Colleen Fancher is the Eagle Bulletin's Volunteer of the Month for May 2014.
Jamesville The Central New York area is a better place because of people like Colleen Fancher. Fancher was born in Binghamton and spent her adolescent years in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Ridley-Lowell School of Business, she became an insurance agent, then transferred to Syracuse as an insurance adjuster for the next 16 years.
Fancher began volunteering when she was in high school, where she and other student grew flowers and brought them to patients in nursing homes. Years later she volunteered in the local fire department with the youth, as well as a Catholic education teacher and Brownie Girl Scout troop leader. All volunteer activities were geared around being a positive mentor or teacher to youth.
Fancher is also a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for abused and neglected children in Onondaga County. This position required months of indoctrination and classes before she was sworn in by a family court judge in Onondaga County.
When Fancher’s son was 8 years old he developed Meningitis that required hospital stays and recuperation for over a one-and-a-half year period. She was fortunate that her boss allowed her to work just two days a week so she could care for her son without losing her job. After things got back to normal, Fancher decided that somehow she wanted to be in the position that she could help other people in a similar situation. This led her to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Syracuse.
The RMH is a place where families whose children are receiving life-threatening medical care can have a comfortable place to stay while their child is either in the hospital or in an outpatient receiving treatment. Many of these children are treated at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, while others are treated at Crouse and St. Joseph hospitals. There is a shuttle service to take parents from RMH to the hospitals.