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Generous donation leads to new van for Queens Manor

Pictured with the new Queens Manor van are, from left, resident Avis Doubleday, driver Peter Howard, resident Catherine Rudderham and recreation director Jill Cole.
Pictured with the new Queens Manor van are, from left, resident Avis Doubleday, driver Peter Howard, resident Catherine Rudderham and recreation director Jill Cole. - Vernon Oickle

Residents of Queens Manor Home for Special Care in Liverpool will continue to enjoy the freedom of the road, thanks to a generous donation from a benefactor with past ties to the facility.

During a special event held early last month, Queens Manor executive director Sandy Humphrey revealed that a donation from Joyce Bledsoe, whose parents were once residents of the home, had bequeathed a significant amount of money to the manor to be used for a purpose that would benefit the residents of the home.

 “Joyce’s father and mother [Orrin and Jennie Conrad] lived here at Queens Manor when the manor first opened. Joyce’s uncle also became a resident here later in his life,” Humphrey explained.

As a result, Humphrey pointed out, Bledsoe was a frequent visitor to Queens Manor during those early years. “She became very appreciative of the care we provided to her beloved family.”

She added that during that time, Bledsoe developed a fond relationship with Tara Smith, the home’s recently retired director of recreation, and the two kept in touch long after Bledsoe’s parents and uncle passed away.

“To say that we are appreciative of this significant donation to Queens Manor would be an understatement,” said Humphrey. “Like other long-term care facilities, we are being challenged to continuously do more with less.”

It just so happens, she explained, that five months earlier, the home’s old van, a 2004, was deemed unsuitable for the road for the home’s purposes, leaving them in a quandary. They donated that vehicle to the Queens Care Society, which, in turn, will upgrade the van and use it for their public transportation project.

“That was the only way a majority of our 61 residents could get out into the community,” Humphrey said. “It was difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that we simply did not have the funds to replace it. We had reluctantly resigned ourselves to this new reality for our residents.”

However, she said, Bledsoe’s estate donation to Queens Manor resulted in the board of directors quickly agreeing that the purchase of a new van would be an appropriate use of the generous donation. Combining Bledsoe’s bequeath with other donations from members of the community, they were able to purchase a brand-new 2018 van that could accommodate seven mobile residents and two in wheelchairs. In total, the new van costed $85,000.

“It is important for us to remember and appreciate Joyce’s acknowledgement of the good work we all strive to do here in support of our residents,” Humphrey said. “This donation is recognition of the work of all former and current staff and volunteers at Queens Manor.”

Humphrey is confident the new van will result in thousands of smiles on the faces of current residents and those who will become residents in the coming years.

“We are sincerely grateful at being remembered [by Bledsoe],” she said. “Her donation will make our residents a part of the community again.”

Jill Cole, the Manor’s current recreation director, explained that without this new van, the residents would have been confined to the home as this is the only transportation they can access.

“This van gives our residents a way to get out in the community,” she said. “It will allow us to take residents to appointments, community events or for just a drive. The residents really enjoy just getting in the van [and] going anywhere. It doesn’t always have to be for anything specific.”

The van, Cole added, connects residents to the larger community.

“We are extremely grateful and appreciative for everyone’s support,” she said. “This transportation greatly adds to the quality of our residents’ lives.”

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