They called it the house that love built. In the 14 years since its construction in Syracuse, the Ronald McDonald House of Central New York has served hundreds of families of children with serious injuries or illnesses. Last Friday night, the house thanked those who served the children themselves.
At its fifth annual Homecoming Party, held at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway in Liverpool from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27, the Ronald McDonald House hosted some 300 guests. Among them were 80 neonatal and pediatric nurses, all of whom were on hand to be recognized by the house for their work with children.
"We started the event five years ago for our 20th anniversary," said Beth Trunfio, executive director of the house. "We've done it ever since."
In addition to honoring nurses, the event is a major fundraiser for the house, collecting money for the house and the families it shelters. The event featured a dinner and silent and live auctions. All materials were provided by corporate sponsors.
A home away from home
The Ronald McDonald House of CNY serves families from Onondaga, Madison, Oswego and Broome counties. The 16-bedroom house on Genesee Street, built in 1982, provides shelter for families with seriously ill or injured children being treated at area hospitals. The president of its board, Paul Ross, is also the house's founder.
"I was a McDonald's guy," Ross said. "I'm still a McDonald's guy. They were starting to build the houses everywhere, and it seemed natural to have one in Syracuse. I got involved with a parents' group and we built one here."
"At Ronald McDonald House, families have the opportunity to sit at the kitchen counter like they do at home," Trunfio said. "They can talk about their days and their journeys through their children's illnesses with other people who've been there."