A proud Dolphin and Cuse Pit Crew member: Meet Clear Path’s new events and volunteer manager

In 1859, Florence Nightingale wrote her seminal work Notes on Nursing: What It Is, And What It Is Not, sharing her vision of nursing as preventative medicine. In it, she noted that “a small pet is often an excellent companion for the sick, for long chronic cases especially.” Nearly 160 years later, the immediate and long-term benefits of the human-animal connection continue to be documented.

That human-animal bond is vitally important to Maggie Benedict, who recently joined Clear Path for Veterans as its new events and volunteer manager.

“I believe that all animals deserve respect, compassion and someone to be their voice,” she said.

Benedict spends much of her free time working with Cuse Pit Crew, a Syracuse-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to build human-animal bonds through community outreach and educational programming, while advocating for pit bulls and other breeds that it notes are “misunderstood” by the general public. She serves as a member of its board of directors.

Prior to joining the staff at Clear Path, Benedict served as U.S. Rep. John Katko’s director of constituent services. A majority of her time was spent managing the congressman’s Veterans and Military Affairs portfolio.

“(That) gave me the opportunity to work with Veterans, military members and their families every day, and I quickly learned that I loved working within this community,” she said.

She will continue that work with Veterans and their families as many of Clear Path’s more than 2,000 volunteers are active duty or retired. In her new role of events and volunteer manager, Benedict will be responsible for volunteer management along with coordinating and managing all internal and external fundraising events. To that extent, her position serves as the central point of contact for all community fundraising and volunteering initiatives.

“Every time I have had the opportunity to visit Clear Path for Veterans in the past, I have always left thinking about what a positive experience I had,” she said. “Knowing the Clear Path mission is something that I truly believe in, I always thought it would be a wonderful place to work. When the opportunity arose to become a part of the Clear Path team, I knew I could not let it pass.”

Benedict has been a resident of Upstate New York most of her life. She currently resides in Solvay with her dog, Pedro. She was born and raised in Hammondsport, a small town located on the south end of Keuka Lake. Her brother currently serves as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Her grandfather is a Veteran having served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Her parents still reside in Hammondsport, and Benedict said she enjoys the two-hour drive home for homecooked meals; her own culinary talent, she acknowledges, is a work in progress.

Hand-in-hand with her love of animals – both dogs and horses – she counts herself a proud Dolphin, having graduated from the Madden School of Business at Syracuse’s Le Moyne College with a degree in business focusing on management and leadership skills.

Besides Clear Path for Veterans and Cuse Pit Crew, you will likely find Benedict going for a walk with Pedro, enjoying Thai food, or rollerblading around Solvay.

For more information about volunteering at Clear Path, click here; if your organization would like to host a fundraiser for Clear Path, click here to contact Benedict.