CONWAY — The Betty C. Ketchum Foundation recently announced the appointment of five community members to its board of trustees.
The foundation’s signature achievement was the opening of the Mount Washington Valley Adult Day Center in Center Conway in the fall of 2019. With a committed team of volunteer trustees, the Betty C. Ketchum Foundation will continue to serve the needs of older adults, those with dementia and their caregivers. The new trustees will join Board President and Co-Founder Norman Cloutier.
The move to appoint a full board of trustees was necessitated by an upcoming change in operations of the Adult Day Center. It was originally leased to and operated by Memorial Hospital. Recently, the hospital and the Ketchum Foundation determined that the Center would be better able to serve the community if it were operated exclusively by the Betty C. Ketchum Foundation.
Cloutier said, “I am impressed with the caliber of individuals we have attracted to the foundation board. They represent a broad array of talent and experience."
The new trustees are Rachel Damon of Fryeburg, Maine; Steve Woodcock of Center Conway; Sue Staples Smith of Chocorua; Wayne Grenier of Ossipee; and Ashlee Chaine of Fryeburg.
Damon was first introduced to the Adult Day Center while the development manager at Memorial Hospital. “The whole project embraced the ideal of offering care for elders and respite for their caregivers," she said.
"The building, its location and surroundings in Conway is spectacular in every way possible. ”
Damon said she understands personally the urgent and critical need for skilled and compassionate care. Her son, Ben, age 28, was permanently injured as a passenger in a car that struck a moose in 2015. He is a quadriplegic.
Offering a strong background in fundraising and development, Damon spent 14 years at Fryeburg Academy asIT their director of public relations and alumni and as development manager at Memorial Hospital for three years.
Woodcock became interested when he drove by the Center Conway facility as it was being constructed. After seeing friends struggle with spouses with Alzheimers, as well as his father’s caregiving experience with his mother, he wanted to get involved.
“When I was growing up, my mother was ill for a long time after a stroke. I know how taxing it was for my dad 24/7 for many years,” Woodcock said.
A retired high school principal, college teacher and 20 year school board member, he is currently a first-term state representative for Carroll County District 2.
Smith knows the struggles of caregiving personally, having cared for her late husband, Richard, as he battled dementia. “If only the Adult Day Center had existed four years ago, it would have made a huge difference in the quality of my husband, Richard’s, life,” she said.
Smith is a retired health care IT professional. She will be guiding the upcoming technology conversion efforts taking place at the Adult Day Center.
Wayne Grenier also saw firsthand the devastation of Alzheimer's disease when his father was diagnosed with the disease 11 years ago. After his father’s death, Grenier decided to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. Now working as the assistant general manager at Indian Mound Golf Course, he is directing his fundraising efforts to the Adult Day Center. He presented a check for $1,300 to the center last fall.
He looks forward to organizing a tournament for the center again in the future. He added, “ It’s a great facility, I’m so pleased to be part of it. It’s so good for the community.”
Chaine brings a wealth of relevant experience as the community outreach liaison for Visiting Nurse Homecare & Hospice of Carroll County and Western Maine.
Her interest is both personal and professional. “My grandmother had dementia and was from a rural Maine town with no other options but a nursing facility," Chaine said.
A graduate of the MWV Leadership program and a Fryeburg Rotary member, Chaine said: “I think that there is a great need for this resource in the community. It bridges the gap between visiting nurses and long term care. It makes what we are able to offer to people in our community whole.”
The Adult Day Center provides a safe and therapeutic setting for its guests and a welcome respite for families and caregivers. Having reopened under new COVID-19 guidelines on June 29, the center will continue offering all of the current programs while working to expand the services and guest capacity.
Wendy Ketchum, co-founder and daughter of Betty C. Ketchum, said: “As an independent non-profit facility guided by the trustees of the Betty C. Ketchum Foundation, the Mount Washington Valley Adult Day Center will be better positioned to obtain financial support from charitable foundations as well as greater flexibility to respond to local needs and opportunities.”
Born and raised in Trenton, N.J., Betty was the only child of George Corliss and Mabel Brown Crossley. She was educated at the George School of Newtown, Pa., and was a 1943 graduate of Wellesley College with a degree in art history. She was married for 57 years to Dr. William Francis Ketchum, who passed away on April 6, 2003, and they raised three children together. Her strong, independent spirit is greatly missed by all who knew her.
For more information, go to mwvadultdaycenter.org or call (603) 356-4980.