Russ Salvatore was approached in the early summer of 2016 by Lynsey Weaver and Kate Heidinger, representatives of the Kevin Guest House for some advice on both offering first class hospitality at their current facility and some direction on a proposed expansion being planned.
Kevin Guest House is America’s first independent healthcare hospitality house, providing compassionate guest care since 1972. They have provided a comfortable and supportive home away from home for more than 55,000 patients and their families traveling from 49 states and 11 countries. In the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, they are the only campus to serve patient families from all areas healthcare facilities and of any age and/or disease including from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo General Medical Center, Catholic Health, Erie County Medical Center and the soon to be John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Kevin Guest House, named for 13-year-old Kevin Garvey, is the result of a kind-hearted family honoring their young son’s legacy. Claudia and Cyril Garvey of Sharon, PA came to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to help Kevin battle leukemia. While the Garvey’s had the financial means to stay in a hotel with their eight children, they witnessed families sleeping in their cars or hospital waiting rooms. After an eighteen month battle, Kevin passed away in January 1972, but was able to see the properties that Mr. and Mrs. Garvey purchased located at 782 Ellicott Street, saving the homes from impending demolition. With the support of volunteers and donations from the community they renovated the house and welcomed their first guest on July 26, 1972. To this day the family continues to be deeply involved with the house.

Kevin Guest Foundation purchased the adjoining house on Ellicott Street and now was tasked with raising the capital to make it suitable for guests. This is where they needed Russ’s Help. After a few visits to the site and subsequent meetings Russ countered their request. He said “Ladies if you want my involvement I want this building to be brought back to life and I want to be involved”. I want the outside all redone, landscaped, new windows, new roof, new streetscapes between the two properties, and when I’m done it will be the nicest house on the block. Kate & L:ynsey were very appreciative of Russ kind offer but explained to Russ that at this stage they were raising money to make the house habitable and accessible to all patients and had planned work on the outside in the coming years when they raised more funds. Russ said “ I am prepared to double your request on the condition that half of my donation goes to refurbishing the outside of the building. I will be here night and die with my work crews and we will get this done very quickly”

Well the end of this story is one that we have heard so many times before. Russ Salvatore transformed a rundown building into a showcase. This time literally. Soon after his landscapers planted the last flowers, the Junior League of Buffalo open the doors to 766 Ellicott as thier designer showcase. The Russell J Salvatore Hospitality House will forever be a part of the downtown story.

The Expansion Campaign for Kevin Guest House must raise the remaining $700,000 to continue moving forward with construction and meet the deadline of opening the doors to more guests by September 2017. To learn more and make a gift to the Expansion Campaign for Kevin Guest House, visit www.KevinGuestHouseGrows.org.