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On the Bright Side

May 22, 2014

Bassett, Beekman Boys honor area volunteers

Friends of Bassett Medical Center and the “Fabulous Beekman Boys” gathered Wednesday for a luncheon honoring more than 150 dedicated volunteers.

The theme of Bassett’s annual event, held at Cooperstown’s Otesaga Resort Hotel, was “Volunteers: Our Greatest Natural Resource.” Volunteers were treated to lunch and mingled with The Beekman Boys, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, who said they know first-hand the importance of volunteering.

Partners Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell are best known for their reality TV show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which airs on the Cooking Channel. 

The pair moved to Sharon Springs from New York City in 2007, bought the historic Beekman 1802 Farm and Mansion, renovated it and created what has now become one of “the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country,” according to the Nasdaq Stock Market. 

Before moving to Sharon Springs, Ridge was a physician, he said Wednesday. 

“Having worked in health care, I know how important volunteers are,” Ridge said. “Doctors and nurses don’t always have time to take care of all the customer service-related responsibilities, but volunteers can help provide that.”

Kara Travis, senior director of Bassett’s patient services, said Bassett Medical Center relies heavily on volunteers to support its staff. Volunteers provide more than 15,000 hours of service to Basssett each year, she said. Many of Bassett’s volunteers used to work at the hospital, and came back to help after retiring.

“Volunteers are often the first impression that people have of our organization,” Travis said. “They greet visitors and patients with a friendly smile.”

Kilmer-Purcell’s grandmother volunteered at a nursing home for the majority of her elderly life, he said. The couple said they were delighted to speak at the luncheon because Bassett is the facility they would use if they ever needed care. 

During filming for the first season of their show, one of the cameramen fell out of a window, Kilmer-Purcell said. He spent more than a week at Bassett.

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