Long-time Town Shop director remembered
A new wooden bench along the scenic path of Erie Canal Park in Camillus commemorates the life of David E. Vermilya, who managed the Town Shop Youth Center in Camillus with his wife, Cheryl, for 46 years before his death in March.
Past and present counselors with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Education Program (ADAPEP) chipped in for the bench and a memorial plaque to honor Vermilya’s “monumental and positive influence on thousands of teen-agers from Camillus,”said Penny Williams, youth development coordinator for the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, an agency that oversees ADAPEP with the Onondaga County Department of Mental Health.
Cheryl Vermilya, who lived with her husband along the Seneca River in Van Buren, said she was especially grateful for the bench because her husband loved the outdoors and used to hike and kayak with teen-agers along the canal.
“It is quintessential David,” she said.
The bench is especially noticeable because it lies near the Thompson Road aqueduct historical marker, not far from the Sims Store Museum.
Vermilya, who was well known in the Central New York counseling community, died at the age of 68 after a short illness.
He was born in McGraw and later graduated in 1966 from Fayetteville-Manlius High School.
In 2000, he and Cheryl received the Syracuse Post-Standard Achievement Award because of their long-time dedication to youth through their work at the Town Shop.
One year later, David was inducted into the Fayetteville-Manlius High School Hall of Distinction for his service to teens.
Over the years, the Town Shop became the go-to place for local youth to relax, enjoy recreational activities, receive help on their homework, attend cultural events, perform community service and go on field trips.