Niagara Gazette

Opinion

May 15, 2013

DELUCA: New Hospice unit named for special guy

Niagara Gazette — I heard that Joe Ruffolo was just 16, working his first job in the hospital kitchen, when he met the man that he honored the other day.

That intrigued me. I imagined someone walking up to Ruffolo in the medical center hallway back then and saying “Kid, someday you’re going to be running this place ...”

That in itself might have been quite a revelation to young Joe, who went on to lead some pretty important hospitals in Buffalo before he returned about 10 years ago to take the reigns at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.  

But, to carry this imaginative exercise a little further, that person might have added “ ... and you see that guy over there — the one pushing the cart full of canned goods?  Well one day you’re going to name an entire wing of this place in his honor.”

That’s exactly what happened. 

Just the other day Ruffolo, CEO of Memorial, named the new hospice wing at Schoelkopf Health Center in honor of David Winker, an employee who worked at the hospital for 47 years until his death a couple of weeks ago.

Winker was special. He was the type of human around whom others revealed their character by the way they responded to him. To put it delicately, if it’s possible to do such a thing, he was intellectually challenged, but not handicapped. He had trouble reading and writing, but his did his job quite capably.

David biked to work every single day from his home in a trailer park near the expressway.

He would arrive three hours early so that he wouldn’t be late and then sit in the lobby until the cafeteria opened when he’d move near the kitchen until it was time to start work, shelving and storing all the food that came into the hospital.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Let's go Buffalo! It could be a whole lot of sweet nothings being whispered in our collective ears, but talk about a Buffalo Bills stadium in Niagara Falls, has us chanting "Let's Go Buffalo." Already there are doubters all over town, who just don't want to get their hopes up. We're hearing people say they're reminded of the time those developers of the Mall of America flirted with the Falls when they were shopping for a location for their super mall. They eventually chose another city, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    April 16, 2014

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: Gothic architecture -- a fitting structure for church services Before we get involved in the new church building, we need to know what happened to the former structure on First Street which was utilized for St. Peter's Church services for 30 years until 1880 when the present stone church was ready for use.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • GUEST VIEW: NTCC's 'regional approach' aids all local tourism

    April 14, 2014

  • GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. -- a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area -- are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.

    April 13, 2014

  • SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird? With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed 'Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?

    April 13, 2014

  • Rick Pfeiffer COPS NOTEBOOK: Road rage and turkey shooting

    It would be fair to say Ryan Jackson, of Youngstown, has had a difficult couple of weeks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Chronicling crime on the 'Island' Why is Rick Pfeiffer never around when you need him? The guy whose cubicle we shared during the Koop-Jasen-Rice era at Channel 4 now carefully chronicles criminals for the Gazette, notably those a few flakes short of Raisin Bran, but his crime wave is a mere ripple compared to ours.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The mirrors of my grandfather's fingernails What we do or don't do will have a greater impact upon our grandchildren's futures than what you might think.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page