(From left) UHF board member Lori Evans Bernstein, WABC TV News anchor Ken Rosato, and UHF President Jim Tallon presented the awards.
The United Hospital Fund hosted its 23rd annual Hospital Auxilian and Volunteer Achievement Awards ceremony today at the Waldorf-Astoria, honoring 87 volunteers and auxilians who provide exceptional service to 61 hospitals or hospital divisions throughout the greater New York metropolitan area. WABC News' Ken Rosato was the special guest at the event, which drew over 700 attendees to the hotel's Grand Ballroom.
The honorees were chosen from among thousands of hospital volunteers in the metropolitan area, who collectively provide millions of hours of service annually. They range in age from their teens to their 80s and come from all walks of life—students, accountants, writers, and artists; retired teachers, nurses, and social workers; parents and grandparents; an Episcopal priest and a Holocaust survivor. They serve in virtually every hospital setting, from gifts shops and fundraising departments to emergency rooms and clinics—some first motivated by their own experiences as patients.
UHF board members Cary Kravet (left), CEO of Kravet, Inc., and David Levy, MD, CEO of AposTherapy, provided sponsorship support through their companies. The New York Football Giants also provided sponsorship support.
“If there is one event a year that best reaffirms the goodness of people, it's easy to make a case that it's this one,” said Jim Tallon, president of United Hospital Fund. “The volunteers we honor today give more than their time and their skills. They share their spirit of caring for others, and they do so in our hospitals, where people often are at their weakest and most vulnerable. They are a part of the tradition of volunteer service that has long played an important role in the delivery of our region's health care services, and clearly, the tradition is alive and well.”
Serving as special guest at the event was Ken Rosato, news anchor at WABC TV, from Channel 7's top-rated “Eyewitness News This Morning.” Mr. Rosato came to WABC-TV in 2003 from New York's WNYW-TV, where he was a reporter and anchor. Before that he worked at WFOR-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, where he covered the 2000 Presidential election vote-count stalemate. Prior to his career in television, which also included stints upstate and on Long Island, Mr. Rosato anchored the all-news radio station 1010 WINS.
Each of the honored volunteers has an inspiring, often compelling story to share, as the following selection demonstrates:
Sandra Martensen (Montefiore Medical Center) makes sure the rooms for children undergoing 4-8 weeks of isolation as part of bone marrow transplants are decorated with bedding and artwork chosen by the child.
Nicholas Chronis (St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children), a high school student, is a role model to the seriously ill and disabled children he helps with homework and in music therapy sessions.
Ethel Daum (Richmond University Medical Center) has provided 17,000 hours of clerical support, over the course of 30 years, to the hospital's library.
Frederick Jacobson (Hospital for Special Surgery), an experienced hiker, helps orthopedic surgery patients feel less anxious by talking about his experience recovering from his own knee replacement.
Anita Ramjas (NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia) helps patients who are awaiting an organ transplant or have just received one, sharing what she knows and inspiring patients with her own story as a transplant recipient.
John Traugott (St. John's Episcopal Hospital), following his retirement from hospital chaplaincy, volunteers to work with patients suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.
Jaclyn Yamada (Mount Sinai West) has helped with Ebola training and mock drills in the emergency department—and, as a result of her overall experience, has changed her life path from working in finance to applying to medical school.
Luis Mercado (Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center), one of the volunteers who created a pilot program to provide companionship to patients in palliative care, plays a guitar and sings for the patients and their families.
Susan O'Neill (New York Methodist Hospital), an army nurse during the Vietnam War, has for seven years been reading to children in a pediatric clinic waiting room, inspiring families through her joy to continue sharing books at home.
Mohan Dyal (Jamaica Hospital Medical Center), a retired farmer from Guyana who started a foster grandparent program at the hospital, volunteers 30 hours a week, engaging children in activities as they wait to see a doctor.
Jeanou Simbert (Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center) does not let her wheelchair get in the way of assisting with clerical projects or special events, including the annual flu drive.
Marjorie Stern (NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital) volunteers in the Child Life Department of the hospital where, in 2005, her daughter recovered from a life-threatening health problem.
Michele Jeffery (Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital) established a summer internship program at the hospital for New York City high school students interested in science and medicine.
Henry Nadal (Northwell Health's Staten Island University Hospital), a survivor of esophageal cancer at the hospital where he volunteers, not only lends a helping hand and willing ear to patients, but also provides homemade cookies to the staff.
Robert Dillon (St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children) has been volunteering as “Otto the Clown” since 2005, doing magic tricks at birthday celebrations, providing one-on-one attention, and focusing on each pediatric patient's abilities.
In addition, special recognition was bestowed on the Mount Sinai Auxiliary Board on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.
United Hospital Fund's Hospital Auxilian and Volunteer Achievement Awards are part of UHF's efforts to mobilize the energies of volunteers, recognize their achievements, and open new avenues for volunteer involvement in health care.
Watch three of the honorees as they share their personal stories.
About United Hospital Fund: United Hospital Fund is an independent, nonprofit organization working to build a more effective health care system for every New Yorker.