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Everyday Heroes Celebrated at Hudson Valley Hospital Center


Cortlandt Manor, NY (Oct. 2, 2012) –Being a hero means being in the right place at the right time to help others when they need it. Sometimes it doesn’t even involve a rescue from a burning building or a lifesaving operation.

Hudson Valley Hospital recognizes these everyday heroes – from the environmental staff to the lab technician – each year by unveiling their portraits as part of its Wall of Heroes. On Oct. 2 at 2 p.m., Hudson Valley Hospital Center unveiled its Wall of Heroes at a ceremony in the lobby of the Hospital at 1980 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor. This year, 10 employees from 10 departments were honored.  Employees live in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

Each month the Hospital recognizes an employee who has been nominated by co-workers. At the end of the year, that employee is honored at the Heroes Ceremony and their portrait hung on the wall along the front corridor of the Hospital, where it remains for the year. It’s one of the reasons that the Hospital has been cited - by Press Ganey and Westchester Magazine - as one of the top places to work in Westchester, and the nation, alongside corporate giants like MasterCard, New York Life and Morgan Stanley.

“It’s really a very impressive sight, and the ceremony is very moving,’’ said Hudson Valley Hospital President John C. Federspiel. “When you walk down the corridor and see these 3-foot high portraits on the wall, it really makes a statement about how we feel about our employees. It’s something they and their families can be proud of, not just for one day, but for the entire year. That benefits everyone: the employees, the patients and the community.’’

Susan Sheehy, captain of the reward and recognition team, has worked on the Heroes project for past six years. She says she looks forward to preparing for the event, writing the bios of each employee and arranging for professional portraits to be taken of each.

“Over the years I have learned so much about the special people I work with at the Hospital,’’ said Sheehy. “When everyone crowds into the lobby and down the hallways for the ceremony, it’s better than a ticker-tape parade.’’


Honored this year were:

Jane Picone, Phelbotomist, Lab –Jane of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in October 2011. She is a member of the Phlebotomy team and painlessly draws blood from patients. She works the 3- 11 p.m. shift in the lab and is frequently requested by patients because of her top-notch skills.

Charles Cannato, Technologist, Radiology– Charles of Mount Kisco was Employee of the Month in November 2011. A 9-year employee of HVHC, he works as a technologist in the Radiology Department scanning patients in the MRI units. He takes the time to chat with each patient and helps to calm their nerves.

Laura O’Grady, RN, Emergency Department – Laura of Lake Peekskill was Employee of the Month in December 2011. A 21-year employee, she works as an RN in the Emergency Department wearing many hats, including charge nurse, bedside nurse, teacher, triage and ACLS instructor. Laura is the “rock” of the Emergency Department and is there to advise and assist her co-workers. She’s also known for her “killer” Irish soda bread.

Anna Slempa, RN, BSN – Anna of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in January 2012. Anna, Clinical Coordinator in Nursing Administration, has worked at HVHC for 33 years, starting as a candy striper many years ago. During her tenure at HVHC, she has worked on several nursing units including 3 East, ICU and the Emergency Department. She has been recognized in Hudson Valley Magazine for her nursing excellence.


Kathleen Calabro, Education Department– Kathleen of Cortlandt Manor was Employee of the Month in February 2012. A member of the Education Department, Kathleen was instrumental in the Magnet nursing re-designation project, helping the Hospital to once again earn the distinction as a Magnet hospital, the gold standard in nursing care.

Ruel Wilson, PCT, 3 South – Ruel of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in March 2012. He is a Patient Care Technician on 3 South Nursing Unit. Ruel is a compassionate, team player, who anticipates all his patients’ needs.

Valerie Falls, Programmer-Analyst, MIS – Valerie of Poughquag was Employee of the Month in April 2012. Valerie is a programmer-analyst with the Hospital’s MIS Department. Valerie took the lead on a recent project compiling quality data reports needed to complete the electronic medical records project. Valerie and her family moved here from Montreal four years ago.

Ann Marie Guthartz, ACNM, 2 South – Ann Marie of Somers was Employee of the Month in May of 2012. Ann Marie has been a nurse for 42 years and joined Hudson Valley Hospital Center in 2001. Ann’s vast experience in pediatrics and Med/Surgery with telemetry focus is a tremendous asset to the Hospital. She was recognized by Hudson Valley Magazine for excellence in nursing.

Elizabeth Dwyer, Lead Mammography Technician II, Women’s Imaging Center – Liz of Wappingers Falls was Employee of the Month in July of 2012. Liz delivers warmth, kindness, respect and dignity to all her patients. Under her leadership, her department prides itself on perfection as seen in the fact that they maintained patient satisfaction scores of 98 percent and 99 percent in 2010 and 2011 respectively, not to mention perfect Department of Health inspections.

Cathy Patinella, Pre-Admissions Testing – Cathy of Cold Spring was Employee of the Month in August 2012. A driving force behind the Pre-Admission Testing Department, Cathy helps prepare patients for pre-operative testing. Cathy’s warmth, compassion and incredible sense of humor put her patients at ease from the moment they meet her.