SOUTHINGTON - Even though it was wintry outside, Bartolomeo â€śBennyâ€ť Cammuso brought his sunny attitude inside as he diligently worked out on a cross-trainer in the GoodLife Fitness Center at Southington Care Center.
Mark Colello, exercise physiologist at the center located at 45 Meriden Ave., stood by his side monitoring the 80-year-oldâ€™s progress throughout his 15-minute â€śride.â€ť
Six months ago, Cammuso couldnâ€™t have pedaled at all. In February 2017, he had a serious stroke, which brought his life to an abrupt halt. He was first hospitalized at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. For many townspeople, the news about this avid community volunteer was hard to believe - just the week before, Cammuso had received the Southington-Cheshire YMCA Person of the Year Award at the annual gala.
â€śIt was a life and death situation,â€ť said his daughter, Lisa Cammuso.
His recovery began looking better in March after he was transferred to Southington Care Center, where he had volunteered for years. His three-month stay included physical, occupational and speech therapy. His family began to see progress; he was finally walking.
Cammuso, an Italian native, is one of Southingtonâ€™s best-known residents. Upon retirement from his 37-year career at General Electric, his volunteering became more than a full-time job with more than a dozen groups including Knights of Columbus, UNICO, Freemasons, AARP, Elks, American Red Cross blood drives (heâ€™s a Hall of Fame donor), and Southington Bread for Life, the local food program where he worked daily. He was even recognized with a $5,000 grant for Bread for Life from the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.
As he increases his strength and mobility, Cammuso is eager to return to volunteering; however, his family reminds him that his health comes first. After he was discharged home on June 30, he returned to Southington Care Center for outpatient rehabilitation and now exercises twice weekly at the GoodLife Fitness Center.
â€śHeâ€™s doing much better, even walking without his cane at home,â€ť said Elena, his wife of 60 years.
â€śItâ€™s been quite the ordeal, and he doesnâ€™t remember most of it,â€ť his daughter said. Slowly he is getting back to a little volunteering, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and working at Bread for Life.
Southington Care Center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services and is a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services.
For more information about Southington Care Center, visit southingtonorchards.org.
- Southington Care Center