Planned Giving

Helen Duryea, 92, Gives to PBMC and Receives So Much in Return

Helen Duryea
Helen Duryea

Helen Duryea is 92 years young and has been visiting the family summer home near Peconic Bay Medical Center since she was 4 years old. Though she has never had occasion to use PBMC Health facilities, she has been a donor since 2003—and has established two charitable gift annuities with Peconic Bay as part of her smart estate planning.

“This legacy thing (as Helen describes the gift annuity program) is wonderful,” says Helen, who joined the Heritage Society in 2016. “It provides me with an income; and in the event that times are bad with the stock market, it is good insurance to have a steady income.

“When I die, my contribution to the hospital will benefit my friends and neighbors out there. Some of them are young, you know—only 50 or so! I have wonderful neighbors, and many of them have used the hospital—which does a great job. The facilities are excellent, and it’s important to have a hospital for that area. If you are critically ill, every minute counts.”

Helen experienced that situation firsthand when she was a teenager when one of her friends who was visiting her cabin developed appendicitis and had to be rushed to a hospital that was half an hour away. This was in 1944, seven years before the construction of Central Suffolk Hospital—the precursor of Peconic Bay Medical Center (which is just six miles from Helen’s summer home in South Jamesport).

Helen’s permanent residence is at the other end of Long Island in West Hempstead, where she has lived in the same house her entire life; it was built by her father, a farmer, before she was born.

“My father bought property in South Jamesport in 1932, when I was 4 years old and in bad health,” Helen recalls. “He thought the summer air would be better for me out there, and of course he was right.”

Helen’s father eventually built four beach cabins in South Jamesport. Helen and her two sisters each inherited one, and Helen has since inherited both of her sisters’ summer homes—so she now owns three. Two are still strictly summer houses, with no heat. The third she can visit year-round.

Helen went to business school after high school and got a job as a secretary for an insurance agency. She stayed with the agency her entire career—and eventually became the owner, working there for 42 years until her retirement in 1988. She also sold real estate. About a decade ago she responded to a marketing piece from PBMC Health about gift annuities—and soon heard from Maureen Brady Curzio, Senior Director of Development Operations.

“Maureen came to West Hempstead to see me, and we worked it out how to make my legacy gift,” Helen says. “It was quite easy, really.”

While Helen doesn’t visit her beach residence as much as she used to, she has many fond memories.

“I have a young man who occasionally drives me out, and I always enjoy being there,” Helen says. “I have been so very fortunate in my life: caring parents, loving sisters, wonderful friends—and South Jamesport, which means a great deal to me. I feel very blessed.”

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