Pre-K Students Deliver Hugs, Smiles and Cards

Source: CNYHomepage

He was shot. 8 months later, he walks again

Suffering from two gunshot wounds and lying in the street, Stanley Auclaire tried to pull himself to the side of the road on an early June afternoon in Loris, South Carolina.

It was at that moment that the Millerton native realized he couldn't feel his legs.

"I was prepared for the possibility that I may spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair," Auclaire said. "It didn't shock me, I just wanted to see my kids grow up."

On Wednesday, after seven months of rehabilitation in the City of Poughkeepsie at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at River Valley, he'll return to his South Carolina home to see those kids, 9-year-old Jaden Auclaire and 7-year-old Brylie Auclaire.

The 32-year-old has not only regained the ability to walk, but is practicing climbing stairs.

With custom-built braces supporting his legs and his physical therapist Rhea Jane Lopez at his side, Auclaire takes one deliberate step at a time. Auclaire concentrates on the placement of his feet as he moves down the steps, focusing on his form as well as his speed.

Auclaire came to the city for his rehabilitation at the request of his mother, who works at MidHudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. While he was never told recovery was impossible, he knew there was a long road ahead.

His kids, he said, were his biggest motivation throughout.

"We were always outside playing football and basketball," Auclaire said, "and I wanted to do that again."

On June 8, Auclaire was returning home around 3 p.m. when he saw a man named Zachary Green on his street "waving a gun around," he said.

Auclaire recognized Green as an "ex-girlfriend's ex-boyfriend" and confronted him. Green shot him twice in the abdomen.

A helicopter flew Auclaire to Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach where he went through eight hours of surgery, spent 12 days in a coma and remained in the intensive care unit for an additional 20 days.

An MRI scan showed that scar tissue had pinched a spinal nerve. Initially, even the basics were out of reach for him.

"When I started this, I weighed about 100 pounds," Auclaire said. "I was nothing but bones."

Before he could even consider walking, Auclaire needed to work on his balance and core strength, Lopez said.

"We needed to guide his knees so he would be able to stand straight," Lopez said. "Otherwise there's a chance his legs would just buckle."

It was a slow but steady process. Auclaire recalled days early in the process where he was in too much pain to even move.

From simply being able to get up, to taking a few steps with the help of railings, to taking short walks on the sidewalk outside The Grand, Auclaire relied on small milestones.

Auclaire isn't back to where he was before the shooting. While he can move more comfortably, he still relies on a wheelchair as his primary mode of transportation. Uphill slopes still provide a challenge.

But, Michael Hurtes, assistant administrator at The Grand, said, "Ask anyone about Auclaire and they will tell you he is determined."

Geoffrey Wilson:, 845-437-4882, Twitter: Geoff_LW

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal

Former Paraplegic Walks Out of Rehabilitation Center in Poughkeepsie

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Stanley Auclaire was shot in July of last year. One of the bullets fractured his spine, and he was paralyzed from the waist down.

"I got shot twice in my stomach, and then I was 12 days in a coma and 43 days in ICU," said former paraplegic Stanley Auclaire.

Doctors told him he would never walk again. But on Wednesday, Auclaire, 32, was discharged from the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at River Valley in Poughkeepsie.

"Been down here working with the therapy crew getting me to walk, taking my first steps and everything and pushing forward, and not giving up," Auclaire said.

"He showed tremendous determination, work ethic and working hand-in-hand with our outstanding team at the grand," said Dan Muskin, the regional vice president of Grand Healthcare System. "Walking out of here is a true miracle."

When he got to the rehab center, Auclaire immediately started working on regaining mobility in both his legs.

"I'm already past my goals. I was just hoping maybe I could be able to walk around in my house and then be in a wheelchair outside, but I can walk a lot more than that now," Auclaire said.

Rehabilitation therapists said Auclaire has been working tirelessly over the past six months to get back on his feet.

"Stanley was very determined when he first got in here. He was going to walk again and he was going to leave here that way," said Director of Rehabilitation Valerie Tucci.

"At first, it was just starting out stretching my legs and then trying to stand up, and get my balance on the balance bars, and then eventually, it turned into taking a couple of steps at a time," Auclaire said.

Auclaire was fitted for custom leg braces, which provide the additional support he needs to walk.

"I can actually stand by myself for a little while and keep my balance and walk further," Auclaire said.

Specialists said Auclaire is a big motivator for other patients.

"He comes down every day with a smile on his face. Even with he's done with therapy, he will still come down and work out more," Tucci said.

Auclaire said this is just the first step on his road to recovery.

"I'm gonna keep pushing, walking even if I got to walk outside and I fall, and get back up. Just keep going," Auclaire said.

Auclaire said he will return to South Carolina in the coming weeks to be reunited with his family.

Heritage Health Care Center Plans $2 Million Renovation Project, Plans to Hire Additional Staff

Owners/Operators of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome Helping to Chart New Course for Utica Nursing Facility.

Heritage Health Care Center, a 220-bed skilled nursing facility with a 150-year history of providing quality health care to Central New York families, plans to spend more than $2 million on comprehensive renovations, as well as upgrade its staff training and education as part of the new board of directors’ sweeping vision to reinvigorate the facility.

In the coming months, the non-profit facility, which is located at 1657 Sunset Ave., will begin remodeling all resident guest rooms throughout the building, as well as the facility’s patient care area. Work will also begin shortly on constructing a new state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym to provide the highest level of physical and occupational therapy to its residents. The facility has already begun hiring more staff to provide the highest level of clinical care to the residents of Utica and beyond.

“We are extremely excited about our new board of directors,” said Board President Harvey Liebman. “They have brought an enhanced level of energy to the facility and are committed to helping us stay true to our mission, which is to provide our guests with quality professional and restorative services that will improve their independence, dignity and self-esteem.”

In an effort to streamline its operations and become more competitive in the Central New York marketplace, Heritage Health Care Center has initiated a consulting arrangement with The Grand Healthcare System, one of New York’s leading healthcare companies. The Grand Healthcare System, which regionally owns and operates The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Rome and The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Chittenango, has a long track record of improving underperforming nursing homes across the state through strong leadership, training and capital improvements, renovations and equipment upgrades.

In addition to its Rome and Chittenango properties, the Queens-based company operates all-inclusive healthcare facilities in Guilderland, Pawling, Poughkeepsie and Queens. These nursing homes offer a full continuum of premium healthcare and specialty care services, including amputee therapy, bariatric rehabilitation, cardiac therapy, complex medical care programs, hip repair and joint replacement recovery programs, IV antibiotic therapy, medical nutrition therapy, and stroke rehabilitation.

“The board’s goal is to give Heritage Health Care Center the brightest possible future,” said Bruce Gendron, regional administrator for The Grand Healthcare System. “To do this we need to create more comfortable living and work-friendly spaces and provide new services for better quality of care. By addressing these changes to the physical plant and making strategic staffing upgrades, we will create an environment where exceptional clinical care is coupled with a luxury experience for guests and their loved ones.”

Founded in 1867 as a shelter for homeless women, Heritage Health Care Center offers an array of short- or long-term nursing care following hospitalization to improve independence, dignity, and self-esteem. These services include inpatient medical rehabilitation, skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s care, wellness programs, outpatient physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology and aqua therapy.

For more information call (315) 797-7392, or visit