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Three South Nassau Volunteers Achieve 50 Years Each of Service

Posted: Jun. 22, 2015

“I get more out of helping people than the people I help.” It is that humility that has sparked Ruth Fortin of Oceanside, June Kane of Rockville Centre, and Jean Silvers of Rockville Centre, to serve as volunteers at South Nassau Communities Hospital for 50 years each.

The trio of 50-year volunteers was honored today at a special ceremony to mark their incredible achievement of service that stretches over five decades.

“It’s been very rewarding, and I met many fine people who have become long-time friends,” said Ms. Fortin, who has been working as a volunteer at South Nassau since January 1965, when Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States and the country was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Her first assignment was at the gift shop run by the Lynbrook Auxiliary. She was later assigned as a messenger, and has served in that capacity for a majority of the years she has volunteered at South Nassau.

Ms. Fortin, Ms. Kane and Ms. Silvers received service pins in recognition of their 50 years of outstanding volunteer service and helped blow out the candles on a special cake baked in their honor.

“We are so very proud and fortunate to have volunteers like Ruth, June and Jean who willingly give their time and expertise to help our patients and staff and have done so for so many years,” said Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau’s President & CEO. “They are part of what makes South Nassau so special.”

Volunteers contributed 49,797 hours – the equivalent of more than six years or 2,160 days – of invaluable service to South Nassau in 2014. The volunteers’ zeal for South Nassau’s mission to meet the communities’ needs for high-quality, patient-centered healthcare has been essential to the hospital’s transformation to a 455-bed hospital with leading-edge surgical, medical and preventive healthcare services supported by a comprehensive network of 16 community-based satellite specialty healthcare centers.

Serving as a volunteer and watching from her home on Washington Ave. has given Ms. Fortin a bird’s-eye view of the growth and expansion of South Nassau. This, combined with the distinction of being the first mother to be admitted to South Nassau’s maternity unit when it opened 58 years ago, has forged a bond that is as unbreakable as South Nassau’s mission to meet the healthcare needs of the communities it serves. A cadre of photos that Ms. Fortin and her mother donated to the hospital archives chronicling the hospital’s transformation encapsulates the relationship.

When Ms. Kane started volunteering at South Nassau in October 1964, some of her neighbors told her she wouldn’t “last” in the fast-paced hospital environment. Little did they know that Ms. Kane and South Nassau went together like coffee and cream. Ms. Kane, her sister and her youngest son were born at South Nassau. And, she recalls vividly, as if it occurred just days ago, how she was inspired to volunteer at South Nassau after witnessing the compassionate care her father received at the hospital many years ago from nurses and doctors as well as a volunteer messenger while he recovered from a serious illness. The mother of three and grandmother of 6 children, Ms. Kane, is a volunteer in South Nassau’s EKG Department. “I love the EKG office,” she says, appropriately. “The patients are wonderful to talk to; 50 years is a long time here, so I must love it!” Ms. Kane, who was also honored for accumulating 25,000 hours of volunteer service, is particularly fond of working with Alice Birmingham, EKG supervisor.

A volunteer since 1964, Ms. Silvers has devoted her time and talents to the Pharmacy, Emergency and Nursing Education Departments. She is deeply appreciated for her dependable, jack-of-all-trades service to each department. “Volunteering at South Nassau has been very fulfilling,” she says, “it’s part of me; that’s all I can tell you.”

Volunteers fill many roles at South Nassau, from lending an ear to patients to performing clerical and courier duties. There are 370 regular volunteers at South Nassau. Two new programs added to Volunteer Services last year include Hospital Elder Life, which offers companionship and ambulation to seniors seven days a week, and Animal-Assisted Therapy, which helps hospitalized patients recuperate from illness faster and reduce feelings of fear, stress or loneliness through interactions with dogs.

South Nassau is the only hospital on Long Island to win three major awards for quality in recent months, including for nursing excellence, and top rankings from U.S. News & World Report and from the Joint Commission. In addition, it is one of just 559 hospitals in the country to be awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Quality Achievement Award, and it is also a recipient of the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Silver-Plus Quality Achievement Award.

Designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), South Nassau® Communities Hospital is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,000 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 is the only hospital on Long Island with the Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. South Nassau 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. In addition, the hospital has been awarded the Joint Commission’s gold seal of approval as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care; and disease-specific care for hip and joint replacement, wound care and end-stage renal disease. For more information, visit www.southnassau.org.