A special place exists in Ontario, Wayne County. It is just a small brick house, like others in its residential neighborhood, surrounded by gardens and tall pine trees.
But Pines of Peace Comfort Care Home is not just a house; it is a place of solace and security for those with a terminal illness. It is place where a person can make that final journey surrounded by caring staff and volunteers. The transition is made to be as gentle and natural as possible. The resident, family and friends are lovingly supported.
The Pines of Peace board of directors recently appointed Terry Covington Whitt, of Macedon, as its new executive director. She assumed the role in January after the retirement of long-time director Sherry Verstraete.
“They are big shoes to fill, but I’m trying my best to honor Sherry’s accomplishments while continuing the Pines tradition of excellence,” Whitt said.
Whitt has lifelong ties to Wayne County. She grew up in Williamson, lived in Rushville while raising her family of four and returned to Wayne County now that she and her husband, Tom, are empty-nesters.
“When we saw Terry’s resume, we knew we had a gem,” said Patrick Wright, board chairman.
Her background in social work, grant writing, fundraising and organizational management skills seemed to be a perfect fit for the Pines. As former director of New York State Children’s Alliance and NYS Central Region Prevention Resource Center, she has experience in planning and networking with agencies that can benefit the Pines.
A state-regulated comfort care home, the Pines offers residents a homelike setting for the final months of life. It provides a comfortable, warm, alternate living arrangement for individuals who are deemed beyond curative care by their physician.
The Pines is an interfaith, intercommunity ministry that is privately funded. Income is generated by community support, donations, grants, memorials and voluntary contributions by residents and their families. Its staff consists of professional nurses and certified aides supported by volunteers. Trained volunteers choose from various opportunities to help, from cleaning, cooking and grounds maintenance to fundraising or bedside care. Volunteer assignments are as varied as the volunteers.
“My career goals have always been to enrich programs and support the persons that I serve,” Whitt said. “What better place to serve than the Pines of Peace?”
When asked why she decided to apply for the executive director’s job at the Pines, Whitt said that her experiences during the loss of her parents gave her personal understanding of the needs of families during a terminal illness and the comfort that a home like the Pines can offer.
Whitt emphasized the need for dedicated volunteers.
“This house runs on the compassion and love that our volunteers give every day,” she said. “It is a gift to provide a place of serenity and peace to residents and families as they walk this difficult path. We are blessed with many volunteers who help us every day, and we welcome new ones. I hope that anyone with an interest in any capacity would contact me and we can talk about a volunteer position that would be a great fit.”
Call (315) 524-2388 or email directorpop@gmail.com for information.