Submitted by St. Luke Health Services
OSWEGO — They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For St. Luke resident Donald Kinney and volunteer Harrison Wilde, their photographs certainly spoke to judges of the annual New York Association of Home and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA) Art Contest.
The annual art contest draws hundreds of entries from NYASHA member organizations of not-for-profit senior living and service providers from across New York State. This year NYAHSA received 203 entries for judging in all genres from photography to paintings to mosaic tiles and wood carving.
Kinney and Wilde’s pieces were selected as Gallery Award winners, to be part of an exhibit that is on display at NYAHSA’s headquarters in Latham and available for viewing virtually on the NYAHSA Web site (www.nyahsa.org).
Both Kinney and Wilde submitted a photograph for judging as part of the contest. Both used Oswego’s famous sunsets as a theme in their photo compositions. Kinney’s photograph entitled, “Stairway to Heaven,” captured a sunset taken from St. Luke, looking west over the City of Oswego. Wilde’s photograph captured a young man in the act of proposing marriage to a young lady on the break-wall on Lake Ontario.
What sets the two apart is the fact that while Wilde is an accomplished photographer with many professional awards to his credit while Kinney is an amateur who only developed an interest in photography fairly recently.
Wilde, who volunteers weekly at St. Luke Health Services, has a fine arts degree from SUNY Oswego and has always done free-lance photography. He was a combat photographer in the U.S. Air Force before going to work as staff photographer at the Palladium-Times in Oswego. He retired from the newspaper in 2009 after 26 years.
When asked about volunteering at St. Luke, he said, “I am glad to make a difference in someone’s life at St. Luke. I walk away with a good feeling that lasts the whole week.”
Kinney is a retired pharmacist who never touched a camera until he came to St. Luke Heath Services. Before he retired, 12-hour work days, marriage and eight children left little time for him to indulge in a hobby.
Today, however, Kinney not only enjoys his hobby, but said it is one he had never even considered in the past. Now he can always be found wielding his camera, his work admired and his skill often requested – which goes to show it is never too late in life to try something when you get the whim.
Kinney has been a resident at St. Luke for three years after complications with his feet confined him to a wheelchair. But faced with circumstances that might cause another to become depressed and give up, Kinney chose to continue an active life and learn a new skill. Now his work is viewed and appreciated throughout St. Luke.
“People ask me to make them copies of my photos for them all the time,” he said.
“Along with his scenic shots, Don always makes himself available to take photos at the various events held at St. Luke,” said Debra Robillard, volunteer coordinator. “He prints them, brings them to me so I can post them for everyone to enjoy. I truly appreciate his skill and devotion.”
Kinney and Wilde traveled to Latham recently as guests of honor for an exhibit reception and open house at NYAHSA offices. Also receiving recognition for their works were St. Luke volunteers Sierra Rose Reveron and Beth Clark; each of whom won Staff Choice Awards. The exhibition featured 70 selected pieces of art on display, including Staff Choice paintings and the Gallery Award winners.