Monday, October 15, 2007

Worthy honorees

In about two weeks the Community General Foundation will honor a number of people for service to Central New York: Dr. Drew Merritt, the Auxiliary to Community General Hospital, and Local #43 of the IBEW.

The honors will be given at the Foundation’s annual gala, October 26, at the OnCenter in Syracuse. The gala’s theme is “Diamonds and Denim,” which seems to have left many people wondering just exactly what to wear. Blue jeans are OK, and I’ve heard people will wear “washed black denim” too. Western gear is fine – as, of course, are diamonds or otherwise sparkly things. The bottom line: attendance at the gala does not require formal attire.

In fact, informality is a hallmark of the annual gala. And that means the evening’s presentations are mercifully short too. The emphasis is on raising money for a good cause by dining, dancing, and enjoying the company of friends. Tickets are still available. Just call 492- 5079.

For service to profession, Dr. Merritt
Dr. Merritt, pictured below, will be honored for his service to the medical profession. He is a past president of the Community General Hospital Medical Staff who recently served as interim Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Merritt is Vice-Chair of the Department of Family Practice, a member and past president of the New York State Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a member and past president of the Onondaga County Medical Society, and a member of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), where he serves as chair of MSSNY Committee on Health Care, is an alternate delegate to national AAFP, and serves on the AAFP Commission on Practice Enhancement.

Beyond his roles in medicine, Dr. Merritt has served the community as a member of several organizations affiliated with the Town of Marcellus and as a coach for youth sports. He and his wife, Carol (who is also being honored), have three daughters - all of whom were born at Community General Hospital.

For service to hospital, the Auxiliary
The Auxiliary will be honored for 45 years of service to CGH. An important part of the hospital, the Auxiliary helps raise funds and provides community services. Since inception, the Auxiliary has donated over $2 million to the hospital, designating funds to such items as renovations to the Surgery Center, the Jim and DeDe Walsh Family Birth Center, and medical equipment in various patient care services.

The Auxiliary provides blood pressure screenings throughout the community and advocates for health care issues in Albany.

The group photo shows members of the Auxiliary’s Executive Committee, from left: Ted Topalian; Mary Lascaris; Carol Merritt, outgoing President; Kay Cudworth; Dottie DeSimone, incoming President; and Claire Wightman. Not shown are committee members Bernie Schmidt and Donald White. CGH is a very family-oriented place, and isn’t it fitting that both Drew and Carol Merritt will be honored on the same evening?

For service to community, IBEW Local #43
Being honored for service to community is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW Local #43. Chartered in 1896, the union represents some 1,200 members, including quality electricians in Central New York. In the photo are Don Morgan, Local #43’s President, and Bill Towsley, its Business Manger.
The local chapter contributes to the Community General Foundation’s capital campaign that provides funds for capital projects such as the physical medicine & rehabilitation unit, the Jim & DeDe Family Birth Center, and the cardiac catheterization lab. Local #43 also supports the Foundation’s annual pro-am golf tournament as “presenting sponsor” for the past five years. Beyond its support of CGH, Local #43 assists numerous charitable causes throughout Central New York, with members regularly taking part in local fund raisers and volunteer work.

These are good people who have accomplished much for good causes. Please join me in saluting these worthy honorees.

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