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Thank You To Our Volunteers

April 26, 2013

St. Elizabeth Medical Center has named Shirley Rice of New Hartford Volunteer of the Year. Terri LaBella and Gina LaBella of Utica received the St. Elizabeth Guild’s Eleanor Nelson Award, named for an active, former Guild member who passed away many years ago.

The three top volunteers were announced at the Medical Center’s annual Volunteer Breakfast on Friday, April 26, where special recognition pins were awarded to 46 people who have each logged from 100 to 43,000 hours of volunteer service. Those 46 individuals have volunteered a cumulative total of 94,823 hours. Lou Aiello, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, was the guest speaker. The event’s theme was “We’re Blooming with Appreciation for You.”

“The volunteers provide an incredible benefit to the Medical Center, the staff, patients and their families,” said Richard H. Ketcham, FACHE, President/CEO. “The volunteers perform many tasks that we may not otherwise be able to provide. With the many economic challenges in today’s healthcare environment, the Medical Center volunteers are invaluable.”

Shirley Rice has been a volunteer for eight years and has accumulated over 3,900 hours of service to the Medical Center. Mrs. Rice currently volunteers in the Sleep Disorders Center and the Volunteer Office. Several years ago, she joined the Guild of St. Elizabeth, where she serves on the Board of Directors and Chair of the Membership Committee.

She was born in Utica and graduated from Utica Free Academy and the Utica School of Nursing. She worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse on the maternity ward at Faxton Hospital, Utica. Later she and her family moved to Colorado where she worked at a hospital in Denver, Colorado and upon returning to Utica, Mrs. Rice was employed at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare on the maternity unit.

Mrs. Rice is a member of the Schuyler Senior Citizens Center, the Jewish Community Center, Quilters Guild and past president of the Thread Bears Quilt Club. Her hobbies include quilting, sewing, crocheting, cross-stitching, square dancing, playing cards, crafts and Mahjong.

She has three daughters, Charolette LeClair (Ronald LeClair), Marsha Townsend (Mark Townsend), June Forrester (Paul Forrester) and one son, Howard Rice (Theresa Rice). Mrs. Rice has eight grandchildren, Shawn Munroe, Kristin Fusco, Joshua Townsend, Jamie Fusco, Michelle Boles, Mathiew Harris, Cory Harris, and Alex Rice and two great-grandchildren, Alayna Munroe and Lillyana Munroe. Prior to his death in 2004, Mrs. Rice and her husband, Marshall, were married for 57 years.

Terri LaBella and Gina LaBella are the first mother-daughter winners of the Eleanor Nelson Award.

Terri LaBella has been a member of the Guild of St. Elizabeth Medical Center since 1987 and has accumulated over 2,700 hours of service. She has been involved in many Guild events, such as the Annual Fashion Show, served as Chairman of the Holiday Bazaar and worked on many bake sales. She served the Guild as Corresponding Secretary. She is an active member of the Utica Symphony League and serves a Council member of St. Mary of Mount Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Church.

Mrs. LaBella enjoys cooking, baking, traveling and shopping. Her favorite activity is entertaining family and friends. She and her husband, Nick, are parents of a son, Joey, and daughter, Gina. She is an avid Syracuse fan.

Gina LaBella has been a Guild member since 1994 and has accumulated over 2,800 hours of service. She has been active with the Guild Fashion Show, bake sales and co-chaired the Holiday Bazaar. Ms. LaBella previously served as Vice President and Assistant Recording Secretary of the Guild. She, too, has been an active member of the Utica Symphony League. She is Co-Chairperson of the Car 100 Club and is in the process of restoring a 1984 Cadillac. She is a Nascar Fan and loves animals.

Pictured left to right, front row are: Terri LaBella, Gina LaBella and Shirley Rice.  Second row are: St. Elizabeth Medical Center’s President/CEO, Richard Ketcham, and Grace DeFazio Bouse, Volunteer Director.
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