The nominees come from different departments of two area health care facilities.
By GAIL WHITE
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
Mariann Pacak of St. Elizabeth Health Center and Mark Hott of Salem Community Hospital will be traveling to Columbus June 20 as nominees for the Albert E. Dyckes Health Care Worker of the Year Award.
The two Valley residents will join 64 other hospital workers across Ohio who have been nominated for the award. Four finalists and one ultimate winner will be announced at the event.
As explained by the Ohio Hospital Association, "The award is given each year to one Ohio caregiver who personifies a leader who gives back to the community, routinely goes beyond the call of duty, and has overcome odds to succeed."
Cindy Clonch, a manager in central supply at St. Elizabeth, felt compelled to nominate her co-worker, Pacak, who is director of heart and vascular nursing.
"If one compared Mariann's job description and her daily schedule, the differences would be tremendous," Clonch wrote on the nomination form. "Because of her dedication to her patients and the unspoken tasks she performs daily, it is not uncommon to find Mariann in her office well into the evening, tirelessly and without complaint."
Bonnie Pernotto, senior vice president of nursing at St. Elizabeth, believes Pacak's persistence in bettering herself makes her exceptional.
"The path that she has taken to get to the position where she is now is remarkable. She started as an LPN, went on to get her RN and continued with a bachelor's," Pernotto said. Pacak earned her bachelor's degree when she was 44 years old and is pursuing her master's degree.
Making her journey even more remarkable are the personal challenges Pacak encountered at home. Her husband required a liver transplant.
"When he became unable to work, due to his health, Mariann not only cared for her husband, but she continued to take advancements at her job," Clonch wrote of Pacak..
Pacak takes the accolades in stride.
"Any situation that crosses your path, you have two choices: lay down and let it consume you or take the bull by the horns and do what you can to turn it into something positive in your life and help the lives of others."
After her husband's surgery, Pacak started a support group in Youngstown for hepatitis C, the virus that attacked her husband's liver. The support group is one of many volunteer organizations with which Pacak is involved.
"I truly want to be the best that I can be," she said.
"There are a lot of very good people in health care, but Mariann is exemplary," Pernotto said.
Hott holds a very different position than his fellow nominee. As the printer at Salem Community Hospital, he is not involved with direct patient care.
"His job is just as important to the care of our patients," said Michele Hoffmeister, director of public relations at Salem. "Mark provides all the forms we use throughout the hospital -- from patient charts to newsletters, menus and educational materials."
"When we come to him with a job we needed done yesterday, he is always pleasant and accommodating."
Described as humble by his co-workers, Hott replied simply, "I've always been able to accommodate everything and everyone that comes through."
Hott has been awarded the hospital's "Above and Beyond" Employee of the Month Award twice.
"No one else has gotten it twice," Hoffmeister said.
Nominated anonymously for the Albert E. Dyckes award, his nominator wrote, "Mark is an asset to Salem Community Hospital. His dedication to achieve customer satisfaction makes him a great role model for other employees."