Exceptional local woman recognized by NY Senate

By Julianne Peixoto

August 18, 2014 Updated Aug 18, 2014 at 11:28 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After more than two decades of providing hospice care and volunteering at Lourdes Hospital, Bettye Canestaro was given a special honor Monday night.

Every year, the New York Senate honors women across the state as Women of Distinction. Canestaro won the award for the state's 52nd District.

"Not many things get me speechless, but I think this was pretty close to it," said Canestaro. "I still can't believe it, it's not just my honor, it goes to a lot of people over a lot of years who have led me, mentored me, guided me, and supported me through all these years."

A ceremony was held in Albany back in May for all of the award recipients across the state, but Canestaro couldn't attend due to her work, so Sen. Tom Libous brought the award to her.

"Actually, this was so much nicer," said Libous, "Because she received the award in front of her colleagues and the volunteers that she supervises. And when they say she's a special lady, she really is."

Canestaro's colleagues told stories about her work, and thanked her for her generosity and kindness.

"She's compassionate, she's caring, she's willing to hold somebody's hand, she'll laugh with somebody, she'll cry with somebody," said hospice nurse Mary Guilfoyle. "She always makes sure the patients' needs are met."

Bettye said she hopes to continue her work at Lourdes for as long as possible.