Year in Review – Part 4

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the fourth quarter excerpt.

OCTOBER

Food choices in the Gifford cafeteria get even healthier as the hospital transitions to a healthy breakfast bar; healthier, lower salt meats; less butter and heavy cream in foods; and more grains and legumes as starches.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stops at Gifford on his “Cycling Vermont’s 14″ 500-mile bicycle tour of the state’s 14 counties. He tours Menig as part of his stop.

Dr. Josh Plavin, a National Health Service Corps scholarship recipient, speaks out for the federal program supporting primary care providers on Corps Community Day on Oct. 11, and for the need for more primary care providers, especially in rural regions.

Two local women, Krista Warner and Teresa Bradley, organize a bowling tournament in support of Gifford’s Woman to Woman fund and raise $1,485 for breast cancer awareness.

The CT scanner is upgraded from a 40-slice model to a 64-slice model, offering patients faster service, clearer imaging, and less radiation.

NOVEMBER

A new system, a CAREpoint Workstation, for transmitting EKGs from ambulances in the field to the Gifford Emergency Department is brought online. The system, generously paid for by the Gifford Auxiliary, is for use with heart attack patients to determine if they should be brought to Gifford or directly to a cardiac catheterization lab at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Stuff a TruckMenig residents work with school children from the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph to create 100 boxes of gifts for children in Third World countries through Operation Christmas Child.

Working with Connor Contracting Inc., Gifford staff and community members Stuff a Truck for Hurricane Sandy survivors in the Rockaway neighborhood of Long Island, New York.

The first patient is seen in the Radiology Department’s new fluoroscopy room. The room is utilized for interventional radiology procedures, which have grown in number.

Great American Smoke OutAll Gifford grounds go smoke-free in concert with the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15.

Gifford’s Annual Craft Fair raises funds for the Adult Day Program.

Married couple Elvira Dana and Jason Kass travel 36 hours from their home in Armenia to give birth at Gifford, for a second time.

Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire, the Vermont Ethics Network, and Gifford’s Advanced Illness Care team join together to offer a community discussion around end-of-life care planning. Other talks on death and dying continue at Gifford in the months that follow.

DECEMBER

Family physician Barbara Lazar joins Gifford, bringing a love of geriatrics to the Randolph team.

Chef Wendell Fowler leads a free talk on the pitfalls of the American diet. He suggests cutting the food additives, chemicals, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup in favor of fresher, less-processed foods to improve our health.

Gifford once again supports the community through its holiday gift certificate program – a buy local program where employees receive “gift certificates” redeemable only at regional, locally-owned businesses.

Experienced Pediatrician Joins Gifford Team

Dr. Robert Smith returns to Northeast after 21 years in U.S. Army

Dr. Robert Smith

Dr. Robert Smith

A native of New Jersey, pediatrician Dr. Robert Smith is returning to the Northeast after 21 years spent as a U.S. Army doctor in Texas, Germany and Afghanistan.

Dr. Smith has joined Gifford Medical Center’s Randolph pediatric practice, bringing his decades of experience, commitment to continuity of care and warm sense of humor to Vermont families.

A graduate of Drew University in Madison, N.J., Dr. Smith went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Vermont and then his doctor of osteopathic medicine from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. His pediatric internship and residency were at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

Joining the Army helped provide scholarship money for Dr. Smith, then a young husband and father, to attend medical school and also allowed him to serve his country while seeing some of the world. He started his career in Texas and then moved to Germany in 1998, serving the majority of his career there as the head of pediatrics departments, primary care offices and health clinics at various U.S. military bases.

His most recent position was as chief of the Department of Pediatrics at the U.S. Army MEDDAC (Medical Department Activity) in Heidelberg, Germany and as a pediatric consultant to Europe Regional Medical Command.

From 2010-2011, he was in Kandahar, serving as a brigade surgeon. It was actually during down time in Afghanistan that Dr. Smith shopped for and bought his current home in Vermont.

He had maintained residency in Vermont since first going to college here in the 1980s and hoped to return upon his military retirement. That came just this month. He left Germany on July 1 and started at Gifford a week later on July 8.

“It’s a friendly hospital. It’s a great area,” says Dr. Smith with excitement over being able to practice medicine in a small community where he can build relationships with his young patients and their families.

Dr. Smith describes his style as warm and trusting. “The best compliment I’ve ever had is a child who said ‘Mommy, this guy is funny.’”

That humor leads to children being comfortable receiving care.

Dr. Smith provides care to children from birth through adolescents. Of special interest is ADHD, asthma, infectious disease and sports medicine or sports injuries, he notes.

Dr. Smith is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the American Osteopathic Association. He has garnered many awards throughout his career, including the Bronze Star Medal in 2011, an Order of Military Medical Merit in 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Young Outstanding Uniformed Staff Pediatrician Award in 2002, multiple Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals and much more.

Dr. Smith lives in Fayston. He and wife Rosemarie have four children, two daughters who are married, a third in nursing school and a 10-year-old son. In his free time, Dr. Smith enjoys the outdoors, including downhill skiing, gardening, camping and hiking.

He is now accepting new patients. Call him at Gifford pediatrics at (802) 728-2420.

Staying Healthy in the Heat

Brad Salzmann

Brad Salzmann, PA-C

By Brad Salzmann, PA-C

Even short periods of high temperature, humidity, or exertion can cause serious health problems. Heat-related illness and deaths are preventable, yet many people suffer serious health illness or death every year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an average of 618 heat-related deaths per year in the United States from 1999-2010. Extreme heat is defined as temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than are typical for that location at that time of year.

HOW MUCH HEAT IS TOO MUCH?

There is no specific temperature or humidity level that must be obtained for heat-related illness or death to occur. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, for example, reported a healthy 30-year-old landscaper died of heat stroke on a day that never went higher than 81 degrees. Heat-related illness and death rather occurs when heat pushes the body beyond its ability to compensate. The human body cools itself by sweating; the sweat brings heat to the surface where it evaporates. High humidity reduces the ability of sweat to evaporate.

WHO IS AT MOST RISK?

Body heat is produced two ways: internal (metabolic) heat is generated by physical exertion, and environmental heat is from high air temperature; humidity; direct sun exposure; heavy clothing; and lack of water, rest, and cooling. Anybody can succumb to heat. However, the elderly; very young; people with handicaps who are unable to take care of themselves or communicate; those with mental illness, cardiovascular, lung or other chronic diseases are at increased risk. Outdoor workers in agriculture, construction, logging, and firefighting are at increased risk, as well as those involved in exertional exercise outdoors. Statistically, 68 percent of heat-related deaths are male. There are some studies that predict risks will increase with climate change.

HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS

Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating; it is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a collection of pimples or small blisters, usually on the neck, chest, or in the groin and elbow creases. Treatment for heat rash is to provide a cooler, less humid environment; dusting powder may help.

Heat cramps are caused by excessive sweating, which depletes the body of salt and fluid. Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms, and legs. Heat cramps can be serious for those with heart disease or who are on a low-salt diet, and medical attention should be obtained. Otherwise, stop all activity, sit quietly in a cool place, drink clear juice or a sports beverage, and rest for several hours after cramps subside. If cramps do not subside within an hour, seek medical attention.

Heat exhaustion is a body’s response to an excessive loss of fluid and salt. It can develop after several days of exposure and inadequate replacement of water and electrolytes. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea/vomiting, and fainting. Signs include cool, moist skin; rapid, shallow breathing; and a fast, weak pulse. The elderly and people with high blood pressure or who work or exercise in a hot environment are at higher risk. Treat heat exhaustion with cool (non-alcoholic) fluids, rest, cool shower/bath, air conditioning, and light-weight clothing.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency; call 911 immediately. The body is unable to regulate its temperature, which can rise rapidly. The sweating mechanism fails and fatal temperatures can rise to 106 degrees or higher within minutes. Heat stroke can present with an extremely high body temperature; red, hot, dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; unconsciousness; or seizures. Immediate cooling is necessary! Begin cool water immersion, shower, spray, sponging, wrapped in cool wet sheets, and vigorous fanning until emergency medical services are available. Do not give fluids by mouth.

Sunburn can cause first or second-degree burns. Ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure) damages the cells of the skin. Protect skin from excessive exposure by seeking shade, especially during the midday hours; wearing lightweight clothing, hats, sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection; frequent application of sunblock (SPF 15 or higher); and avoiding indoor tanning.

Skin cancer risk is increased with exposure to the sun. The three most common types are basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Skin cancers can invade normal nearby tissue and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body. Prevention is the best treatment.

PREVENTION

Air conditioning is the number one protective factor for heat-related illness and death. Increase fluid levels during hot weather. Don’t wait until you are thirsty; thirst is a late indicator of dehydration. Don’t drink fluids with alcohol or large amounts of sugar. If you are not urinating every two to three hours or the urine is dark, then you need to drink more. Acclimation occurs over the course of several weeks and actually causes a body to sweat more efficiently.

Minimizing exposure, staying well hydrated, frequent rests, protective clothing, and acclimation all reduce the risks of heat-related illness.

Brad Salzmann is an orthopedics physician assistant at Gifford. He also has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management, and serves as part of a national Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in Worcester, Mass.

Randolph Concert Series Begins Tuesday at Gifford

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center’s summer concert series resumes Tuesday with the Phineas Gage Project in the Randolph hospital’s Route 12 park at 6 p.m.

A folk funk band from Waitsfield, Phineas Gage features Rob Williams, Erica Stroem and James Kinne on guitar, mandolin and djembe, plus the occasional hooter and harmonica.

The band plays “music for happy brains,” including “grove-filled” originals and favorite covers from the past 50 years. It’s music to dance by and brought to you thanks to sponsorship from Gillespie Fuels and Propane and The Frankenburg Agency.

The following week, on July 30, The Lyra Summer Music Workshop comes to the Gifford park. Lyra Summer Music is an intensive summer workshop for piano and string musicians.

Featured on July 30 in Randolph at Gifford will be students and faculty performing a broad array of classical solo and chamber music selections. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

In a rescheduled concert (due to rain), the Friends of Gifford perform on Aug. 1. Performing will be Gifford employees Greg McConnell, Mike Berry and Claudette Goad, who make up Diamonds in the Rough, a blue grass and gospel group. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane.

Songs and standards from Chris Smith and Friends follows on Aug. 6, again sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane. Smith is a local musician, educator and writer.

Panton Flats, a blues, soul, rock and R&B group from Vergennes, plays on Aug. 13. Born out of an impromptu jam session at 2009 benefit concert, Panton Flats has been playing its original and highly “danceable” music around Vermont since. Its Gifford concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

Finally, on Aug. 20, fiddler Beth Telford and guitarist Jim Green visit the Gifford park with their Celtic museum. The concert is sponsored by The Frankenburg Agency.

All shows are at 6 p.m. Bring your lawn chair, picnic blanket, family and friends. Concerts are weather dependent. Visit www.giffordmed.org or like Gifford on Facebook for updates. Gifford and the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to organize the series.

Gifford Offering a Variety of Trainings for Parents, Children

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center is offering a handful of upcoming trainings aimed at children and families.

On Aug. 8, the Randolph hospital is host to both a “Family and Friends CPR” course and a “Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development” training. Both events are from 6-8 p.m. The non-certification CPR course is offered by Gifford’s Blueprint team in Conference Center. Register by calling 728-7100, ext. 6.

The sexual development course is in The Family Center (beside Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery) and offered by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. The course, aimed at child care providers and parents of young children, focuses on normal sexual development and behaviors in young children, and what both children and adults need to know to keep children safer.

Among the topics to be discussed are how to response to sexual questions and behaviors, and preventing child sexual abuse.

Participants must register by calling Nancy Clark at Gifford at 728-2274.

Clark follows this training with two others – these aimed at children.

On Saturday, Aug. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. a Babysitter’s Training Course will be offered in The Family Center. The course teaches budding babysitters how to be safe, responsible and successful. It covers good business practices, basic care, diapering, safety, play, proper hand washing, handling infants, responding to injuries, decision making in emergencies, action plans and much more.

Communication skills are emphasized along with being a good role model, and participants receive a certification card upon completion of the course and reference notebook to take home. The course is offered by instructor Jude Powers.

Would-be babysitters should sign up with Clark by Aug. 17. There is a $20 fee to participant and participants should bring their lunch.

Finally on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Powers will offer a training for children ages 8-11 called “Home Alone and Safe.”

Designed by chapters of the American Red Cross, this course teaches children how to respond to home alone situations, including Internet safety, family communications, telephone safety, sibling care, personal and gun safety, and basic emergency care. Children will role play, brainstorm, watch a video, take home a workbooks and handouts, and earn a certification upon completion.

The cost to participate is $15. Participants should sign up with Clark, again at 728-2274.

For more information on other upcoming Gifford events, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Randolph Concert Series Begins Tuesday at Gifford

summer concert seriesGifford Medical Center’s summer concert series starts tomorrow (Tuesday, July 16) and continues primarily on Tuesdays throughout the summer. All shows are free and start at 6 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Route 12 park space.

Starting the series is the South Royalton Band, conducted by Dick Ellis and comprised of more than two dozen musicians from central Vermont. One of few surviving town bands in the region, the South Royalton Band is known for playing marches, songs from Broadway, novelties, Dixieland music, patriotic numbers and more. The South Royalton Band plays July 16. The concert is sponsored by The Frankenburg Agency.

The following week on July 23 folk funk band Phineas Gage of Waitsfield takes to the Gifford park. Sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and The Frankenburg Agency, Phineas Gage is an acoustic power band playing “music for happy brains,” including originals and covers from the last 50 years.

On July 30 will be The Lyra Summer Music Workshop, including students and faculty participating in an intensive summer workshop for piano and string musicians. Performed will be a broad array of classical solo and chamber music selections. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

In a rescheduled concert (due to rain), the Friends of Gifford perform on Aug. 1. Performing will be Gifford employees Greg McConnell, Mike Berry and Claudette Goad, who make up Diamonds in the Rough, a blue grass and gospel group. The concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane.

Songs and standards from Chris Smith and Friends follows on Aug. 6, again sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane. Smith is a local musician, educator and writer.

Panton Flats, a blues, soul, rock and R&B group from Vergennes, plays on Aug. 13. Born out of an impromptu jam session at 2009 benefit concert, Panton Flats has been playing its original and highly “danceable” music around Vermont since. Its Gifford concert is sponsored by Gillespie Fuels and Propane and Catamount Kitchen and Design.

Finally, on Aug. 20, fiddler Beth Telford and guitarist Jim Green visit the Gifford park with their Celtic museum. The concert is sponsored by The Frankenburg Agency.

Bring your lawn chair, picnic blanket, family and friends. Concerts are weather-dependent. Visit www.giffordmed.org or “like” Gifford on Facebook for updates. Gifford and the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to organize the series.

Experienced Anesthesiologist Dr. Madeline Waid Joins Gifford

Gifford Medical CenterRANDOLPH – Madeline Waid dreamed of being a musician. Her mother wasn’t having it.

“My mother would take me around and show me all of the unemployed people who majored in music,” Waid recalls.

Waid’s fallback? Medicine. She was good at science and so – to her mother’s great delight – she attended Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., for her undergraduate degree and then the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno. She went on to a general surgery internship at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y., and an anesthesiology residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Anesthesiology became her calling after she spent time in an operating room, and didn’t want to leave. Anesthesiologists’ careers are spent primarily in the OR. They also dedicate themselves to one patient at a time and provide direct care, rather than writing an order that a nurse or other health care provider will later carry out, Dr. Waid explains, calling the field as much art as science. It is an art Dr. Waid has been performing well for 23 years.

Since completing her residency in 1990, Dr. Waid has gone on to work at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M., Champlain Valley Medical Anesthesia Services in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and CVPH Medical Center, also in Plattsburgh.

She now joins Gifford to be a little closer to her now grown children, to work in a community hospital and for the outstanding work environment.

“When I started at CVPH it was just a little bigger than Gifford. I wanted to get back to the small community hospital feel,” said Waid, who was also impressed with the friendliness of staff and transparency at her new employer. “Everyone was so helpful. ‘I really want to be here,’” she recalls saying following her interview.

That dream became reality in July when she joined the Surgery Division and team of anesthesiologists working out of Gifford’s three busy operating rooms.

Personable and friendly, a warm Dr. Waid approaches patients with a sense of humor and strives to make each patient as comfortable as possible. She provides a wide array of anesthesia services, but has special interests in pediatrics and sedation.

Dr. Waid is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology as well as by the National Board of Medical Examiners.

A native of Nevada, she now lives in Randolph – just down the street from the hospital. She lives with her husband, James Owens, a college lecturer in computer science who has spent the last three years teaching in Iraq. Together they have three adult children. In her free time, Dr. Waid enjoys music, namely playing the piano, as well as gardening, travel and reading.

Visit www.giffordmed.org to learn more or call the Ambulatory Care Center at Gifford at (802) 728-2475.

Year in Review – Part 3

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the third quarter excerpt.

JULY

Gifford summer concertsGifford’s first in a summer-long series of concerts in the park is led by Dick Ellis and the South Royalton Band.

Experienced certified nurse-midwife Ellen McAndrew returns to Gifford, expanding midwifery care to the Twin River Health Center in White River Junction.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Nazek Shabayek joins the surgery team. She previously practiced for more than 25 years in Tennessee and Connecticut.

Gifford holds the 1st Annual Randolph Antique and Artisans’ Fair in the park.

A Babysitter’s Training Course in The Family Center teaches youth how to be safe, responsible, and successful babysitters.

With the addition of Gifford nurse practitioner Sheri Brown, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin begins offering family care in addition to midwifery, orthopedics, podiatry, and soon neurology.

AUGUST

Family nurse practitioner Andrea LaRosa joins the Sharon Health Center sports medicine team.

A “Home Alone and Safe” course in The Family Center helps children ages 8-11 be better prepared for home-alone situations.

A one-night CPR class is offered to family and friends of infants and children, with subsequent classes in November and February.

Last Mile RideThe seventh annual Last Mile Ride, held on the third Saturday in August, raises $54,000 for end-of-life and advanced illness care. The ride, which this year also includes a 5K, attracts 225 motorcyclists, 60 runners/walkers, and 20 cyclists.

Free classes are offered and soon a support group starts for the state’s many home caregivers.

Healthier Living Workshops – free six-week classes for the chronically ill – are offered through the year at Gifford. A new workshop focuses on chronic pain.

Chiropractor Dr. Andrea Kannas joins the Sharon Health Center’s sports medicine team.

SEPTEMBER

Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian Jennifer Stratton strives to help those on a budget better grapple with eating healthy during a free talk titled “Eating Right When Money’s Tight”. The talk is followed up with visits to the grocery store and local food shelf, where Stratton offers hands-on shopping tips.

The medical center once again ends its fiscal year on budget and having met its state-approved operating margin. It is the 13th consecutive year of fiscal success. This feat is unique to Gifford and representative of its teamwork and commitment to care.

Randolph Man Named Nation’s ‘Outstanding Senior Volunteer’

95-year-old Major Melvin McLaughlin warmly celebrated

Major recognition

From left, Patrice Thabault of Home Instead Senior Care presents 2013 Outstanding Senior Volunteer Major Melvin McLaughlin and Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin with a $5,500 in recognition of McLaughlin to support a charity of his choice, Gifford.

Randolph’s Maj. Melvin McLaughlin has spent more than 40 years selflessly volunteering at his local medical center, Gifford. On Wednesday that volunteerism was recognized – big time.

The 95-year-old retired U.S. Marine, fondly known as “Major,” was named the country’s 2013 Outstanding Senior Volunteer by Home Instead Senior Care.

Home Instead is the world’s largest provider of non-medical, in-home care services for seniors. Last year it launched the Salute to Senior Service Contest to recognize senior volunteerism.

Nominated by the staff at Gifford for his daily visits to the hospital, McLaughlin was named the Vermont winner of the contest last month and on Wednesday at noon at Gifford in Randolph was recognized as the national winner.

“Home Instead wants to encourage a positive outlook on aging,” Vermont franchise owner Patrice Thabault noted in presenting the award. “The Major and other (senior) volunteers are really changing the face of aging in the United States.”

With the recognition came a $5,500 check ($500 as the state winner and $5,000 as the national winner) from Home Instead to Gifford, the charity that McLaughlin chose to recognize with his award.

Major recognition

Representatives of VA Medical Center, from left, Chief of Voluntary Services Karen Campbell and Patient Services Manager Wendy DeCoff, present 2013 national Outstanding Senior Volunteer Major Melvin McLaughlin of Randolph with a Courage of Valor award. The award is for World War II veterans who are VA patients.

The gifts didn’t stop at the national recognition, however.

Hearing about McLaughlin’s honor, VA Medical Center Chief of Voluntary Service Karen Campbell attended Wednesday’s presentation to honor McLaughlin, a long-time VA patient, with its Courage of Valor award.

“They don’t necessarily have the time, but they always have the heart,” Campbell said of volunteers, “and, boy, do you have that.”

Fran Keeler of Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) read a letter of commendation from DAIL Commissioner Susan Wehry. “Your more than 40 years of dedicated service … is appreciated. You’re an inspiration to us,” Wehry wrote.

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent his own letter of congratulations, thanking McLaughlin “for demonstrating such generosity and goodwill over the past four decades.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy sent McLaughlin a flag that had flown over U.S. Capitol.

And Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin unveiled a granite plaque anonymously donated and featuring the words McLaughlin says to each patient, nursing home resident, and staff member he visits at Gifford: “Has anyone today told you that they love you?” McLaughlin then answers, “God does and I do too.”

The plaque of Barre granite now sits in the hospital’s visitors’ entrance as a permanent fixture for all to see.

Major recognition

Major Melvin McLaughlin, the nation’s 2013 Outstanding Senior Volunteer, is surrounded by his three daughters, from left, Sally Truckenbrod of Bethel, Nancy Stevens of Raleigh, N.C., and Audrey Rhoades of Washington, N.H. The daughters surprised him by all attending a July 3 celebration of McLaughlin’s national recognition. It is the first time the family was all together since McLaughlin’s wife’s passing almost four years early to the day. She died on July 4 and was a resident of the Menig Extended Care Facility at Gifford, where McLaughlin still volunteers.

McLaughlin first moved to Randolph in 1967 after retiring from 25 years with the U.S. Marines, serving in World War II, Korea, and the infancy of Vietnam. He built a home and a second for one of his daughters, Sally, and then found himself with free time. He started volunteering at Gifford on Thursdays, delivering the local newspaper to patients.

Later, he took patient meal orders on a clipboard and then several years ago began making general rounds seven days a week, visiting with patients and staff alike, offering his telltale phrase of love, plenty of hugs, a positive attitude, and plenty of gratitude.

Woodin called that gift of love an intangible, but a powerful gift that anyone can afford. The fact that that gift and lesson on experiencing love comes from a tough Marine makes it all the more powerful.

Woodin sought to return the favor by asking the large crowd in attendance at Wednesday award announcement to honor McLaughlin with a warmly and loudly delivered, “We love you, Major.”

“My cup runneth over,” Major said in response, encouraging all in attendance to live each day with only gladness, no shame. “Thank you, Lord, for your blessings. I am a rich man.”

Read much more about McLaughlin on the Salute to Senior Service Web site, www.salutetoseniorservice.com, and look for him in Thursday’s Randolph Fourth of July Parade. He is the grand marshal.

Year in Review – Part 2

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the second quarter excerpt.

APRIL

Blueprint teamTo support patient needs, the Blueprint team grows to include a behavioral health specialist (social worker) and a second care coordinator.

Gynecologist Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Bethel and Twin River health centers leads a free women’s health talk at the Montshire Museum on menopause and genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers.

Gov. Peter Shumlin visits the Menig Extended Care Facility to offer thanks to the state’s top nursing home, calling it a “tribute to the community”. “We’re proud of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” the governor said to residents, families, and staff members. The governor’s visit came in the wake of the U.S. News Report “2012 Honor Roll” listing.

Gov. Peter ShumlinJoining Gov. Shumlin are Vermont Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry, Vermont Health Care Association Executive Director Laura Pelosi, Division of Licensing and Protection Director Suzanne Leavitt, and Assistant Director Fran Keeler.

Gifford provides free assistance with advance directives in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Gifford’s more than 200 volunteers are honored with a luncheon served by hospital managers, prize awards, musical performances, and more.

Dr. Sandy Craig joins the hospitalist team, having previously practiced at The Health Center in Plainfield for many years.

March of DimesEmployees raise $455 for the March of Dimes by donning “Blue Jeans for Babies”. At the same time, the Vermont Chapter of the March of Dimes recognizes Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth, and newborn care, and its support of the non-profit organization working to prevent birth defects, premature births, and infant mortality.

Long-time pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola receives a national award for his work around childhood immunizations.

Dr. DiNicola is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the CDC Foundation as the first ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont.

MAY

Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante joins the women’s health team full-time. She had worked as a Menig celebrationlocum tenens, or part-time contracted, provider at Gifford since 2009.

Menig residents celebrate a “Day of Play” with representatives of the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living. The day celebrated Older American’s Month and included a scavenger hunt.

JUNE

The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center holds its annual preschool graduation, complete with caps and gowns.

Gifford and Valley Rescue Squad Inc. move forward with the formation of a new non-profit aimed at stabilizing ambulance costs and maintaining or improving quality through a new non-profit to be called Supporting Ambulances for Vermont Emergencies (SAVE).

A free men’s health talk by general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli and urologist Dr. Richard Graham address colorectal health, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

For an eighth consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility receives a Nursing Home Quality Recognition from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.

A free talk on Medicare insurance, why it’s important, why participating in Medicare Part B is beneficial, and what one’s choices are under Medicare Part D is offered.

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons grants accreditation with commendation to the cancer program at Gifford. Gifford’s cancer program, which includes outpatient chemotherapy, has been accredited since 1965.

Family nurse practitioner Emily LeVan joins the Bethel Health Center.

Gifford is awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for “courteous, compassionate, and caring services for patients, family, and the community.” The ranking places Gifford among “America’s most customer-friendly hospitals”.