Chenango County Honorees
A resident of Norwich, Mr. Lawrence Shaw is a lifelong resident of New York State. A graduate of Clarkson, he worked for 34 ½ years as a civil engineer for the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). He is married to Marcia, whom he met while both were students in Potsdam, and they have two sons and four grandchildren.
During Lawrence's 19 years of civic engagement, he has provided transportation for medical appointments to county residents in need driving 15-17,000 miles each year. After transporting his mother for cancer treatments, he recognized the same need existed for many others and started volunteering for the Cancer Society's Road to Recovery in 1994. For many in Chenango County, specialty care is only available within a minimum of a 50 mile radius. Besides making trips for in-county medical appointments, he transports patients to Albany, Cortland, Syracuse, Buffalo, Binghamton, Sayre, Pennsylvania, New York City, and has gone as far as Boston. Besides using his own vehicle and gas, and doing the driving, he also acts as an advocate for many of his riders. There have been occasions when his rider has needed emergency hospitalization, and Lawrence stayed with the person until they were settled. He has volunteered since 1994, or 19 years.
Lawrence had no specific expectation when he started. He likes to read, so the waiting time for medical visits is not an issue, as he settles in with a good book. The greatest reward for Lawrence has been meeting all the different people, both his riders and the medical providers.
"There are lots of interesting life stories and histories, and you learn a lot about people driving with someone for thousands of miles," he said.
Born in Maine and living most of her life in Allegany County, Marcia Shaw now resides in Norwich with husband Lawrence. She met her husband while a student at SUNY Potsdam, and after graduation Marcia taught music for almost 20 years. She has been a substitute teacher since her retirement in 2000. She is the mother of two sons and has four grandchildren.
After retiring from teaching in 2000, Marcia became involved with volunteering to drive people for medical appointments when her husband Lawrence "couldn't be in two places at the same time." The number of requests for assistance became so large that they started scheduling trips individually. They still might travel together, but are often going in different directions. Having worked with the Cancer Society in the past, and now as an RSVP volunteer, Marcia has been responding to requests and referrals from the Area Agency on Aging for the last 4-5 years, and coordinates schedules for herself and for her husband. Marcia also acts as an advocate for many of the riders at their appointments, helping to complete hard-to-read forms or comprehend registration forms, and helping patients understand the instructions they are given upon discharge.
She has been volunteering since for the past 13 years. Marcia started volunteering, without expectations of getting any return, because she saw a need. But this has become a personal ministry for both her and her husband.
Her greatest reward is the appreciation expressed by those in need and the friendships that are made. The reward is in helping people, friends, who are experiencing serious medical situations. In giving you receive and get more back than the gas and time we give.