Display recognizes women in key roles, past and present, at Medina Memorial Hospital

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 March 2022 at 8:23 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: These pictures of distinctive women employees who formerly worked at Medina Memorial Hospital honor them with a display during Women in History Month during March. At upper left is Mary Williams, seated, and Jane Punch. Below is Jeanne Crane, who was supervisor of nurses. At right is the late Nancy Albanese, who spent 40 years as a recovery room nurse.

MEDINA – In the spirit of Women’s History Month during March, Orleans Community Health is highlighting women from the past and present who have held important positions there.

“A number of people currently working here have had mothers, grandmothers and aunts who came before them, and well over a majority of our leadership is female,” said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communication and Outreach.

Three of those women shared their stories on Tuesday.

Nancy Callara, who is director of patient financial services; Kim Gray, chief nursing officer; and Kate Brauen, director of the pharmacy all have relatives who worked at the hospital, and all said it was their family member’s dedication which influenced them to work at the hospital.

Callara is a daughter of Jean Wetherbee, who has been a volunteer at the hospital for more than 20 years.

“She started volunteering because she needed something to do, and she loved working in human resources,” Callara said.

Callara started there in 1987 in medical records and has since worked in quality assurance, payroll, IT and revenue cycle before taking her current position in billing.

Kate Brauen, pharmacy director at Orleans Community Health; Kim Gray, chief nursing officer; and Nancy Callara, director of patient financial services; look at pictures of women who have held positions of distinction in the hospital during past years. A display of women employees’ pictures in the Foundation office is in observation of Women in History Month.

Gray is a daughter of Rosemary Pegelow, who was secretary of surgery for 20 years. Her great-aunt Ceil Spada worked in the hospital for more than 40 years and was an aide in the maternity ward. She also lived in house where the hospital first started.

Gray first started working at the hospital in 2003 as a medical/surgical nurse for a year, then became a surgical nurse for 11 years. She was director of surgery for six years until taking her current position as chief nursing officer.

Brauen grew up in Lockport and attended Royalton-Hartland High School, however she followed her mother’s footsteps in coming to work at Medina Memorial Hospital in 2002 as a pharmacist right out of college. She spent 12 years in the clinical staff pharmacist role and now is director of pharmacy.

Her mother, Mary Williams, worked at the hospital for 50 years, holding positions as an aide, registered nurse, supervisor of risk and quality assurance and assistant director of nursing. She retired last year as vice president of human resources.

In observance of Women in History Month, Heather Smith, director of Orleans Community Health Foundation, has arranged a display of photos of women who held prominent positions in the hospital in the past. These include long-time employee Jeanne Crane, who was nursing supervisor and is currently president of the hospital’s TWIG Association; the late Nancy Albanese, a 40-year recovery room nurse; the late Mary Jane Szczechowiak, who started her nursing career at Medina Memorial Hospital in 1953 and retired in 1988 as assistant director of nursing; Jane Punch, who was director of nursing; and Dawn Meland, who is still actively involved with the hospital as a member and former president of the Hospital Board. Meland was also actively involved with the TWIG Association as a member and past president.

Robinson said to end out the week, he hopes to get all the women employees together for a group picture.