Hospital VP receives ‘Patriot Award’ for support of citizen soldiers
David Wheel, executive director of the Vermont Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presents Gifford Medical Center Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry with a Patriot Award. Joining in receiving the award are, from left, Gifford Surgery Nurse Manager Jamie Floyd, Gifford Surgical Services Office Manager Bethany Osha, Wheel, O’Berry, Guard specialist and Gifford health care assistant Marc Truedson, and former Guard member and Gifford registered nurse Caitlyn Bushey. Truedson nominated O’Berry for the award. (Provided: Robin Palmer)
Marc Truedson’s commitment to serve the country as a specialist in the Vermont National Guard means time away from work as a health care assistant at Gifford Medical Center. Truedson’s employer supports his time away, filling shifts so that he can serve.
Recently Truedson discovered a way to thank Gifford and his senior manager, Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry, for that support. He nominated O’Berry for a Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
The ESGR is a Department of Defense operational committee that, with the help of volunteers, promotes and enhances civilian employer support of citizen soldiers.
On Monday afternoon, Vermont ESGR Executive Director David Wheel delivered the award and many kind words to O’Berry and her team. Continue reading →
Gifford Medical Center volunteer Maj. Melvin McLaughlin of Randolph has been nominated in the Salute to Senior Service Contest for his 40-plus years of volunteerism at the Randolph hospital.
Major, as he is known, is one of seven Vermonters nominated and hospital staff members are hoping that those who know and love Major will visit www.salutetoseniorservice.com between April 15-30 to vote for Major as the state’s winner and for a chance at a national recognition as “the most outstanding senior volunteer in the U.S.”
Your vote determines the state winner. A panel of judges picks the national winner.
A complete write-up on Major is available on the site. Here’s a bit of what the medical center had to say about their friend:
Every single day, now 95-year-old Maj. Melvin McLaughlin makes the short drive from his Randolph home to his local hospital, Gifford Medical Center, to lend more than a helping hand; he lends a helping heart. Pushing a walker, Major visits every hospital unit and Gifford’s adjoining nursing home to offer patients and staff alike love, a listening ear, and the sincerest of thanks. Whether at a patient or staff member’s side, male or female, stranger or friend, Major – as most know him – breaks the ice with a catch phrase: “Has anyone told you today that they love you?” If the answer is no, Major is ready with his reply: “Well, God loves you and so do I.” Staff members are also treated to the most heartfelt thanks for the job they do and somewhere in this sharing of love, there is almost always a hug between the kind-hearted Major and those lucky enough to step in his path.
“Gifford is home,” he’s told us on more than one occasion. “I have so many friends here, from the top to the bottom. And I emphasize the bottom because I like to tell those people, ‘Thank you for what you do, because without your labors this place would not stand.”
We at Gifford love Major. He is a brilliant and beautiful light in the day. As one nurse put it, “A day without Major is a day without sunshine.” He is the personification of what we are as an organization – warm, compassionate, supportive, humbled and blessed to be able to care for others. Introduce a new staff member, patient, or nursing home resident to Major and we have just told them everything they need to know about us. We care. We’re family. We’re here for you. This is the type of individual who walks our halls. This is our benchmark for love. For his boundless selflessness, remarkable strength of character, and length of commitment, we can’t imagine an individual more deserving of this service award than our amazing, treasured friend Major.”
When the nomination was read at a volunteer appreciation luncheon at the medical center on April 10, Major received a standing ovation from all in attendance. The former Marine saluted his fellow volunteers.
Selfless community members give 16,524 hours to non-profit hospital
Susan O’Malley of Randolph
Gifford Medical Center recognized its 120 volunteers at an annual appreciation luncheon on Wednesday.
Volunteers gave 16,524 hours in 2012. That’s 2,066 eight-hour workdays or the equivalent of eight full-time employees, noted Ashley Lincoln, director of development and marketing. “That’s a pretty incredible number,” Lincoln said. “We really appreciate the smiles that you bring, your enthusiasm, and your willingness to come when you’re called.”
Arlene Conant of Randolph Center and Robin Rafuse Gurney of Randolph
Volunteers give of their time throughout the medical center, at its clinics, at the Adult Day, through chaplaincy, as part of the Board of Trustees and through the Gifford Auxiliary at the Thrift Shop. “We have a far reaching volunteer group and I thank all of you,” said Volunteer Services Coordinator Julie Fischer to the group of about 75 in attendance.
The volunteers were treated to live music by Thom Goodwin, quality and infection prevention manager at Gifford and a
Chris Furmeister of Randolph
musician. Gifford’s chefs prepared a meal based on the event’s Texas barbecue theme. Gifford staff volunteering as servers donned Western attire. And door prizes from generous local businesses, including Onion Flats, Randolph Village Pizza, Blue Moon Boutique, Belmains, Bud and Bella’s Bookshop, Dandelion Acres, Central Supplies, Chef’s Market, Holiday Beauty Salon and Tozier’s, were given out.
One volunteer in particular received a standing ovation after it was announced that the hospital has nominated him for a senior service award. Major Melvin McLaughlin, 95, has been volunteering at Gifford for more than 40 years.
Lincoln read the hospital’s nomination, which describes McLaughlin’s service and hospital staff members’ regard for the long-time volunteer. “We at Gifford love Major. He is a brilliant and beautiful light in the day. As one nurse put it, ‘A day without Major is a day without sunshine.’ He is the personification of what we are as an organization – warm, compassionate, supportive, humbled and blessed to be able to care for others. Introduce a new staff member, patient or nursing home resident to Major and we have just told them everything they need to know about us. We care. We’re family. We’re here for you.”
Nap and Agnes Pietryka of Randolph
The text of the full nomination is available online at www.salutetoseniorservice.com. Hospital administrators are hoping staff, volunteers and community members visit the site between April 15-30 to vote for McLaughlin, a Randolph resident since 1967.
McLaughlin, a member of the U.S. Marines for 25 years, saluted his fellow volunteers as they cheered him.
Volunteers also offered their thanks for the opportunity to give of their time at the medical center, an experience so many find extremely rewarding.
The event concluded with a presentation from LaRae Francis of Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team, who explained the team’s work to connect Gifford patients with needed community services and to help them better navigate the health system. The program is aimed at helping the chronically ill better manage their diseases by reducing barriers to care. The team has had 600 referrals since it began in February of 2011.
Community members wanting to access the program to receive help and learn about available community services can call (802) 728-2499. For information on volunteering at Gifford, call Fischer at (802) 728-2324.
The following is an excerpt from the 2011 Annual Report.
Facilitating a circle of giving
Linnie Laws, Kathy Corrao, and Ginny Cantlin knit and crochet hats and mittens for area school children in need. In 2011, 150 pieces were made by Auxiliary members and their friends.
The Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary is an organization both supported and motivated by donations. Among the medical center’s largest monetary contributors, the now 105-year-old Auxiliary is able to give so much because of the generosity it receives from the
community and its 135 members.
Auxiliary members knit hats and mittens for school children in need and contribute to the Randolph Area Food Shelf and Salvation Army. They help area youth and other area residents pursue health care careers or advance their careers through scholarships. They also volunteer at the Thrift Shop.
A staple in the community for 55 years, the Thrift Shop on the surface is a place to buy bargain-priced wears. Seemingly immune to any stereotypes the Thrift Shop is a source of pride for its shoppers, a daily gathering place for some and a resource to many truly in need.
“Terrible times have fallen upon us, and I just don’t know what to do,” Thrift Shop Manager Dianne Elias often hears. “When people are in true need, they know they can come to us.”
The Thrift Shop is also the main source of revenue for the Auxiliary’s generosity, and it is the community’s place to recycle good quality, unwanted clothes, and small household items, like kitchen ware and linens. The community’s generosity in giving to the Thrift Shop is evident in the piles of boxes and bags that fill the business’ receiving dock each day, but a single event in 2011 highlighted that generosity like no other, and that was
Tropical Storm Irene.
Many families lost everything, and Vermonters sprang into action.
“Every single person wanted to help,” recalls Dianne, “but didn’t know how to help, so they cleaned out their closets.”
The Thrift Shop was inundated.
“The generosity of the Vermont people was literally overwhelming,” says Auxiliary President David Peirce.
Community members crowd into a tent filled with giveaways following Tropical Storm Irene.
The dock overflowed. Donations filled all available storage space at the store and neighboring hospital. David counted the cars pulling up – 12 an hour, or one every five minutes. It went on for weeks. Eventually on a chilly October weekend two months after the flood, the Auxiliary held a giveaway and in the continued spirit of community, everyone pitched in.
The Thrift Shop’s 40 volunteers sorted the donations into men’s, women’s, pants, shirts, etc. Randolph Union High School Encore Theater Co. students worked with advisor Brian Rainville to carry the clothes from storage to tables set up under a tent. Their volunteer work was in thanks for the many costumes the Thrift Shop provides to the school.
Students from Tom Harty’s public safety and criminal justice class at Randolph Technical Career Center guarded the clothing overnight in below-freezing temperatures for the sale the next morning. In typical grateful fashion, the Auxiliary thanked them with a donation to their program.
The same tent by 4 p.m. that afternoon.
The sale was scheduled to last two days: Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30, but by 4 p.m. Saturday nearly everything was gone.
Of course, the donations kept coming in and plenty of goods along with vouchers for free items were offered to families rebuilding after Irene. Fire victims and others in need also often receive free goods.
For paying customers, their spending at the Thrift Shop ultimately goes to the medical center and its patients. In 2011, the Auxiliary supported Gifford’s Affordable Care Program, providing free and affordable care to patients in need. It fulfilled departments’ “Wish List” requests, bringing added equipment to patients utilizing the lab, Pediatrics, the Emergency Department, Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation programs, the Bethel and White River Junction health centers and more.
Volunteers gave more than 4,500 hours in 2011 at the Thrift Shop to make that giving possible. Auxiliary board members also give significant time to the non-profit volunteer-run organization.
The reasons why they do this are diverse, but all come down to one main motivation: supporting their community and their community hospital.
The Menig Extended Care Facility in Randolph celebrated a Day of Play on Thursday, May 17 in celebration of Older American’s Month.
The event was held at the urging of Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry, who sent two members of her staff, Will Rowe and Mary Woodruff, to join Menig nursing home residents, activities staff, volunteers and seventh-grade Community Connections class “buddies” from Randolph Union High School.
For their Day of Play, the Menig residents and visitors participated in a “scavenger hunt” that had them hugging trees, balancing things on their heads, wearing newspaper hats, forming a conga line by cars, posing by a flagpole and much more. The seventh graders then hung out with their Menig pals before heading back to class.
Community members gave record 18,000 hours in FY 2011
Hospice singing group Riverbend sings at Gifford Medical Center’s volunteer appreciation luncheon on April 18. The hospital has more than 200 volunteers, who gave nearly 18,000 hours during the previous fiscal year.
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center’s volunteers were honored Wednesday with a luncheon served by hospital managers, prize awards, musical performances, flowers and bags of toffee made by the Randolph hospital’s professional chefs.
More than 200 community members support the medical center with gifts of time to the hospital, Auxiliary and Thrift Shop, working as clerks, sorting clothes, working in offices, welcoming and visiting with patients, and much more.
Gifford Medical Center Environmental Services Manager Ruthie Adams shares a hug with hospital volunteer Ellie Winzenried. The Randolph medical center’s volunteers were honored on April 18.
“The quality of care and the experience that our patients enjoy at Gifford is because of you. It starts with you,” Ashley Lincoln, director of development, marketing and public relations, told the crowd of about 70. “We’re very fortunate to have a lovely campus, but the personal touch that you bring to it is what makes it special.”
Gail Bourassa, director of patient access and financial services, oversees the hospital’s patient registration department. Seeing a smiling volunteer at the front information desk helps make a patient’s day, and makes her day, Bourassa said.
Music therapist Islene Runningdeer of Brookfield performs at Gifford Medical Center’s volunteer recognition luncheon on April 18. Accompanying Runningdeer is her 4-year-old granddaughter, Livee True of Barre Town.
“Thank you so very much,” added Brooks Chapin on behalf of the Menig Extended Care Facility, Gifford’s nursing home. “The residents just adore you. The staff just adores you. It means so much.”
Volunteers gave a record of nearly 18,000 hours during the hospital’s last fiscal year, helping improve the medical center’s bottom line and bringing added compassion to the patient care experience.
“We celebrate all of you who offer your time each day. And there are a vast majority of you who are here who willingly evenings as well as weekends. We would not be the community we are without you. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate you during this event,” said Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fischer.
Gifford Medical Center volunteer Martha Umba is awarded a door prize from Terry MacDougal. MacDougal is the activities director at Gifford’s nursing home, which benefits from many volunteers.
Islene Runningdeer of Brookfield sang her thanks. “Thank you for our volunteers. Thank you for our caring friends,” the music therapist sang while her 4-year-old granddaughter, Livee True of Barre Town, accompanied her on the drum. Runningdeer sings and plays music for patients, often end-of-life patients, at Gifford and shared her gift with the volunteers at the luncheon.
Hospice singing group Riverbend also entertained. They joked that singing following a turkey dinner with all of the fixings was not their norm. They sing at the bedside of patients in distress or approaching the end-of-life at Gifford and at area homes, coming when called and offering their special brand of peace and comfort for free.