Photos from Our Free Community Concert “An Evening with Friends”

Enjoy these photos from our last evening’s free community concert called “An Evening with Friends”. For more photos, go to our Facebook page.

The next concert is Sept. 11 from 6:30-8 p.m. featuring The Dave Keller Band.

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough’s Claudette Goad (left), Greg McConnell (center) and Mike Berry (right)

An Evening with Friends

Friends having fun

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough’s Claudette Goad

An Evening with Friends

Free spirit

An Evening with Friends

Diamonds in the Rough plays and sings with Mood Stabilizers

An Evening with Friends

Enjoying a quiet summer evening

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough’s Greg McConnell

The Mood Stabilizers

The Mood Stabilizers’ Dr. Joe Pelletier

The Mood Stabilizers

The Mood Stabilizers’ Sanie Bly

An Evening with Friends

Sentimental moment

The Mood Stabilizers

The Mood Stabilizers’ Thom Goodwin

The Mood Stabilizers

The Mood Stabilizers’ Dr. Joe Pelletier

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough’s Mike Berry

The Mood Stabilizers

The Mood Stabilizers’ Thom Goodwin (left), Sanie Bly (center) and Dr. Joe Pelletier (right)

The Dave Keller Band Coming to Gifford Park

Original blues and soul band renowned throughout Northeast

Dave Keller BandRANDOLPH – The Dave Keller Band comes to the Gifford Medical Center Park on Sept. 11 for a free concert thanks to the generosity of the Gifford Auxiliary.

A Vermont resident, Dave Keller is known as one of the finest soul and blues men of his generation. He is the 2012 winner of the Best Self-Produced CD award at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.

In 2009, after being discovered by legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl, Keller appeared as a singer and co-writer on Earl’s BMA-nominated CD, “Living In the Light.” Next, blues and soul fans got to hear Keller with his own band on his all-original critically-acclaimed release “Play for Love” (September 2009).

Then in October 2011, Keller released his latest gem: “Where I’m Coming From” – a “deep soul” record produced by Bob Perry of Wu-Tang Clan, 50 Center, Brian McNight and Foxy Brown fame. In addition to winning the IBC award, the CD reached No. 2 on B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM radio for May 2012.

This success follows decades perfecting his craft. Keller has been performing for 20 years across the Northeast at everything from prison gymnasiums to major tours, getting audiences out of their seats with deep soul singing, gritty guitar licks and what Keller calls his “super-tight, super-funky band.”

Originally from Massachusetts, Keller picked up guitar in his teens and started his own band in 1988. Keller moved to Boston, performing regularly but tiring of city life. He moved to rural Washington state and then to Vermont in 1993.

By 1993, Keller’s singing and playing had taken on a new depth. He began playing solo shows and by 1996 had put together a band, releasing multiple CDs.

Today, Keller keeps up a heavy performance, touring with band mates Ira Friedman on Hammond organ, Brett Hoffman on drums and Gary Lotspeich on bass. And now The Dave Keller Band comes to Randolph for a one-time concert sure to please.

The concert is from 6:30-8 p.m. The Gifford park is located between the hospital and the Thrift Shop on South Main Street (Route 12), south of Randolph village. Ample parking is available onsite.

The concert is weather-dependent. If the weather is questionable, check Gifford’s new and improved Web site, www.giffordmed.org, for an update.

Dave Keller Band

Enjoy ‘An Evening with Friends’ at the Gifford Park

Free concert featuring country, blues, gospel, folk

free Gifford concertRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center employees and volunteer Karen Warner showcase their talents on Thursday, Aug. 30 for a multi-act, multi-style concert.

Warner will sing to new and classic country tracks. Sanie Bly, who performed earlier in the month, will join Gifford employees Thom Goodwin and Joe Pelletier in a group called the “Mood Stabilizers,” singing and playing folk and ’70s rock.

And Gifford’s Greg McConnell, Claudette Goad and Mike Berry as well as Berry’s brother, Jim, make up “Diamonds in the Rough,” a blue grass and gospel group.

“Diamonds in the Rough” often sing together at church and have performed for Gifford events. Bly is part of experienced group “Two for the Show.” Goodwin and Pelletier both sing and play guitar.

And Warner has performed for several community events, including at the Randolph gazebo and following the Randolph Fourth of July parade.

“We hope to offer something for everyone and bring together the community for an enjoyable, relaxing evening with good friends and good music,” said Mike Berry, who is organizing the collaboration.

Hear this eclectic group of performers in the Gifford park from 6:30-8 p.m.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The Gifford park is located between the hospital and the Thrift Shop on South Main Street (Route 12), south of Randolph village. Ample parking is available onsite.

The concert is weather-dependent. If the weather is questionable, check Gifford’s new and improved Website, www.giffordmed.org, for an update.

Last Mile Ride raises $54,000

‘Great’ ride supports ‘special’ cause: the Garden Room and end-of-life care

Last Mile Ride 2012

Cyclists leave for a 38.4 mile loop to Northfield and back as part of Saturday’s Last Mile Ride at Gifford Medical Center.

RANDOLPH – With blue skis overhead and temperatures in the 70s, 225 motorcyclists, 60 runners and 20 cyclists rolled into Gifford Medical Center Saturday for the seventh annual Last Mile Ride, together raising an estimated $54,000 for end-of-life care at the non-profit Randolph hospital.

It was the hospital’s most successful ride to date, attracting more participants than ever before, offering a 5K for the first time and raising the most in the ride’s already impressive history.

The event supports end-of-life and advanced illness care for Gifford patients.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Runner and cyclist David Palmer of Randolph brought along a friend, the family dog, for Saturday’s Last Mile Ride.

Gifford provides special care in a garden-side suite, the Garden Room, for patients at the end of life and to their grieving families. The ride was created by Gifford motorcycle rider and nurse Lynda McDermott to support the Garden Room and comfort services, such as massages for pain management; family photos by a local professional; music therapy; one-time gifts for special needs, such as a handicapped ramp at home or special wish; care packages; food for families staying with their loved ones in the Garden Room; bereavement mailers; help with Advance Directives; staff training; and more.

To a mostly leather-clad crowd standing before the reflective chrome of 162 motorcycles, hospital administrator Joe Woodin offered his thanks to the participants.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Motorcyclists leave for the seventh annual Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The ride supports end-of-life care.

“Thank you for coming today. This is a great event,” Woodin said. “It’s been really lovely to have so much support and people’s involvement. Over the years we’ve had a lot of people take up the cause in memory of a friend who perhaps passed away or a loved one and it’s really nice for people to say ‘The experience we went through we’d love to help those in the future.’”

Dr. Cristine Maloney, an internal medicine and palliative care physician who participated in both the 5K and cyclist portion of Saturday’s ride, shared stories of patients who have benefited from the ride funds over the last year. “None of this is possible without your time and your commitment and your fund-raising. These improvements in symptoms as well as the time and space to let families let go more comfortably are because of you.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Bunny Huntley of Bethel waves from the back of Gail Osha of Randolph Center’s bike as the duo takes off Saturday as part of Gifford Medical Center’s Last Mile Ride.

“We appreciate your commitment to providing comfort at the end of life whether at the hospital or at home or in the nursing home here.”

Many spurred by their experiences in the Garden Room, nine participants raised more than $1,000 each for the cause. The top fundraising honor and associated prize – a Porter Music Box – went to Todd Winslow and Lu Beaudry of Wilder who alone raised $5,325 in memory of Winslow’s mother Joyce, who passed away in November in the Garden Room at age 82.

“When my mom went into the Garden Room … I decided that day – and I didn’t tell anyone – that I would figure out a way to raise money for it,” said Winslow, who later used e-mail to reach out to friends, family and business contacts. He wrote about the Garden Room and asked for help raising money in his mother’s name. “And I got an unbelievable response from all of them.”

Last Mile Ride 2012

Howard Stockwell of Randolph Center waves on the back of Mike Anderson’s bike as 225 riders return from the Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center.

“The Garden Room,” said Winslow, “you don’t know what it is like until you experience it. It is the neatest thing there is. Gifford has something, or the town has something, that most towns and hospitals don’t have. It’s really special.”

Winslow set a goal to raise $2,000, met it, raised it to $3,000, met that and continued on to $4,000 and then $5,000 goals, exceeding each.

“I really think it was because of my mom,” said Winslow of how he was able to raise so much. “One guy said ‘How can you not say ‘yes?’

“It was kind of neat to do it in tribute to my mom because my mom was really a neat person. She never had an ego. She was one of those people who wanted to help everyone and listen to them. So I wanted her to be recognized at that ride.”

Thanks to her son’s efforts, she was.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Ken Perry drives and Brenda Wright waves as riders return from the Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center. Perry and Wright live in Bethel.

Linda Chugkowski and Robert Martin of Northfield earned the second place prize, raising a remarkable $3,134. Chugkowski and Martin are long-time friends who participate each year in memory of several loved ones, including Martin’s dad, Robert Martin II, and this year former Northfield Saving Bank president Les Seaver.

“It’s a great ride for a great organization. We participate to ride and remember the loved ones that we’ve lost,” said Chugkowski, who works at Northfield Savings Bank and also serves on Gifford’s Board of Trustees.

Chip and Marie Milnor, who launched their fund-raising efforts on the Tuesday before the ride, collected $2,879 in just days in honor of their friend and Braintree neighbor John Rose Sr., who was in Gifford’s Garden Room as the ride was taking place.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Volunteers Penny Maxfield and Jamie Floyd, both Gifford Medical Center employees, help man the grill at Saturday’s Last Mile Ride, which concluded with a barbecue, live music from Jeanne & the Hi-Tops, and prize awards.

“I wanted to do something for the family. What do you do? And it hit me: I’m going to do something for the Last Mile Ride,” said Chip Milnor, who set a goal of $3,000 and reached it on the Monday after the ride as money was still coming in.

“People thought the world of John,” said Milnor, who lost his friend late Sunday afternoon. “Our neighborhood is definitely not going to be the same without him.”

For Milnor, the ride was about recognizing his friend and others the Garden Room will help, and participating in a great ride.

“It’s a well put-on ride. We do a lot of rides and that one is really well organized. They do a really good job. I can’t think of anything on that ride that needs improvement. It’s getting bigger and bigger, and I hope it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Milnor. “It’s not about the hospital. It’s about the Garden Room and what they do for the family and how they take care of people.”

Last Mile Ride 2012

Jeanne & the Hi-Tops play at Saturday’s Last Mile Ride at Gifford Medical Center.

Also supporting the event were numerous business sponsors, prize donors, volunteers and individuals lining the motorcycle route.

Led by Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak with road guard services from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, this year’s motorcycle ride took participants on a 75-mile loop through central Vermont. Along the way, people held up signs reading “thank you” and naming loved ones lost. Some people were openly crying. Others cheered.

Riders waved and honked and later posted rave reviews on Facebook.

“Wonderful day, great ride with great people,” wrote Roxanne Benson. “Thank you to all of those who work so hard to pull this off every year. So glad $54,000 was earned for the Garden Room.”

“Thank you for a wonderful ride and a magnificent day! Already have the calendar marked for next year,” wrote Caryn Wallace from Connecticut.

“A great time this year! Next year cannot come soon enough! A big thank you for all involved with organizing and helping run LMR ’12 and for everyone who showed up to walk, run, pedal and ride,” wrote Brian Sargeant II.

Next year’s ride is slated for Aug. 17, 2013.

Photos by Janet Miller and Tammy Hooker

10 Things to Know about Gifford Medical Center

On July 26, 2012 we were featured in Becker’s Hospital Review:

Becker's Hospital ReviewHurricane Irene ravaged the state of Vermont last year with heavy rains, but not even a torrential downpour could slow down Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, considered to be one of the top hospitals in central Vermont.

Here are 10 things to know about Gifford Medical Center.

1. Joseph Woodin is the administrator and CEO of Gifford Medical Center. He has led the hospital since 1999.

2. David Sanville serves as Gifford Medical Center’s CFO.

3. As a critical access hospital, Gifford Medical Center has 25 beds. It also has a rehabilitation unit, a birthing center and a 30-bed nursing home.

4. Gifford Medical Center has 589 full- and part-time employees, including 100 people on its medical staff. Physicians and clinicians are spread across 30 different medical specialties and categories.

5. According to Gifford Medical Center’s 2011 annual report, net revenue totaled nearly $64 million. GMC recorded $1.26 million in net income for a profit margin of 2 percent.

6. In 2011, Gifford Medical Center recorded 1,811 inpatient admissions, 1,300 short stay or same-day outpatient admissions and more than 68,000 other outpatients. The hospital also performed more than 2,900 surgeries and more than 7,300 emergency treatments.

7. Last year, the National Rural Health Association named Gifford Medical Center as one of the top 100 CAHs in America. The rankings were based on the Hospital Strength Index from iVantage Health Analytics. The HIS incorporates 56 different measures of performance, including a hospital’s market strength, quality measures and balance sheet ratios.

8. John Gifford, MD, a local physician, founded the hospital in 1903. He almost closed the hospital after two years due to high expenses and the demands of running a hospital alone with only two nurses. However, local community members raised enough money to keep the hospital open, which officially became the Randolph Sanatorium. After Dr. Gifford died in 1933 from an infection he contracted while performing surgery, the hospital’s shareholders decided to rename the hospital Gifford Memorial Hospital. In 1991, it became Gifford Medical Center.

9. In 1989, Gifford Medical Center became one of the first hospitals in the country to support primary care practices in rural areas. It opened or acquired four different community health centers between 1989 and 1994.

10. In March 2011, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin appointed Gifford Medical Center obstetrician/gynecologist Ellamarie Russo-DeMara, MD, to the State Board of Health.

Click here to read the article.

Photographer Lisa Wall Opens Show in Gifford Gallery

photographer Lisa Wall

Among Lisa Wall’s work now on display in the Gifford Gallery is this daisy after the rain. The geometric patterns created by the flower’s golden central disc most attract Wall to the image.

RANDOLPH – Lisa Wall has been taking nature photographs since high school.

She first got started with her mother’s camera, dabbling in astrophotography for a science program. She went on to attend two years at the Randolph Technical Career Center, studying graphic arts and learning dark room skills.

Since, her camera has been at her side, in the outdoors, on fishing trips and capturing her love of natural science.

And now, her work is on display.

Photographs by Wall are now on display in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery. The show includes wildlife, aquatic wildlife, seascapes, Vermont flora and more.

“I love finding beauty in nature and in the ordinary,” says Wall, who works under the name Looking Glass Photography. “I love photography. I am excited to turn my favorite hobby into possibly something more.”

Wall’s work has also been displayed at the South Royalton Market and the Hartness Library at Vermont Technical College, and are currently on display at Tozier’s restaurant in Bethel and online at www.facebook.com/LWallPhotography.

Her Gifford show continues until Oct. 3.

One hundred percent of the Wall’s profits from sales at Gifford will be donated to Potter’s Angels Rescue, a Vermont all-breed rescue that her sister Heather Bent founded and directs. Information on the shelter is available online at www.pottersnangelsrescue.org.

The Gifford Gallery is located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. Call Gifford at (802) 728-7000 or Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fischer at (802) 728-2324 for more information.

When not taking pictures, Wall works in her own hair salon, Drop Dead Gorgeous in Randolph, where she is also building a home with her husband, Marty.

Connie Niland: A lady and an optimist

Niland family carrying on ‘attitude of gratitude’ by joining Last Mile Ride

Connie Niland

Connie smiles on her 94th birthday on Dec. 24, 2011.

RANDOLPH – Connie Niland was a fearless optimist.

So even when her husband died of a massive heart attack on the day of his retirement, she carried forth with his plan to move from their home in Peabody, Mass., to Vermont.
Connie and her youngest daughter Lisa (now Lisa Hill of Bethel) moved to Barnard in 1972 when Lisa was 13 and Connie was 55.

In Massachusetts, Connie had offered guided tours of the North Shore for women, but mostly stayed home with her four children and played golf. In Vermont, Connie went to work as an administrative assistant first at Dartmouth College and then Vermont Law School. She also shoveled the roof, maintained the home and took care of Lisa and the family’s horses. The older children were already out of the house.

Connie Niland

Connie, born Constance Allington, age 7 months, sits in a high chair on her family’s back lawn in Everett, Mass., on July 12, 1918.

Connie worked until age 84 and then filled in on vacations. Lisa recalls her mom’s intellectually curiosity. “She just had this wonderful curiosity about people and ideas.” Connie loved the law school students and computer technology. She learned to Skype and text her older children. “She was as fearless as that as she was with other things.”
And she was fearless about death.

Lisa calls her mom a “buddhiscopalian.” She read incessantly about spirituality and a relationship with God.

In 2002, she moved from Barnard to an apartment in Randolph on Randolph Avenue, when the home became too much to take care of alone. “She really considered that she had moved from the country to the city,” Lisa says.

And Connie embraced her new community. She became active with the Randolph Senior Citizen Center, the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary and began volunteering at Gifford. “My mother was just so grateful for Gifford and loved that it was such an important part of the community where she had chosen to live,” Lisa says of her local hospital.

Connie Niland

This undated photo shows a younger Connie Niland.

Connie also continued to play golf into late 80s and was such an optimist that age 90 she took out a four-year lease on a car.

Eventually rheumatoid arthritis and limited mobility would cause her to stop driving, but still Connie lived well and with her constant “attitude of gratitude.”

She turned 94 on Christmas Eve last year. After a day of visiting with family and drinking a bit of champagne – one of Connie’s favorite – Lisa called to check in. “I’m just sitting here thinking about how lucky I am and how happy I am,” Connie told her youngest.

A few days after New Year’s she had a stroke.

Connie Niland

Connie married husband William Niland in Boston in 1941. He died in 1972.

On a whim, Lisa visited on New Year’s Eve day, a Saturday, with Connie’s monthly scratch tickets and her winnings from the previous month. “When I got there, she was out of it,” says Lisa, who brought her mother to the Emergency Department. She had a urinary tract infection but a CT scan revealed nothing else unusual.

Lisa stayed with Connie in Randolph over the weekend. They cooked, laughed and giggled, and had a great time. On Monday, the day after New Year’s, they enjoyed a nice lunch. After lunch, Lisa was rubbing lotion on her mom’s face and asking her a question, when Connie failed to respond. When she finally looked up, her face pointed to one side. “I literally had her face in my hands,” says Lisa, and “It was clear that she had had a stroke.” Lisa activated Connie’s Lifeline and awaited an ambulance to bring her to Gifford.

Connie Niland

Connie poses with Karen Lyford of Chelsea at the Vermont Law School, where Connie worked until age 84.

She didn’t get better.

“She clearly wasn’t progressing. It was just clear that she had a really devastating event,” says Lisa, who was faced with the decision of moving her mother to a nursing home.

That Friday, Lisa came to the hospital ready to do just that, but Connie, who “couldn’t stand” nursing homes, had made a different decision. She had stopped eating, was growing sicker and was moved to the Garden Room for end-of-life patients at Gifford.

She was there exactly one week until her death on Jan. 13 of this year. The whole family came, all four children, including two or three who stayed over every night, and almost every grandchild. The room, which includes a patient room and family room, was filled with 12 or more people at a time.

Connie Niland

Connie Niland, 1917 – 2012

“My mother was very gracious and she loved to entertain. She had a steady stream of people (visiting her in the Garden Room), and we were loud. We sat with her and we talked about great times in our family’s life and we told the funny stories that we always told when we’re together,” Lisa recalls.

The family faced no difficult choices. Connie had made her wishes clear in “the most beautifully written Advance Directive.”

They brought her quilt from home and other comfort items were provided in a kit from the hospital. The hospital fed the family during their weeklong stay. Connie had Reiki for pain management as well as music therapy from Brookfield’s Islene Runningdeer and local hospice singing group “River Bend.”

Most importantly, says Lisa, the hospital staff preserved Connie’s dignity – an important measure for the family and for Connie who was foremost always a “lady.”

“That experience of being in the Garden Room and the support that we had was such a beautiful experience. It just was incredible to us how thoughtful everyone was,” says Lisa.

The special services Connie and her family received – the family meals, Comfort Kit and music therapy – were provided thanks to funds raised at Gifford’s annual Last Mile Ride – a charity motorcycle ride this year to be held on Aug. 18.

And this year, Lisa, her brother Richard and two friends will be participating in the Last Mile Ride for the first time.

“For us, it’s knowing what we received in the Garden Room, we want to make sure we give back a little of that so another family can have an island of calm in the middle of such chaos,” Lisa says. “Until you are there you have no idea how much you need and our family was just so overwhelmed with how much (hospital staff) did for us.”

The Last Mile Ride is supports end-of-life and advanced illness care at Gifford Medical Center, including free services for patients and their families. This year’s ride is Aug. 18. The event also includes a cyclist ride and 5K. Learn more online at www.giffordmed.org or call (802) 728-2380. Participants can register up to and on the day of the event.

Gifford, Council on Aging Offering Free Caregiver Classes, Support

caregiver supportRANDOLPH – There are an estimated 64,000 home caregivers in Vermont – those who care for a loved one or friend at home rather than relying on a home health agency or nursing home.

Gifford Medical Center’s Blueprint Care Coordination Team is collaborating with the Central Vermont Council on Aging to offer advice and peer support to home caregivers who often selflessly work long, stressful hours.

Over the coming months, Gifford will offer a one-night course called “5 Minutes for Yourself.” The class will be led by Samantha Medved, Gifford’s Blueprint behavioral health clinician and a licensed social worker.

“The class is really designed to identify why caregivers need to take five minutes for themselves, and we’ll also talk about how to find that time during the day.”

The class will be offered on Aug. 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Gifford in Randolph and from 5:30-7 p.m. on the following days and locations: on Aug. 23 at the Chelsea Health Center, on Aug. 28 at the Bethel Health Center, on Sept. 4 at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin, and on Sept. 13 at Gifford.

Participants need only take one of the classes, which will cover identifying stress in the caregiver role, how taking time for oneself can improve the caregiver’s ability to provide care, breathing techniques, how to find that “me time” and what activities to do during that time.

The class will be followed up by a six-week course from Jeanne Kern of the Central Vermont Council on Aging called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” and running Wednesdays, Sept. 5-Oct. 10 from 3-5 p.m. at the Council on Aging at 59 N. Main St., Suite 200, in Barre.

The six-week workshop is also anticipated to be offered in Randolph in the fall with Kern and Brooks Chapin, a nurse and Gifford’s director of senior services.

caregiver supportThe educational workshop is designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a relative or friend. Participants will learn ways to reduce stress; communicate effectively; reduce guilt, anger and depression; set goals; and problem solve.

And finally, Gifford is planning ongoing, community-based support groups for caregivers beginning in September. The participant-run groups will be offered based on participants’ interest and availability.

The goal of all of the programs is to support caregivers and the vital, challenging role they play.

“Caregivers typically are caring for people they really love and are allowing those people to continue to live in their homes, with their families and in their communities.

Simultaneously, it’s a very hard and under-recognized role,” Medved said. “What we know is healthier caregivers provide healthier care, so we want to make sure we assist caregivers in being as healthy and happy as possible.”

To register for any of the upcoming “5 Minutes for Yourself” classes or to express interest in joining a support group, call Gifford’s Blueprint office at 728-7100, ext. 6. The class is free and light refreshments will be served.

To sign up for “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” call Kern at the Council on Aging at (802) 476-2671. A $20 donation is suggested to help cover the cost of the course book that participants receive.

Participants need not be full-time caregivers. Anyone who helps support a loved one, such as through decision-making, providing transportation, or serving as a primary family support person is welcome.

Gifford also holds a monthly support group for those with chronic illnesses called the Chronic HealthShare Consortium. These free meetings continue on the second Wednesday of each month from 3-4 p.m.