Clockwise, from top left: Kerry Anne Ducey with Evelyn Wisner whom she visited as a “Friendly Visitor”; at the 2016 Spring Breakfast; with Theresa Santoro at the 2019 Charity Bocce Tournament; and one of the designs that she judged during the 2019 Staff Door Decorating Contest.
Like many not-for-profits, RVNAhealth counts on a corps of volunteers to complement our staff with their professional expertise, fresh perspectives, and their good old-fashioned manpower. Or, in the case of Kerry Anne Ducey, HamletHub founder and long-time RVNAhealth volunteer — all three.
An RVNAhealth supporter for over a decade, Kerry Anne has played many different roles for the organization, always acting as a true ambassador for our mission and a champion of our team.
When did you start volunteering for RVNAhealth? About 12 years ago.
Why did you choose to volunteer for RVNAhealth? My first introduction to RVNAhealth was when Donna Warren, a longtime supporter and volunteer, asked me if I’d be interested in being a “friendly visitor.” It was a once-a-week commitment, and the only requirement was to sit and chat with Evelyn Wisner, a WWII Navy flight nurse. Wait? Really? I get to enjoy the company of a historical icon for one hour a week? And I don’t need to send emails, prepare dinner, or do laundry? I was in.
Of course, our chats often extended beyond an hour — but who’s counting? Evelyn became one of my closest friends and confidantes. She passed away in 2018 at the age of 89. I visited her for 10 years.
What volunteer role(s) do you do? I’m currently on the Board of Directors as well as chair of the Marketing Committee. I co-chaired the Spring Breakfast for three years with Lori Berisford. It was beyond fun and Lori and I became fast friends! Before I was co-chair, I volunteered on the Breakfast committee for many years. I’ve also been on the Autumn Dinner committee for several years.
One of my favorite volunteer duties is being an RVNAhealth “holiday door” judge at their annual competition! It’s an awesomely festive contest inside RVNAhealth that makes the season merry and bright! Twenty or more doors are decked with boughs of holly and creative themes — it’s not easy to choose the top door!
Wait, there’s more! This time, offsite at Gallo! I was honored to be a guest bartender alongside Chris Couri and Mary Kate Gobleck! Best mixology trio ever! And, give it up for Bocce team RVNAhealth! We may not throw with complete accuracy, but we have spirit! Thanks to Bocce master Mitch Ancona for granting us the Spirit Award for three consecutive years!
What is your favorite part about your role? RVNAhealth is truly a force for good, so if I can add even a small bit of value to their mission, I’m all hands on deck. Being on the Board has afforded me an inside look at a nonprofit that changes lives day after day. I saw firsthand how their awesome team of first responders answered the call when COVID came knocking. The entire organization jumped in with both feet and did all in their power to keep the community educated and safe. As a volunteer for many of the fundraising initiatives, I met some people who became my best friends. I mean that. MJ Heller, the Director of Philanthropy, always gathers an incredible group of people who roll up their sleeves and do what it takes — from late-night planning meetings to setting the stage for the Autumn gala, they give so much of themselves, all in the name of RVNAhealth. Thank you to MJ for all you do.
How have you seen RVNAhealth grow/change since you started volunteering? Oh, gosh – YES! When I began volunteering, RVNA (not yet RVNAhealth) was located in the “Old High School” building. The organization quickly began bursting at the seams under the leadership of President & CEO Theresa Santoro. In December of 2014, “the RVNA” broke ground on a brand-new, state-of-the- art facility on Governor Street. In 2016, the “Center for Exceptional Care” was complete. And, when you build it, and have great leadership, they will come!
The team at RVNA grew leaps and bounds, introducing physical therapy, nutrition, and a host of educational and wellness programs. It became a healthcare agency for the whole person – from birth to end of life. In 2018, hospice services were added to the suite of incredible care provided by the team.
RVNAhealth is the heartbeat of the community. Their free Wellness Fair has increased in popularity over the years, attracting people from all over the state. Their flu clinics have grown too. In August, RVNAhealth offers Well-Child Clinics for kids (many underinsured or without insurance) who are headed back to school and need their vaccinations.
The agency rebranded in 2019 and is now known throughout the region as RVNAhealth. The four “wells” define the agency: BeWell, GetWell, StayWell and ComfortWell.
RVNAhealth is infinitely grateful for the support and friendship of Kerry Anne Ducey. We invite others in the community who are interested in volunteering and supporting our mission to get in touch. And don’t be daunted by Kerry Anne’s energy. We have small assignments too!