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November 3, 2008

Retired English Professor Honored by Community Caregivers

Retired Professor of English Donald Stauffer

Professor Emeritus of English Donald Stauffer will be honored with an award from Community Caregivers on Nov. 7. (Photo, courtesy of Community Caregivers.) 

Donald Stauffer taught English literature at the University at Albany for 30 years, including graduate courses on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. When he retired in 1994, he found himself looking for a way to give back to the community.  He discovered a newly-formed group called Altamont Community Caregivers, which was helping neighbors with transportation to medical appointments.

"That sounded to me like a good thing to do, so I went to see the program director, and told her I would like to join," said Stauffer, who helps lead the publicity committee. Today he devotes upwards of fifteen hours a week lending a helping hand by driving neighbors to their doctor's office or raising awareness within the community about the services the organization provides. Stauffer, who is from Altamont, has seen the group expand beyond the borders of the village, which is part of the reason he and his colleagues now go by just "Community Caregivers."

On Nov. 7, Stauffer will be among the honorees at the Community Caregivers Gala, where he will receive the Victor G. Ross Community Caregivers Founders Award. The award recognizes the highest level of honor by Community Caregivers and is named for Victor Ross, who co-founded Community Caregivers in 1994. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Albany Country Club.

"In order to fulfill our mission, Community Caregivers needs basically two things: volunteers and funding – in that order. But we can attract neither of them unless people know about us—and that's where public relations come in and where I've put my energies," said Stauffer. "I like the work because it is so different from the classroom, and yet as a writer and a teacher of writing I feel I have something valuable to contribute."

"Don lives the spirit and mission of Community Caregivers, helping to build a caring community," said Executive Director Diane Cameron. "He is an inspiration to staff and the board in the way he is of service to others. He is a wonderful man and a great University at Albany ambassador."

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