---- — CHEERS to the Foundation of CVPH and Auxiliary for providing many years of holiday fun for area children with its annual Easter Egg Hunt.
The event, which draws more than 500 kids each year, has been held for more than a decade, possible closer to 20 years. The hospital has a photo of Dawn Canning, one of the early Easter bunnies, in front of the old ER entrance before it was torn down in 1997. The Auxiliary of CVPH, under volunteers Barb McMartin and Canning, wanted to offer an Easter egg hunt as a way to give back to the community. When the auxiliary disbanded years later, the Foundation of CVPH assumed much of its activities, including the Egg Hunt.
It’s a massive undertaking to put on the event, what with 10,000 eggs needing to be prepared each year. The foundation bought the 310 pounds of chocolate needed this year to stuff all those plastic eggs, which were donated by Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart. The bunny’s helpers need to get started back in January to have the eggs assembled in time for Easter. This year’s stuffers included Jerry and Edda Kelly, Gayle Cologne, Molly Channell, Sue Connick, MaryAnn Williamson and Greg Delameter. Then comes the job of spreading the colorful eggs across the CVPH lawn early in the morning on the day of the event. Students from Clinton County Youth Court, Plattsburgh State and Clinton Community College handled that chore this year, and the CV-TEC security program monitored safety for the Egg Hunt. For many years now, Martha Passino LaBarge, a pediatric nurse practitioner with Plattsburgh Pediatrics, has stepped into a costume to give out hugs as the much-loved Easter Bunny. Hal Mero of the CVPH Security Department serves as the master of ceremonies. The grounds have to be prepared for the arrival of hundreds of egg hunters, and Grounds Supervisor Craig Von Bargen and his staff, Dana Burl, Jason Reil and Don Blake, handle those duties. Michelle Senecal, development assistant of the foundation, coordinates the entire event, and Media Central preserves it on video, just in case anyone misses what one hospital described as “the fastest minute in Plattsburgh.”
In recent years, the foundation has added a separate section for children age 3 and younger. Kids through second grade can take part in the Easter Egg Hunt, so the little ones are at a distinct disadvantage if they have to compete with older youths who fan out at top speed over the hospital lawn. It was smart thinking to add a section where toddlers can take their time choosing eggs. The CVPH Foundation Egg Hunt leaves all participants feeling sunny side up.
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