Hospital continues brunch to recognize current and retired nurses

Photos by Ginny Kropf: A group of retired nurses share memories during the Nurses’ Recognition Brunch. Clockwise, from left, are Dorothy Casey, 42 years as an LPN; Mary Lou Tuohey, 10 years as a charge nurse and relief supervisor; Joanne Bracey, almost 29 years as an ER nurse; Paula Dresser, an RN with 30 years in OB, administration and surgery; Jeanne Crane, RN, infection control nurse and risk manager; and Cheryl Kozielski, almost 35 years in OB, med/surgery, ER, OR and supervision. About 50 active and retired nurses attended the brunch.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 May 2024 at 9:41 am

‘Each of you, whether currenting practicing or retired, has dedicated your life to the noble pursuit of caring for others.’

MEDINA – Last year Kim Gray, chief nursing officer at Orleans Community Health, came up with the idea to have a brunch to honor current and retired nurses during Nurses Week.

As Nurses Week ends this year, Gray is thrilled to announce the Nurses’ Recognition Brunch has become an annual tradition.

Approximately 50 retired and active nurses from all areas of the hospital attended the brunch Friday morning.

Gray greeted the full room, praising each and every one for choosing nursing as a profession.

“Each of you, whether currenting practicing or retired, has dedicated your life to the noble pursuit of caring for others,” Gray said. “Your incredible dedication to healthcare has left an immense mark on this hospital and the countless lives you’ve touched in this community. Your years of service to this hospital’s history is a testament to your commitment to healing and compassion.”

Karen Irwin, a retired nurse in risk management at Medina Memorial Hospital, and her grandson Langston, 3, attended the second annual Nurses’ Recognition Brunch Friday morning. Here, she chats with Paula Dresser, who was a nurse for 30 years at the hospital.

Gray encouraged each nurse to remember the lives they’ve helped save, the comfort they’ve provided and the hope they’ve instilled through the years to their patients and their families.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for coming out this morning to be here,” she said. “I pray we can keep this brunch an ongoing tradition to celebrate Nurses’ Week.”

Dorothy Casey of Medina was an LPN at Medina Memorial Hospital for 42 years, and thought the brunch was great.

“Working in a small rural hospital was the experience of a lifetime,” Casey said. “What you learned here gave you all-rounded experience, so anybody would hire you.”

Nurse Leighann VanAuker shared she was born at Medina Memorial Hospital, was treated there several times as a child and did her clinical training there.

Kim Gray, chief nursing officer at Orleans Community Health, talks with Mary Williams, retired human resources director; Elaine Smith, retired nurse; and her husband Charlie Smith, a semi-retired registered nurse who will have 35 years with the hospital in October.

Charlie Smith, an RN, is semi-retired, and plans to keep working until October, when he will have completed 35 years.

“He’s everywhere you need him,” Gray said.

Smith’s wife Elaine is also a retired RN.

The Smiths sat with Mary Williams, retired Human Resources director. Charlie and Williams went to nursing school together.

The nurses were asked to fill out cards on the tables listing any funny or meaningful stories from their careers, which they wished to share.

A gourmet brunch completed the morning get-together.

Gray said everyone seemed to have a good time, and she’s already looking forward to next year.

In addition to the brunch, nurses were recognized throughout the week with small gestures and gifts, said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing at Community Partners. One day flowers were handed out, bags of candy on other days and additional gifts throughout the week.

“The organizers really deserve a lot of credit for putting this all on,” Robinson said.