News & Events

ACH Auxiliary awards scholarship to three area grads

June 12, 2013

By Shannon Harsh, The Review, Published June 12, 2013

Three area high school graduates were honored June 3 at the Alliance Community Hospital Auxiliary's annual Dr. James J. Thomas Scholarship luncheon. Named for the late ACH anesthesiologist who became a volunteer after retirement, the scholarship fund was established in 1987 to assist students with plans to go into the medical field.

"We're always happy to be able to do this for the students, and always are amazed at the achievements they have made in their high school years," Auxiliary President Diana Moore said during the welcome before lunch.

Scholarship Committee Chairman Betty Macaione acknowledged her committee members, Mary Lou Williams, co-chairman; Nancy Freconna, nursing administration; and Lois Thompson, community representative, and thanked Moore and Jessica Bloss for their help throughout the process of selecting recipients.

Williams presented awards to the two scholarship recipients in attendance.

Kayla Handy, a graduate of West Branch High School, has been involved in FFA, Student Council, yearbook staff, Ruriteens, Environmental Club and S.A.D.D., as well as playing basketball and working as a track and baseball statistician. She has been named to the honor roll and chosen for NBC Leadership and "Who's Who Among American High School Students." Kayla shared that she plans to attend Kent State University to pursue a degree in nursing. "I want to be a nurse because there's always a job in that field and I like helping people," she said.

Andrea Tomsho was valedictorian at Sebring McKinley High School, where she was a member of the varsity volleyball and basketball teams, served as editor of the yearbook, and was vice president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the Ecology Club and secretary of the senior class. She shared that she plans to attend the University of Mount Union to study pre-medicine. "I want to be a pediatrician because I like kids and I love helping people," she said.

Also chosen for a scholarship but unable to attend the luncheon was Hannah Malloy, who graduated from Alliance High School, where she was an NBC scholar-athlete and four-year letter winner for volleyball and swimming. She was also a member of the Student Senate, National Honor Society, Key Club, Aviator Peer Pilots and the Foreign Language Club, and is a past Elks Student of the Month. Hannah plans to attend The Ohio State University or Ohio University to major in biology. She hopes to one day earn a master's degree and become an occupational therapist.

Hospital CEO Stan Jonas said all three have chosen professions that are both needed and offer well-paid careers. He impressed upon the graduates what it means for ACH to be a Planetree hospital. "A lot of times people come here and say there is something different about their experience at Alliance Hospital," he said. "That difference is what Planetree is all about."

Jonas shared a story of one ACH employee who purchased an item from online auction website eBay, which was not to his liking. In trying to fix the issue, he came to learn that the seller had fallen ill. Jonas said the employee reached out to the person who had no family and was in hospice care. "They've actually become very close friends from a different type of relationship, and that's just how some of our colleagues step out and do something different," Jonas said. "We think we have people who work here that want to make a difference and do special things and create these types of stories."

The hospital's new Public Relations/Foundation Director Susan Lucas also shared a story to illustrate the Planetree aspect of ACH. She said a patient was in the emergency department recently who needed to have a procedure done, but was refusing. Despite being a tough, former Marine, she said the patient was afraid and having flashbacks from his time in the service. Instead of backing away, Lucas said a nurse named Kyle Fannin got down on his level and made the man understand that he needed the procedure. Because of his connection with the patient, the procedure was performed and the patient is doing well. As a result, she said the patient wanted to show appreciation to Fannin for "giving him the business." The man ordered a special military coin and presented it to him in front of his peers.

"He wanted to show Kyle that he believed Kyle showed a ton of courage in the face of adversity," she said. "He told Kyle what an amazing thing it was that Kyle had done, and it was just amazing to see. I can tell you, you don't come across that kind of thing at every hospital.

Lucas, who was formerly a professor at the University of Mount Union, told the scholarship recipients that having been a professor, she has had the chance to witness the journey they are about to begin. "(I wanted to) tell you that you are really embarking on something really amazing," she said. "There is so much that you are really standing on the brink of, and I would just encourage you to enjoy your summer, but really stay focused on the ultimate goal, because I think that the careers that you are seeking out and that you're really excited about are excellent ones."

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