For people of the North Country, United Helpers delivers the specialized medical, physical, and emotional support needed to be connected to life. We've been caring for our neighbors for more than 120 years, and no other provider comes close to the reach of our network, the breadth of our services, or the depth of our commitment. United Helpers is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit.


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Remembering David Margeson

Remembering David Margeson

United Helpers Remembers David Margeson

Several members of the Ogdensburg Fire Department recently attended a brief ceremony in memory of David Margeson held at the Spruce Street IRA. The ceremony included the unveiling of two shrubs, appropriately named fire chief arborvitaes, and a small plaque. From left, Ogdensburg City Firefighters Jack Lake and Brian Sias, Peayton Stark, who wrote an essay earning a grant for the IRA where David lived, Spruce Street IRA Residential Manager Karen Howie, and Ogdensburg City Firefighters Scott McCormick, Brian Kirby, and Aaron Charlton

When David Margeson first came to United Helpers in August of 2007, he arrived with a shoebox containing his personal belongings – some magazines, family photos, a few dollar bills, and several toy firetrucks.

As he began to adjust to his new surroundings, it didn’t take staff at the Kendrew IRA in Rensselaer Falls very long to realize that David loved both fire trucks and firefighters.

According to Spruce Street IRA Residential Manager Karen Howie, he would eventually become an honorary member of the Rensselaer Falls Volunteer Fire Department. He would help wash trucks and even ride in them with other members of the department during parades.

In 2018 David moved to the McIntyre IRA and in 2020 he moved into the Spruce Street IRA in Ogdensburg. Those two moves just introduced him to more firefighters to become friends with.

When he celebrated his 85th birthday, a party was held in his honor. In attendance was a truck from the Ogdensburg Fire Department along with several members of the city’s fire department.

Just over a month later, David would pass away.

“Every time David saw a fire truck his face would light up,” Mrs. Howie said. “Sometimes when David was having a bad day, he would even pull the fire alarm at the IRA, which of course would sound the alarms, and then the local fire department would show up. A smile would begin to creep across his face as he could hear the sirens and then when the truck pulled up, his day would instantly turn around.”

It was while living in Ogdensburg that David met Peayton Stark. Peayton’s mother, Colleen Stark is a Medical Direct Support Professional (MDSP), and she would often bring Peayton to visit with program members.

“During those visits, Peayton developed a special bond with David,” Mrs. Howie said.

This bond led her to write an essay nominating United Helpers for a $1,000 grant through the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Giving Challenge.

In that essay she wrote, “I would like to donate to the IRA in Ogdensburg because I have a really good connection with some of the residents there and the employees,” she wrote. “This one resident is so nice; he always called my sister and me ‘his girls.’”

Her essay was selected and in memory of David, United Helpers used a portion of the grant to purchase two shrubs to plant at the IRA. Those plants, appropriately titled fire chief arborvitaes, were planted in the home’s front yard adjacent to a small monument, which of course includes a picture of a fire truck.

The monument reads, “In Memory of David Margeson, a Friend & Inspiration to us all. 1938-2023.

Before the unveiling of the monument, both Mrs. Howie and David’s Advocate Stacey Cannizzo recalled David and the impact he had on their lives, as well as those around him.

“One thing I’ll always remember about David is how much people loved him and how much he loved people,” Mrs. Cannizzo said. “Today is a testament to what David stood for which is family and friends.”

While his brother Paul was unable to attend the unveiling, David did have many friends in attendance, including staff who had cared for him, fellow program members, and several members of the Ogdensburg Fire Department, who of course arrived in a shiny red fire truck with lights and sirens, just the way David would have liked.

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