95-year-old Major Melvin McLaughlin warmly celebrated
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.
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 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.
Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the second quarter excerpt.
To 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.
Joining 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.
Employees 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.
Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante joins the women’s health team full-time. She had worked as a locum 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.
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”.
Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the first quarter excerpt.
Urologist Dr. Richard Graham and menopause practitioner Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Twin River Health Center offer a free talk at the Montshire Museum on urinary incontinence.
Gifford is once again awarded a grant from the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program. For the 11th year, Gifford is the only entity in Vermont to receive the $35,000 grant for breast cancer awareness education and outreach.
Pediatrics and adolescent medicine moves from the main medical center building to Dr. Chris Soares’ former space at the corner of South Main and Maple streets. Joining the practice on the first floor of the renovated, spacious Victorian home is pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
A free three-week series on heart health includes talks from cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus and registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier as well as a heart-healthy cooking demonstration from Gifford’s chefs.
As part of Gifford’s expanded efforts under the Vermont Blueprint for Health, a chronic illness support group – Chronic HealthShare Consortium – is launched and begins meeting monthly.
Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli strives to bring colon health to the forefront with a free health talk, “Everyone’s Got One: A Discussion on the Colon and How to Keep It Healthy”.
Pacemaker surgeries return to Gifford after a quarter century hiatus.
The Menig Extended Care Facility is named among nation’s top 39 nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report, which released a list of “2012 Honor Roll” nursing homes. Menig was the only nursing home chosen in Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire.
The 106th Annual Corporators Meeting is held at the medical center and features Steve Kimbell, commissioner of what was then the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Leo Connolly, Fred Newhall, and Peter Nowlan are elected to the Board of Trustees.
A Vermont House of Representatives resolution recognizes “the outstanding health care services provided by Gifford Medical Center”. The resolution is in honor of Gifford’s more than 100 years of service to the Randolph area and for its many recent awards.
The Diabetes Education Expo focuses on teeth and feet and how diabetes can keep both healthy. It is the 7th annual exposition organized by the Diabetes Clinic especially for the growing diabetes population.
An open house is held for pediatrics’ new space at 40 South Main Street. Children attending enjoy face painting, balloons, snacks, tours of their new doctor’s office, bike helmet fittings, and painting tiles that have become part of the clinic’s permanent decor.
From left, Menig Extended Care Facility licensed nursing assistants Loretta Cushing and Darlene Doyle and licensed practical nurse Anne Murphy gather around nursing home resident Della Allen, 99, on Wednesday. The nursing home at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph was recognized among the nation’s 2013 Best Nursing Homes.
RANDOLPH – For a third consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility at Gifford Medical Center has been named among the nation’s very best nursing homes by U.S. News & World Report.
Looking at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data regarding health inspection, level of nursing staffing and quality of care for nearly 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, U.S. News & World created and released a “2013 Best Nursing Homes” list on Tuesday. Menig, along with seven other Vermont nursing homes, made the list for its “five-star” (the maximum available) rating.
Menig was also recognized in 2011 and 2012 and was named among the top 39 nursing homes in the nation last year.
“I am so proud of the Menig staff. We work in a place that is clean, well maintained, has great food and a dedicated pool of volunteers who love the elderly. Varied activities keep the residents’ quality of life high. This teamwork and our nursing staff’s commitment to care are what make Menig such a high-quality home,” said Cindy Richardson, Menig director of nursing. “This honor is wonderful recognition of the work we do on behalf of our residents every day.”
The U.S. News list is created to help consumers find quality nursing home care. Homes are given between one and five stars in the rankings.
“Fewer than one out of every five nursing homes got an overall rating of five stars,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “All seniors deserve the best nursing care available, and these are homes that merit their consideration by demonstrating such high quality.”
Menig is a 30-bed nursing home attached to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The medical center is currently amid the permitting process to move the nursing to Randolph Center where it would become the anchor of a senior living community. The new community would include independent and assisted living as well, helping to meet a significant community need for more senior care and living options. The move would also free up space at Gifford to create industry-standard single inpatient rooms (rather than shared two-person rooms) for patient safety and privacy.
Learn more about the nursing home rankings here. Also, you can learn more about Menig online at www.giffordmed.org.
Miss Vermont USA wows Menig nursing home residents
RANDOLPH – If the residents of the Menig Extended Care Facility get their way, Miss Vermont USA 2013 Sarah Westbrook will easily be crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas in June.
Westbrook, 24, visited the Randolph nursing home Wednesday afternoon. With grace and plenty of humor, the Burlington beauty answered questions, posed for pictures and let residents try on her surprisingly heavy crown.
Her visit was organized by friend Jennifer Joseph, an East Montpelier resident and Vermont Technical College nursing student who did her clinical training at Menig.
“I love it. The residents made such an impact on me,” says Joseph, who wanted to give back. “It was the only way I could think to give back some of what they gave me. I just wanted to see them smile, because they all made me smile.”
And smile they did. There was laughter, tears, accolades, and humor.
“I’m very proud to have you. It’s an honor,” 96-year-old resident Annie Gaiko told Westbrook. “You live here in this atmosphere with all of these old bucks, and it’s nice to see a young one. You’ve got the world by the tail.”
Resident Edie Reynolds assured Westbrook that she would go all the way in the competition, calling her beautiful inside and out.
Whether Westbrook, a fitness instructor and student studying health and wellness, becomes Miss USA won’t be known until June. One thing is certain, however. Thirty nursing home residents, some as old as 101, will be pulling for her come pageant night.
Students from the Baptist Fellowship of Randolph work with Menig Extended Care Facility nursing home residents to create boxes of gifts for needy children around the world through Operation Christmas Child. Through donations from Menig residents and staff as well as businesses, the group was able to make 100 boxes.
The Baptist Fellowship continues to collect shoeboxes filled with small toys, school supplies and hygiene items through Monday. Drop-off hours are today from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday and Friday from 3-7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. A packing party, where another 200 boxes are expected to be created, will also be held Saturday from 2-4 p.m. For more information on what to include in your box, stop by the church for a brochure or visit www.samaritanspurse.org.
Among the participants was Luke Sweet, who received an Operation Christmas Child box as an orphan in the Ukraine. Here Sweet, now the adopted son of Pastor George and Gina Sweet of Randolph Center, is pictured with 99-year-old resident Della Allen.
Gifford celebrated Halloween yesterday with staff dressing up, a pumpkin-decorating contest, The Robin’s Nest kids parading through the hospital, and Menig Extended Care Facility members welcoming trick or treaters at night.
Mark your calendars: Gifford Medical Center’s Annual Craft Fair in support of the hospital’s Adult Day Program is coming Nov. 16 and 17.
The Craft Fair – now in its 17th year – takes place in the hospital’s Conference Center, hallways, spacious visitors’ entrance and the adjoining Menig Extended Care Facility’s large living room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The fair is an opportunity to start your holiday shopping while also supporting a worthy cause: Gifford Adult Day Program activities.
Adult Day provides safe day care, personal hygiene help, medication administration, healthy meals, activities and socialization to the elderly and disabled below the Bethel Health Center on Route 107.
The fair also supports our local craftspeople.
Items for sale will include handcrafted jewelry, homemade baked goods and foods, woodcrafts, quilting, homemade pillows, hand painted Christmas ornaments, and more made by area crafters.
The fair is open to the public and all are welcome.
Vendor space is still available, although vendors signing up now must supply their own table. Call organizer Bonnie Pettit at 763-8828 to become a vendor or learn more.
Gifford is on Route 12 south of Randolph village at 44 S. Main St. The Conference Center entrance is just off from the patient parking area and is marked. The handicapped-accessible visitors’ entrance, where crafts are also expected to be on display, is on the southern end of the hospital. Signs will also help guide you.
Northfield fiber artist Pamela Druhen, far left, recently shared some of her unique “Threadscapes” with Menig Extended Care Facility residents.
The pieces meld quilting and thread work to create what look like paintings in fabric and thread.
Some of Druhen’s smaller pieces are on display in Gifford Medical Center’s gallery in Randolph. She brought larger pieces to adjoining Menig to provide the nursing home residents their own private art show. Staff and residents peppered her with questions on her technique and were astounded by her work.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott arrives at Gifford on Tuesday (Photo provided by Robin Palmer)
In the final day of his “Cycling Vermont’s 14” 500-mile bicycle tour of the state’s 14 counties, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stopped at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph early Tuesday afternoon.
Scott, who is seeking re-election next month, was met by a small group of Gifford employees and community supporters. Scott briefly talked fitness as vital to good health, and safety. On the first day of his journey he encountered railroad tracks and cracked his helmet, he said.
On the last day, with a new helmet securely in place, his visit to Gifford led to an impromptu tour of the medical center’s Menig Extended Care Facility nursing home, which Gifford is trying to rebuild in Randolph Center as part of a senior living community.
Scott, riding with John Connor, was scheduled to conclude his eight-day journey on the chilly Tuesday in Barre at 5:30 p.m. Continue reading →