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Updated: 11/07/2013 08:00:00AM

Lake Placid couple left legacy of kindness to Arc

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Many will never know the generosity and kindness of James and Genevieve Gutierrez and the impact their legacy left in our community. Upon the death of Mrs. Gutierrez on Aug. 4, 2012, local charities — including the Ridge Area Arc Foundation — felt that impact.

According to a close friend, Mr. and Mrs. Gutierrez were passionate about supporting organizations that help individuals with disabilities. Mrs. Gutierrez was preceded in death by her husband of over 60 years, and their daughter, Nancy, who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and passed away in 1990 at the age of 22.

James loved to sail and Genevieve was a talented seamstress and homemaker, but their world was Nancy. The two were described as dedicated and loving parents who wanted nothing more than to give their daughter every possible happiness and opportunity. A childhood friend of Nancy’s explained how Mr. Gutierrez would never allow his daughter to feel different or incapable of reaching her potential. If the other kids rode bicycles, then Jim would build a bike suitable for Nancy. They knew the importance of supporting individuals like Nancy to provide opportunities they may not have otherwise.

Through the generosity of the Gutierrez family and many others the Ridge Area Arc Foundation is able to assist individuals with disabilities realize their goals and achieve their potential.

The Foundation’s mission is to secure funds through estate planning and other measures and invest specifically for endowing the programs and services for Ridge Area Arc. The Foundation believes that with the help of caring members of our community, Ridge Area Arc will continue to provide necessary programs for generations to come.

“When someone gives a gift through a bequest to Ridge Area Arc Foundation it has a long standing effect,” said Debbie McCullough, Foundation Chair. “The foundation was created so Ridge Area Arc can serve folks with disabilities without having to be so reliant on government support. The organization strives to help folks become more independent, and as an organization they felt they needed to do the same thing.”

The foundation was created almost 20 years ago by a group of local citizens who wanted to see Ridge Area Arc stay around forever. Because of the forethought of those who have given through their will, life insurance, or other planned gifts, Ridge Area Arc has been able to do many things that were not possible before the foundation existed.

“It’s so rewarding to watch the wonderful things that happen because of gifts from people who have given through their estate. Most of the gifts are not from incredibly wealthy folks,” McCullough said. “They come from people who may have donated $25 in the past. But, by giving through their will they are able to do something very substantial and leave a legacy that keeps giving and working locally for those in need.”

For more information contact Rhonda Beckman at 863-452-1296 ext. 112 or