Geneseo Is For Tomorrow

Harley Chaffee Receives Community Caring Award

October 2, 2008

GIFT Foundation board members proudly announced that the 2008 Community Caring Award recipient is Harley Chaffee. The award was established to recognize someone in the community who has an extraordinary commitment to public service and social responsibility, and is a positive role model.

Harley Chaffee demonstrates public service, social responsibility, selflessness and a long term commitment to service and the betterment of society while making a significant impact on the lives of others.  That is a pretty broad statement about a volunteer who continually turns the focus on others.

Harley Chafee began his volunteer service at Hillcrest Home in 1965.  Like most volunteers, it started as a small act of kindness for others.  He brought communion to the residents.  But, Harley’s most valuable volunteer talent is not in the tangible (there are many tangibles), it is his ability to inspire and include others into the volunteer effort.

Harley Chafee has been at the heart and soul of Hillcrest Home’s volunteer efforts that has seen the ranks swell to cover the restoration of the original Hillcrest Poor Farm cemetery, bird aviaries, nurses’ stations, quilts and more.  He is always quick to point out the other people responsible for the actual projects but it is Harley who saw the resident or Home’s need, saw the volunteer talent and put it together to get the best for both.

When asked about social responsibility and selflessness, he simply stated, “Could you say the husband terms his love for his wife in “social responsibility and selflessness?”  “No,” he continues, “it is something inside that makes you just HAVE to provide those things.”  Harley realizes volunteers have a heart for what they offer others.  “Once they start” (and Harley can get them started) “they just have to do for others.”

Harley Chaffee also has the love for others, especially the Hillcrest residents, that shines when he talks about the projects he has either organized, brought others to fulfill, or been directly involved.

Harley Chaffee has been the best organizational leader the volunteer world has seen.  He is the glue that holds them together, the idea that gets off the ground, and the follow-up that is a job well done.  For himself, it is a spirituality of giving to others.  For the residents and staff, it is an effort that will be visible in the physical plant and in the hearts of many far after Harley retires from this labor of love.

Harley Chaffee has given others an opportunity to give “purpose to their lives through the helping of others.”  He notes, “I mention a need and they go beyond our expectations.”

Harley Chaffee goes beyond expectations and he does so while crediting everyone else involved.

The GIFT Community Caring Award would allow Harley Chafee to receive Hillcrest Home’s residents and staff appreciation while allowing him to deflect that thanks to the Home and to others.  We at Hillcrest Home wish to share Harley’s many volunteer attributes as an example to others of what they might achieve if they look outside themselves at the needs, talents, and gifts of others.  Look up selflessness in the dictionary and you will see Harley Chaffee’s picture although it’s a picture of the back of him pointing to others.