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South Nassau Recognizes Volunteer for 25,000 hours of Service

Rockville Centre Resident Started ‘Compassionate Listener’ Program; Other Volunteers Also Recognized at Annual Event

Posted: Apr. 12, 2019
South Nassau Recognizes Volunteer for 25,000 hours of Service

On Wednesday, April 10th, South Nassau recognized Mrs. Susan Keller for devoting more than 25,000 hours of service to comforting the hospital’s patients during her more than 21 years of volunteering and for her role in founding the hospital’s Compassionate Listener program.

Mrs. Keller was among a group of volunteers honored for their service at the hospital’s annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, which was attended by a host of local civic leaders, elected officials and South Nassau board members.

A resident of Rockville Centre, Mrs. Keller was presented the Milestone Award for her dedication and exemplary service. Volunteer Office captain on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings, Mrs. Keller is the founder of the hospital’s the Compassionate Listener program, which provides patients with comforting companionship during often stressful hospital stay.

Mrs. Keller devotes 4 days a week, including weekends and holidays, to visit patients at their bedsides for as long as needed for the singular reason to listen to them with a compassionate and understanding ear. “Susan is an example of the devotion our volunteers feel for our patients,” said Anne Marie Fernandez, the Director of South Nassau’s volunteer program, which includes more than 375 volunteers who work throughout the hospital. “She has been a leader for our program and is very deserving of this recognition.”

Mrs. Keller is a past recipient of the Town of Hempstead Annual Volunteer Recognition Award, South Nassau’s Five Star Adelaide Cromwell Memorial Award, and Long Island Business News Healthcare Hero Volunteer award.

In 2018-19, volunteers contributed 42,230 hours of invaluable service to the mission and vision of South Nassau. The theme of this year’s annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony was “Our Volunteers Light the Way,” highlighting the selflessness of volunteers and their commitment to helping the hospital fulfill its mission.  “Like Susan (Keller), all South Nassau Volunteers provide a tremendous benefit to our community. Their efforts are a symbol of care in action,” said Fernandez.

In addition to Mrs. Keller, a host of other area residents were honored during the luncheon and presented with commemorative service awards. Oceanside residents Maida Cammarato, Eric Matsil and Eleanor Murphy were also presented with the Milestone Award.  Mrs. Cammarato has logged more than 15,000 hours in more than 25 years of service. Presently an Information Desk assistant, she began volunteering at South Nassau in 1994, serving as a Messenger.  Eventually she became a Captain in the Volunteer Office.  In 2003, Mrs. Cammarato was the inaugural recipient of the Five Star Adelaide Cromwell Memorial Award.  Mr. Matsil has logged more than 5,000 hours in more than 9 years of service.  Mr. Matsil is a familiar face to hospital staff and visitors who frequent the coffee shop.  Mrs. Murphy has logged more than 5,000 hours in more than 16 years of service.  She is an assistant at the Messenger Desk, answering phones calls and making deliveries throughout the hospital, and also serves as a hospital lobby greeter/escort.

This year’s recipient of the 5 Star Award is Baldwin resident Lynda Stevenson, who has contributed over 2,300 hours of selfless service since 2009. A 2018 recipient of the Shining Star Award, Mrs. Stevenson is always willing to assist wherever she is needed. The 5 Star Award is awarded in memory of a former volunteer, Adelaide Cromwell, and recognizes the volunteer that shows extraordinary dedication and untiring service to the hospital.

The Shining Star Award, which recognizes those volunteers who have exhibited exceptional volunteer service or have enhanced the patient experience in a special way, was awarded to the following volunteers:


  • Christian Coletta, Valley Stream, Total Hours and Years of Service: 418 hours, 6 years
  • Abigail Diamant, Cedarhurst, Total Hours and Years of Service: 915 hours, 4 years
  • Joan Friedman, Long Beach, Total Hours and Years of Service: 634 hours, 3 years
  • Wendy Giordonello, Inwood, Total Hours and Years of Service: 444 hours, 2 years

The Long Island flagship hospital of the Mount Sinai Health System, South Nassau is designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for outstanding nursing care. South Nassau is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,500 employees. Located in Oceanside, NY, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health and emergency services.

In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and offers Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. South Nassau operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County verified by the American College of Surgeons as well as Long Island’s only free-standing, 9-1-1 receiving Emergency Department in Long Beach. South Nassau also is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons, and is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program.

The hospital has also been awarded the Joint Commission’s gold seal of approval for disease-specific care for stroke, hip and knee replacement, heart failure, bariatric surgery, wound care and end-stage renal disease.  For more information, visit www.southnassau.org.