By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star
---- — At Home Care Inc. and Hugh Henderson were named Distinguished Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year, respectively, Thursday afternoon by the Otsego County Chamber.
The announcement was made at the headquarters of At Home Care on Elm Street in Oneonta.
“We are excited and pleased to receive this recognition and thankful to have our corporate home in Oneonta … where we will continue to provide the highest quality of in home care to the residents of the city and surrounding communities,” said Nicholas J. Nicoletta, board chairman of At Home Care and corporate vice president and chief financial officer for the Bassett Healthcare Network, which operates the home health care nonprofit.
Henderson, a 24-year member of the county Board of Representatives and 12-year member of the Otsego Town Board, said he, too, was honored by Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award.
“I’m pretty honored by it and surprised,” he said.
“Hugh has been a member of the Otsego County Industrial Development Agency, a farmer for many years (and) has a distinguished career as a civil servant … and has just been of service to the county for close to 36 years,” Barbara Ann Heegan, executive director of the chamber, said in announcing Henderson’s honor.
“There are a lot of tough choices that have to be made,” Henderson said when asked about where he sees Otsego County going. “Keeping the (county) budget in line, and I think this proposal to sell the nursing home (The Manor), I don’t see an alternative to that.”
Heegan said At Home Care received numerous nominations for the NBT Bank Distinguished Business of the Year.
The service “has had a substantial impact in the community,” she said. “They demonstrate successful business and economic growth.”
At Home Care, which provides nursing, physical therapy and other home health care to about 800 patients, was founded in 1987 as a collaboration between what was then called M.I. Bassett Hospital, now known as Bassett Medical Center, in Cooperstown and A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital of Oneonta. Both are now part of the Bassett Healthcare Network.
The nonprofit has nearly 200 employees, most of them spread throughout the four counties it serves — Otsego, Delaware, Herkimer and Chenango — said Laurie Neander, At Home Care’s chief executive officer. The service plans to expand into Schoharie County, beginning next month, she added.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” she said. “It’s means a lot to many people.”
The award is especially validating for the founding members, Fox Hospital and Bassett Hospital, which “had the foresight in the mid-’80s to recognize the value of a home health care organization to their continuum of care,” she said.
The awards will be formally presented at the chamber’s annual dinner March 22 at the Hunt Union Ballroom on the campus of the State University College at Oneonta.