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MMHF praises those who lend a helping hand throughout the year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

A nice crowd turned out Sunday afternoon, Nov. 18 for the annual Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation Legacy of Thanks Celebration.

Held each year, the celebration recognizes the efforts of those who help the hospital and foundation throughout the year.

Following a sampling of hors d’oeuvres, those attending gathered in the group room at MMH. Newly-hired executive director Jessica Johnson emceed the program, which highlighted events held throughout the year both within the hospital as well as the foundation.

Annual awards were presented by Johnson.

The Outstanding Business award was presented to The Holyoke Enterprise, Outstanding Philanthropist Paul Wickenkamp, Outstanding Student Volunteers 2010-12 HHS girls volleyball teams, MMH Angel Award Linda Alberts.


Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation recognized award winners Sunday afternoon, Nov. 18 during its Legacy of Thanks Celebration. Pictured from left, front row, Linda Alberts MMH Angel Award and Paul Wickenkamp Outstanding Philanthropist; and back row, Chris Lee, Darci Tomky, Ashley Sullivan and Brenda Brandt representing Outstanding Business Holyoke Enterprise and MMHF Executive Director Jessica Johnson. Not pictured are Outstanding Student Volunteers 2010-12 HHS volleyball teams.  —Enterprise photo

Nancy Colglazier announced the recipients of the scholarships given by the foundation each year. This year, eight scholarships were awarded—more than any previous year. Earning the Charla Berry Memorial Scholarships were Krista Schafer, Megan Garrett, Briar Bergner, KrisAnna Ham and Jordan Zeiler. Mariah Struckmeyer earned the Winona Rouze Nursing Scholarship. The newly-offered MMHF Legacy Scholarship was given to Cierra Sullivan and Whitni Redman.

Colglazier said the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday makes it tough for the recipients to travel to Holyoke for the Legacy of Thanks Celebration to speak. She read letters from Garrett and Redman. Additionally, Sullivan was on hand to update the crowd on her progress through school.

“Throughout the years, it has been people from all walks of life that have supported this facility and foundation,” Gary Krumm said in a letter read by Linda Alberts.

One of the events the foundation holds each year is the amateur triathlon, which encourages participants to form teams and compete. Alberts said there were 30 MMH staff members that participated, as well as others from the community.

Alberts also noted they participated in the annual Phillips County Relay For Life.


MMH Administrator John Ayoub updates the crowd
on the happenings within the hospital over the past year.  
—Enterprise photo

Feb. 23, MMHF will host the third annual Legacy Event. Last year’s Western Splendor raised over $50,000, and organizers hope the Roaring ’20s theme planned for 2013 will be just as successful.

The foundation also began a Grow Our Own Physician initiative, which helps the hospital search for someone interested in living and working in Holyoke. Alberts noted it’s not the easiest adjustment for a new physician moving from a larger metropolitan area to a rural area such as Holyoke.

During his update, MMH Administrator John Ayoub said that over the course of the last few months, MMH has hired a number of providers. Dixie Ishee is a new family nurse practitioner in Holyoke. Ayoub also said Patricia Coyman, a family practice physician, will begin later this month. Additionally, Dr. Aaron Wilson will begin in July of next year.

Alberts also said they helped purchase the telemetry monitoring equipment for the hospital prep and recovery room.

As they have for several years, the foundation continues to grow the endowment as well as offer a scholarship program.

Ayoub updated the crowd on the happenings within the hospital. He hit on technology and how the hospital has seen some change over the past year. “We’ve made great strides in certain areas,” Ayoub said.

The biggest change the hospital has seen is the implementation of an electronic medical records system. “We feel this is going to be the best way to provide the best care for our patients into the future.”


Lilli Mae (Ardie Besse) provides the entertainment Sunday afternoon during MMHF Legacy of Thanks
Celebration.  —Enterprise photo

Recently a few employees were sent to an EMR conference in Florida, and out of 4,700 attendees, MMH won a leadership award. “Everyone in the room had the same technology, but not everybody has the same people,” Ayoub said. “I’m proud of our folks.”

In addition to the EMRs, the new telemetry equipment is another area where technology has changed, according to Ayoub.

Ayoub voiced his praise for those involved with MMHF. He said they are there giving their time and talents for free to make the hospital a better place. “They do this because they love the work, because they love the community.”

Ardie Besse dressed up as Lilli Mae and entertained the crowd. Having been gone last year, the funny Lilli Mae showed up much older this year and explained what it’s like to age.

A drawing was held to close out the annual event Sunday afternoon.


Holyoke Enterprise November 22, 2012