsego County, P.O. Box 55, Springfield Center, NY 13468.

1st Community Foundation Grant To Helios

1st Community Foundation

Grant Goes To Helios Care

ONEONTA – Just two weeks after going public, the Community Foundation for Otsego County has awarded its first grant: $5,000 to Helios Care for PPE – personal protective equipment.

The money came from the foundation’s newly established COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund.

“This award to Helios Care captures the goal of the fund to support first-line health care providers by supplying them with (PPE) they need to safely conduct home visits,” said foundation President Harry Levine. “The Community Foundation of Otsego County is honored to be able to award these funds to Helios Care.”

Additionally, the United Way of Delaware & Otsego Counties awarded $2,500 to Helios.

Helios Care sought the funds for staff to use in caring for palliative and hospice care clients.

“Helios Care providers are serving the most vulnerable members of our community during this national emergency,” said Helios CEO Dan Ayres in thanking the foundation.

Though Helios Care has received the first grant, the Community Foundation is reviewing several more applications from local nonprofits seeking help during the COVID-19 crisis.

Additional recipients are expected to be announced soon.

To apply for a grant or donate to the foundation, go to

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103