PENN YAN — In the fall of 2009, while Patty and Ray Queen were seasonal residents on Seneca Lake, Patty started volunteering at Keuka Comfort Care Home.
When they made Yates County their permanent home the following year, they both got involved.
"I volunteered at a hospice in Ohio before we moved here, and we had the hospice experience with my grandfather," Patty said. "We benefited from people providing respite care for us. Since I didn't have any nursing skills, I still felt I could give something back."
Eight years later, they still enjoy supporting the Route 54 home near Penn Yan. Patty, who was an administrative assistant for an insurance company in Ohio, has done data entry at Keuka Comfort Care Home since she started volunteering and now does resident care as well.
Ray, a public utility worker for the city of North Canton, Ohio, has a different talent that comes in handy on the fundraising end — finding old furniture and restoring it for the home's annual garage sale, a major fundraiser that brings in close to $20,000 per year.
"Patty always has a smile and is willing to do anything. Ray has been instrumental in our garage sale for many years," said Donna Payne, director of Keuka Comfort Care Home. "They have an expertise in antiques, so their knowledge has helped so much with the garage sale event. Ray developed an 'Antique Corner' and has been known to pick up items along the road to refinish or refurbish with the home in mind."
The Queens, who live in the Himrod area, vacationed on Seneca Lake for years before moving there.
"We love this area. It's a slower pace than Canton," Ray said. "We would go for walks ... and all the neighbors would stop and ask 'Where are you from?' They were real friendly. I said to Patty 'This is the kind of community I would like to live in.'"
Payne said Keuka Comfort Care Home has about 45 volunteers in resident care and others who play different roles. She said the garage sale, which is held the weekend after Memorial Day at the Yates County Fairgrounds, has turned into a popular event.
The Queens said the local Mennonite community also plays a role.
"Last year, I don't think it would have come off if not for a group of young Mennonites who helped move big furniture," Ray said.