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Strong Memorial Hospital / About Us / Giving / Friends of Strong / Volunteering / Volunteer Recognition Awards

Volunteer Recognition Awards


Hettie Shumway Award - Sr. Virginia Schmitz

The Hettie Shumay Award is given to a volunteer who provides significant and unfailing service, is an effective role model for other volunteers and demonstrates loyalty to the hospital.  It is named for Hettie Shumway, a leadership volunteer who served for many years at Strong Memorial Hospital.  This year’s recipient is Sister Virginia Schmitz.

Sister Virginia volunteers in the NICU and as a chaplin.  In her words, “you become what you love,” and “I love being a Cuddler and Chaplain at Strong Memorial Hospital and being a part of this multi-cultural/ethnic/racial population which so defines the Friends of Strong and their many volunteer programs within this marvelous multi-faceted institution whose mission is to REACH OUT, TOUCH and ENRICH the lives of others.”


Elizabeth Crozier Award - Deborah Yendrzeski

The Elizabeth Crozier Award is presented in recognition of outstanding, long-term service to Friends of Strong and Strong Memorial Hospital.  It is named in memory of Elizabeth (Bess) Crozier who was an employee at Strong and a volunteer for many years.  This year’s recipient is Deborah Yendrzeski.

Deb is a very familiar face around the hospital whether it is in the Family Waiting room, visiting transplant patients or serving coffee in the ICU waiting rooms.  Deb became familiar with our transplant program when her husband Michael received a new liver 12 years ago. 


Louise Criticos Award - Bob Craig

The recipient of the Louise Criticos Award, formerly the PFCC Award, is Bob Craig.  This honor acknowledges an FOS volunteer that successfully meets the highest and most consistent level of service in order to accomplish the Hospital's goal of Patient- and Family–Centered Care.

Bob volunteers as an ambassador at the ‘small desk’ with the guest services team in the main lobby of Strong Memorial Hospital. Bob says that this is an awesome location to volunteer as they are the first faces that people see when they come into the hospital from the garage; thus, they get to make a great first impression.


Supervisor Award - Harvey Steron

The Volunteer Supervisor Award is presented to a Strong Memorial Hospital (SMH) staff member who has supervised volunteers for at least 2 years. This person is selected for his/her exceptional skills in training, recognizing and including volunteers as a member of the “team.” This individual will have an excellent volunteer program, which benefits patients and their families at SMH.  This year’s recipient is Harvey Steron.

Harvey Steron has been ‘supervising’ a group of Mended Hearts volunteers since 2009. Mended Hearts volunteers have each been treated and successfully recovered from heart disease. They visit with cardiac patients and their families to answer questions and offer support.  Harvey loves the positive response that he gets from the nursing staff, Friends of Strong staff and patients.


Dove Award - Sharon Nazarian

The Dove Award recipient is chosen from names submitted by volunteers and supervisors of volunteers.  A committee made up of volunteers reviews the submissions and chooses a winner.  In order to receive this award, the individual selected must have been volunteering for at least 3 years.  Recipients traditionally perform quietly, unobtrusive and often “go the extra mile.”  This year’s recipient is Sharon Nazarian.

Sharon is an alumna of The University of Rochester who devoted her 35 year nursing career to Strong Memorial Hospital.  In 1999, Sharon decided that volunteering through Friends of Strong would be a good way to give something back to an organization that she loved and respected.  She volunteers as a patient advocate and has served on the Friends of Strong Council (president 2013-2014).


Group Award - Friends of Strong Council

Each year a special group is recognized by Friends of Strong for on-going, meaningful service to the patients at Strong Memorial Hospital.  The recipient of this year’s award is the Friends of Strong Council.

Friends of Strong is guided by a Council made up of volunteers, within the institution and in the community, and hospital staff.  This body sets policy, goals, and objectives and sustains all aspects of Friends’ mission.  Members lead and inspire by providing strategic leadership to our organization.  Annually Council researches much-need items requested for funding by hospital departments.  Accomplishing this task takes tremendous time and dedication by these individuals.


Evening/Weekend Award - Eric Pacyga

The Evening/Weekend award is to presented in recognition of outstanding service to Friends of Strong and Strong Memorial Hospital in the evening and/or weekends.  Our evening/weekend volunteers frequently have full-time jobs, so they have to really want to dedicate a few hours a week to volunteer.  This year’s award recipient is Eric Pacyga.

Eric has been volunteering in the Emergency Department since we began our program there a year and a half ago.  He has a challenging late night shift on Sunday evenings from 9:00 p.m. to midnight.