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Hudson Valley Hospital Unveils 'Wall of Heroes'

CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – Hudson Valley Hospital Center honored 10 employees from 10 departments Tuesday afternoon, unveiling its annual "Wall of Heroes." The employees were nominated by their co-workers and three-foot tall portraits of the honorees will hang in the hospital's main corridor for one year.

"It means so much more because the people that I work with are the ones that actually nominated me," said Laura O'Grady, a Registered Nurse in the emergency department. "We're the doorway to the hospital, we're always trying to put our best foot forward," said the Putnam Valley mother of three.

Employees honored covered Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

Education department member and lifelong Cortlandt Manor resident, Kathleen Calabro, laughed when she said she was so surprised when she was presented with employee of the month, that when she saw the hospital president in her office, balloons in hand, "I thought I was getting fired, but then I thought, well, they wouldn't have balloons."

Calabro called the award, "really rewarding," especially after participating in the hospital's Magnet redesignation . Magnet certification is a data and documentation-driven nursing award presented by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

"I grew up here, my parents always came here. I was born in the old Peekskill Hospital. I felt like I was giving back to them because they took such good care of me and my family," Calabro said.

Other employees have worked at the hospital for many years. Anna Slempa, now clinical coordinator of nursing administration, started working at the hospital as a candy striper 33 years ago.

Other employees recognized include Jane Picone, a phlebotomist from Peekskill, Charles Cannato, a radiology technician from Mount Kisco, Ruel Wilson, a patient care technician from Peekskill, Valerie Falls, a programmer and analyst from Poughquag, Ann Marie Guthartz, a nurse of 42 years from Somers, Elizabeth Dwyer, the lead mammography technician from Wappingers Falls, and Cathy Patinella, a member of the pre-admissions testing department from Cold Spring.

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