East End Hospice honored the Reverend Dr. Charles Cary, the spiritual leader of the Westhampton Presbyterian Church, with its 14th annual Good Samaritan Award on Saturday, June 29, during the organization’s annual gala held in Quogue.
Michael Pitcher, chairman of East End Hospice’s Board of Directors, explained that Rev. Cary has been supportive of the organization from its founding 27 years ago, when one of his parishioners, Dottie Savage, set out to establish a local hospice.
Rev. Cary, who served as pastor of the church from 1985 until 1999, recalled how Ms. Savage struggled to provide her husband Hugh, who was gravely ill with brain cancer, the care he needed while allowing him to be comfortable at home. She relied on the support of her fellow parishioners and friends, he said.
The experience later set Ms. Savage on a mission to establish a hospice that could offer residents the care they deserved in their final days, and using the money collected in a grassroots campaign and given in memory of her husband, she founded East End Hospice in 1986. Since then the organization has provided thousands of residents with home health care, as well as bereavement counseling.
The Board of Directors presented Rev. Cary with the award during its annual summer benefit, called “An Enchanted Evening,” at the Sandacres estate in Quogue.
“I accepted it on Saturday night on behalf of the church, which really rallied around a woman who needed the help of good neighbors in helping her husband die with dignity,” Rev. Cary said on Tuesday. “What I’m proud of most is that this church helped found East End Hospice.”
In 1999, Rev. Cary left the Quiogue church to teach at a seminary in Chicago for a time, and he also served at churches in Huntington and Naples, Florida, before returning to serve again at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church in 2010. He and his wife, Millie, raised three children, Abraham, Ben and Leah, on the South Fork.
He said the church, which dates back to 1742, is grounded in the community, and honors diversity.
“It’s a place where people from no faith, to deep and abiding faith, come to worship every Sunday, and I hope that it can continue to contain that kind of spirit,” he said. “We want to continue to serve the community well, and be a welcoming place for everyone regardless of circumstances, or means or color.
“You would never be excluded here because you didn’t believe the right things,” he continued. “We don’t have a litmus test here at the church. We haven’t had one, and don’t want to institute one for membership and participation.”
Hospice’s Board of Directors chooses a recipient of the Good Samaritan Award to acknowledge his or her dedication to humanitarian causes in the community. Rev. Cary contributes to many local charitable and volunteer organizations, including the Long Island Interfaith Council, Habitat for Humanity and the Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force. He also chairs the first capital campaign in support of the Long Island Council of Churches.
“He’s just been a huge and supportive member of this community in so many ways,” Mr. Pitcher said.
Rev. Cary is also a great example of the partnership the church has had with East End Hospice since its establishment. He co-chairs the organization’s ethics committee, and notes that many parishioners volunteer with East End Hospice. The church has also committed to contributing $25,000 to the new inpatient facility that is set to be built later this year off Meeting House Lane on Quiogue, and is dedicating one of the rooms in Ms. Savage’s memory.
“We’re excited about Hospice, we’re excited about this church, and I’m humbled to accept the Dottie Savage Award on behalf of this church,” Rev. Cary said.