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
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
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