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 John Kucko: Little Mill Creek in Wayland, NY

Going for the Gold

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Noyes employee to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games

DANSVILLE – During the day, dietary aid Emily Brushafer works in the kitchen at Noyes Memorial Hospital. When she isn’t helping out at the hospital, she is swimming. She swims so much, and so quickly, she has been invited to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando.

“I’m looking forward to swimming with my new teammates I am going to meet,” said Emily during a phone call on Thursday. “Hopefully I win the gold.”

The pride was evident in Jennifer Brushafer’s voice as she talked about her special needs daughter, who was adopted when she was four.

“She started as the manager of the swim team at Dansville High School,” said Jennifer.

One fateful day the coach decided to put her in the water, and the rest, as they say, is history. She went on to swim for three years in high school.

Emily’s Olympic dream started when she joined the Special Olympic swim team in Geneseo, and gold was the only color she saw.

“In 2019, pre-COVID, she qualified for states by winning gold at every event she had, then went on to take gold at states at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie ,” said Jennifer. “After a two-year break because of the COVID pandemic, Emily was invited to the USA games last June. She has been training since January.”

Friday, Emily will join the New York State delegation of 187 athletes, coaches and support staff for the games in Orlando.

It was quite the twist of fate that led Emily to her career at Noyes. Jennifer donated a kidney to Sue Mettler, an extremely active member of the Noyes Health Auxiliary and volunteer at the Spice Box.

After Emily graduated high school, Mettler got her a job volunteering at the Spice Box Coffee Bar and Gift Shop at the hospital.

Last summer while volunteering, she met Becky Bowen, Director of Guest Services at the hospital. Bowen knew Emily would be an asset to the kitchen team at the hospital and hired her as a dietary aide.

What’s Emily’s favorite part of the job?

“I like delivering food to the patients,” she said. “It makes them happy to see someone besides nurses,” she laughed.

She also keeps close track of how many babies are born in the birthing center.

You can cheer Emily on from afar by watching the games on ABC and ESPN. Emily will be participating in the breast stroke, freestyle, and relay events on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“We are so grateful for the support and love that your employees and volunteers show Emily on a regular basis,” said Jennifer. “Sue Mettler and Becky Bowen along with Special Olympics have changed her entire life.”

On behalf of the entire hospital, we wish Emily the best of luck!

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