Nine-year-old Vitoria Coon, of Herkimer, and her family have been attending the butterfly release celebration sponsored by the Herkimer County Hospice Foundation and Hospice and Palliative Care the past four years. When it came time for Vitoria and her family to set the butterflies free they watched in amazement as a butterfly flew around them.
“It’s sensing us,” said Vitoria as she held out her hand for the butterfly to land on.
“It’s just a wonderful site to see the butterflies free and flying all around us,” said Lana Ramsey.
Donna Ramsey, Vitoria’s grandmother and a hospice center supervisor, said the family’s butterfly was released in memory of her father, Merle Ramsey, and her sister, Debbie Ramsey.
This year marked the fifth anniversary of the butterfly release celebration.
Herkimer County Hospice Fund Treasurer and butterfly release celebration Chairwoman Sue Campagna said the release is a great way to honor or remember a loved one.
She added this year’s butterfly release was the largest one yet. “The Herkimer County Hospice Foundation was able to sell 310 butterflies this year, which is absolutely wonderful,” said Campagna.
During the ceremony, the names of those being honored or memorialized by a butterfly were read. Herkimer County Hospice Foundation Chairman Kalman Socolof said the butterfly release remembers those who have died and honors those who have recently graduated, married or had an anniversary.
Herkimer County Community College President Dr. Ann Marie Murray said it was a privilege to welcome the butterflies to the campus.
“The butterfly seems to handle change very well. They go through so many changes in their life and handle each with ease. By witnessing the butterflies fly around our campus every day, we will be reminded that change is part of our journey and we have to be willing to accept that,” said Murray.
Proceeds from the butterfly release will benefit the Herkimer County Hospice Foundation and their efforts to support hospice services in Herkimer County.