Honors bestowed on hospital boards in Potsdam, Massena, Gouverneur
From the left are Gouverneur Hospital Board Vice Chair Christine Betrus; Gouverneur Community Center Director David Spilman, Jr.; Gouverneur Hospital Board Member Roger Cook, DVM; Gouverneur Hospital Chief Executive Officer Eric Burch; Gouverneur Community Center Chair Ron McDougall; Gouverneur Hospital Board Chair Andrew Leonard; Gouverneur Hospital Board Member Carolyn Pistolesi; and St. Lawrence Health Board Chair Edward Mucenski. Submitted Photo.The Board of Directors’ from St. Lawrence Health’s (SLH) three hospitals recently presented their 2020-2021 Community Service Awards to three organizations in the North Country.
The Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board awarded St. Lawrence County Public Health, the Massena Hospital Board acknowledged the Massena Emergency Operations Center, and the Gouverneur Hospital Board honored the Gouverneur Community Center.
They were each recognized for “their extraordinary commitment, service, and ongoing support to our communities and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The award is the highest honor bestowed by each hospital board, and is given to individuals or organizations that have improved the health of communities in our region.
St. Lawrence Health President and Canton-Potsdam Hospital CEO David Acker, FACHE, noted the leadership, support, and proactive way St. Lawrence County Public Health stepped forward was tremendously important throughout the pandemic.
“We knew we had many obstacles here due to the nature of our population – nursing homes, prisons, colleges,” he said. “What changed the dynamic was the vision, the leadership, and the courage to get out in front of it to do all those things that needed to happen, and the institution that did that was the St. Lawrence County Department of Public Health.
“COVID-19 is hopefully a once in a lifetime event. I can’t say enough about the tireless, exhaustive work Dr. Williams did to keep us informed and moving ahead, and to make sure we were as vigilant as we could be, and yet prepared for the people we needed to protect,” Mr. Acker said of SLH Associate Chief Medical Officer Andrew Williams, MD, who also serves as the SLC Public Health Board Chair.
Mr. Acker further thanked the County Public Health leadership team and their employees. “We owe you a debt of gratitude,” he said.
From left to right are Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board Chair Mark Cornett, St. Lawrence Health Board Chair Edward Mucenski, St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle, St. Lawrence County Public Health Medical Director Andrew Williams, MD, Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board Vice Chair Michael Griffin, St. Lawrence County Public Health Interim Director Jolene Munger, Canton-Potsdam Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Acker, and St. Lawrence Health Senior Vice President of Administration Jeremy Slaga. Photo Submitted.
Gouverneur Hospital CEO Eric Burch pointed to how the Gouverneur Community Center opened its doors to accommodate the local residents, however possible. The staff and volunteers assisted when the Center became a vaccination point, and when the Hospital needed an off-site location to host its blood drives.
“Additionally, the Center’s social media page served as an open line of communication for vaccination updates, including times and registration support,” he said.
“Our community is healthier and safer because of the Community Health Center, and the vision and management of all those individuals who helped make the Center a reality from the very beginning,” Mr. Burch added.
Massena Hospital CEO David Bender said the Massena Emergency Operations Center team is to be commended for ensuring the safety and strength of the community throughout the pandemic.
“In response to COVID-19’s arrival, the Center was set up quickly as an open line of communication with Massena’s largest employers, community support groups, and local government,” he said.
Among the many initiatives the Center oversaw were identifying a wellness hotline for residents to call if they needed support, launching a social media platform to post the most up-to-date information, and acquiring personal protective equipment for local emergency services.
“It has truly been an honor to work with this incredible team of professionals over the past year. We are healthier and safer because of their unending commitment,” Mr. Bender said.
Awardees are chosen by each hospital’s Board of Directors from a slate of nominees.
From the left are Massena Hospital Vice Chair Real “Frenchie” Coupal; St. Lawrence Health Board Chair Edward Mucenski; Massena Hospital Board Chair Loretta Perez; Massena Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Bender; and members of the Massena Emergency Operations Center’s Management Team: Village of Massena Fire Foreman/Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy, Village of Massena Administrator Monique Chatland, Village of Massena Code Office Clerk James Caruso, and 1st Assistant Chief, Massena Volunteer Fire Dept. Inc. Tom Miller. Submitted Photo.