One hundred twenty four nurses and other medical staff that serve Blue Mountain Health System's Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses were recently honored for their dedication to each patient that enters the hospitals.

During the seventh annual Blue Mountain Health System Employee Recognition Awards ceremonies, held May 11 at both campuses, administration honored the men and women with years of service awards; nursing excellence awards; ancillary, business and support staff awards; and the highest award, the Blue Ribbon Service Excellence Awards.

Drew Harris, president and CEO of Blue Mountain Health System, welcomed everyone to the event and thanked the people who made this day possible.

"Thank you for the incredible jobs you do," he said. "It's an honor to work with you."

Harris then turned over the assembly to various administrative staff who presented the awards.

Terry Purcell, vice president of ambulatory and support services, said the hospitals are very fortunate to have "so many employees that go out of their way to help the patients."

He then read off the years of service awards, starting at five years, and ending at 40 years of service at the hospital.

Following the years of service recognitions, nomination letters for each of the nursing excellence and ancillary, business and support staff award recipients were read.

Two very special honors, which were not announced until the end of each assembly, were then presented.

The Blue Ribbon Service Excellence Award is presented to a person at the hospital who goes above and beyond their job to help people.

This year's recipients were Michael Goral of the Plant Operations department at the Palmerton Campus and Mary Zubek of the Surgical Services department at the Gnaden Huetten Campus.

Goral, who was nominated for the award by Purcell, was named the recipient for treating "everyone with outstanding customer service. He never says 'no' to a problem. He figures out how to get the problem resolved."

Zubek, who was nominated by Kelly Zeigler, staff member of Health Works Fitness Center, was named because of her action at the gym last year.

On June 4, a gym member collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Zubek, who was there working out on her day off, attended to the man, giving him CPR until paramedics could arrive.

"Mary performed above and beyond what would be expected from any off-duty nurse ... With her quick response, training and dedication, she saved his life," Zeigler wrote.