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Shining a Light on Volunteers

April 15, 2019

Photo (L-R): Smithtown High School East (SHSE) Educator/Advisor Doreen Kelly, SHSE Educator/Advisor Stephen Costello, President of the SHSE Business Honor Society Brianna Celano, Sophie Romano, Spencer Dichte, Nicole Cannata, Jane Allan, RN, St. Catherine’s Directory of Maternity Neila Hernandez, NP, Vice President of SHSE Business Honor Society Thomas Callan sitting in the newly donated rocking chair.

National Volunteer Appreciation Week is celebrated across the country from April 7-13—and while St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center prioritizes daily gratitude to volunteers who share their gift of time and care—senior leadership takes great pride in recognizing and celebrating volunteers during the annual appreciation week. Each year, the Medical Center hosts a special volunteer luncheon for all volunteers who donate their skills at the Hospital, Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center and Medical Office Building. This year’s celebration luncheon was held during the national volunteer week on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Stonebridge Golf Links Country Club—where volunteers were thanked for donating the gift of time to care for others.

This year’s national theme was Points of Light—a theme the Medical Center embraced as each table was adorned with model light houses to remind volunteers that the invaluable work they do has such an far-reaching impact. “Our volunteers give back in so many ways in various departments throughout the hospital, we value them for all they do,” said St. Catherine’s Chief Operating Officer John Pohlman.



Photo (L-R): St. Catherine’s Vice President of Quality, Patient Safety and Regulatory Affairs/HIPPA Privacy Officer Michelle Goldfarb, St. Catherine’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center Administrator John Chowske, Volunteer Art Berger (1,037 hours in 2018), St. Catherine of Siena’s Chief Operating Officer John Pohlman, Bonnie Mele (1,161 hours in 2018), James Cussen (783 hours in 2018), St. Catherine’s Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jane Finnegan, St. Catherine Chief Medical Officer Mickel Khlat, DO and St. Catherine’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center Nursing Director Cindy LePage

The appreciation luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate each volunteer individually and recognize the unique hours served at the Medical Center. Volunteers were honored for 100 hours of service to a record-breaking 24,928 hours served. The highest hours of service is held by long-time volunteer and Smithtown resident Georgia Priebe. “Georgia is a gem at St. Catherine, known and loved by all—we are always humbled by her dynamic spirit and are honored to call her St. Catherine family,” said St. Catherine’s Director of Public Affairs and Volunteers Heather Reynolds. Other volunteers were thanked for holding the most time donated in 2018, including Bonnie Mele with 1,161 hours, Art Berger with 1,037 and James Cussen with 783 hours.

St. Catherine’s volunteers are diverse, as the hospital welcomes volunteers from age 14. During National Volunteer Week, a group of volunteers from Smithtown High School’s Business Honor Society generously donated $692 to support the purchase of a new Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Rocker for the Maternity Department. The business-minded students coordinated an event—Taste of Smithtown—where restaurants from the area donated their services in support of the philanthropic effort to raise funds for the hospital. “The restaurants donated their time and food, so we could charge an entry fee, which helped our society raise money for the hospital,” said Brianna Celano, current student president of the Business Honor Society.

“We are very appreciative of the donation, which replaced an older and bulkier chair—the new rocker is light and easy to wheel throughout the unit,” said St. Catherine’s Director of Maternity Services, Neila Hernandez, NP.

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges to help build stronger communities. St. Catherine of Siena recognizes the tremendous efforts volunteers make when lending their time, talent and voice to help make a difference. If you would like to volunteer, the hospital is currently seeking adult volunteers for its Gift Shop, Front Desk or at The Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center.