St. Mary’s honors employees

Shown are four of the five award winners who were honored and celebrated at St. Mary’s 23rd anual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence on Monday at the Holiday Inn. From the left is Leon Ozug, Randie Salmon, Sister Jean DuBrey and Jon DeForest. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

JOHNSTOWN — The Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare held its 23rd annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence on Monday, honoring four individuals and one non-profit organization for their outstanding achievements, along with their compassion and dedication to healthcare for communities in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Those who were recognized and awarded included Sister Rita Jean DuBrey, who was awarded the Carondlet Medal; Randie Salmon, who was awarded Medical Professional of the Year; Manny Santiago was awarded the Caregiver Associate of the Year award; Leon Ozug was awarded as the Support Associate of the Year; and Jon DeForest was there to accept the award for the Non-Profit Organization of the Year on behalf of the BBL Charitable Foundation.

Foundation Executive Director Brigitta Giulianelli said the Carondlet Medal is not awarded every year. She said the last time it was awarded was in 2016.

“It’s a very special award and someone who really embodies Christian ideals and values and lives the mission fully and that’s why we chose Sister Rita Jean,” Giulianelli said.

DuBrey has worked at St. Mary’s for 53 years and is the founder and director of the Center for Complimentary Therapies for the past 18 years. She is an accredited T’ai Chih teacher and a certified healing touch practitioner, instructor and mentor.

“I’m certainly very grateful and honored. I have been at St. Mary’s for 53 years, it’s a reflection of the wonderful opportunity I had to use my god-given gifts,” DuBrey said. “I have been totally supported and I couldn’t say that with more honesty. I always have support to do what I needed to do for my further study to develop gifts to serve God’s people.”

Salmon, who was awarded Medical Professional of the Year, has been a nurse practitioner for a little over 20 years and said she enjoys her job.

“I love my job. I love what I do every day. I’m lucky to have a job that I love to go to,” Salmon said.

Salmon said she is “very surprised and very humble” to have been awarded.

“I’m thrilled to be accepting it on behalf of nurse practitioners. I’m a family practitioner, so I see patients in an office just like a physician would. I have my own patients that I see and take care of all their medical needs,” Salmon said. “It’s wonderful, I was very surprised. I am the first nurse practitioner to get the award, so I’m thrilled to have that. It’s kind of a vote of confidence, it’s nice to get recognized.”

Giulianelli said every month the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare has their Values in Practice award which is nominated by associates and given to one clinical staff and one non-clinical staff. There are 24 associates who get the VIP throughout the year and the VIP committee meet once to vote on who gets the VIP of the year for both clinical and non-clinical categories.

“It’s a huge moral booster for our associates and I know I enjoy nominating people. It makes the awardees feel very valued,” Giulianelli said.

Awarded with the Support Associate of the Year was Ozug.

“It’s an honor to be here,” he said.

He has been a member of the Materials Management department providing materials for nurses and doctors for 10 years. When his supervisor went on leave for two month, he took her position during that time.

“I did the best I could. I’ve always strived to be as good as I can do. I did the best I could do and it’s great I can work for somewhere that really acknowledges that because I never had that before. It’s fantastic,” Ozug said.

Santiago, who was awarded as Caregiver Associate of the Year, could not attend the celebration on Monday.

Santiago works in St. Mary’s Healthcare’s Radiology Nursing Department.

Awarded as the Non-Profit Organization of the Year was BBL Charitable Foundation which was created in 1998 by members of the BBL Family of Companies to coordinate and promote a sense of community and compassion for others.

There to accept the award was DeForest, the vice president for BBL Construction Services.

“We’re certainly humbled and honored. We certainly admire the work that St. Mary’s and the Foundation of St. Mary’s does. We’re proud supporters and part of the community, so we’re just happy to be part of it,” DeForest said.

By Josh Bovee

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