St. Barnabas Names Employee of the Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Kathy Drayer of Middlesex Twp. is St. Barnabas Health System’s 2012 Hoppy Award winner.  Mrs. Drayer was nominated by her co-workers and selected for the honor, which is St. Barnabas’ equivalent of an Employee of the Year, from more than 620 employees.  She was presented with the award on Jan. 22 by William V. Day, president of St. Barnabas Health System, during the 29th annual Employee Recognition Celebration. Mrs. Drayer was presented with a personally inscribed trophy and a bouquet of roses.

As a 20-year veteran of St. Barnabas Health System, Mrs. Drayer is a Restorative Certified Nursing Assistant at St. Barnabas Nursing Home in Gibsonia. Her responsibilities include providing range of motion exercises for residents undergoing Restorative Therapy, entering and updating care plans and providing assistance to nursing units. “It is a great honor to have been chosen as employee of the year and to join such a prestigious group of individuals,” said Mrs. Drayer. Her fellow employees shared many nice words to describe her including: Team player, caring, compassionate, detailed, energetic, dependable, great customer relations skills, kind, loyal and observant.

Mrs. Drayer is proud to say that she is a breast cancer survivor and has been cancer free for the past 11 years. “Maintaining my job and working throughout my chemo sessions is what kept me going and gave me the sense of normalcy when my world seemed to be ending.” She and her husband, Matthew, have four children and 11 grandchildren. Outside of St. Barnabas, she enjoys exercising, walking and spending time with her family.

Mrs. Drayer is the 29th person to receive the Hoppy Award, which is inscribed with the words: “Recognized for outstanding loyalty and service to St. Barnabas Health System, fellow employees and the community.”  The 29th annual Employee Recognition Celebration was held at St. Barnabas’ Crystal Conservatories, a glass complex that includes areas for recreational and social uses as well as an indoor swimming pool.

The Hoppy Award is named for the late Ralph L. Blessley (1918-1984), a 19-year employee of St. Barnabas Nursing Home.  Blessley was a former patient of St. Barnabas who was affectionately known as “Hoppy” because a bone disease had left one leg shorter than the other, causing him to have an unusual gait.  Going beyond his duties as a maintenance worker, Hoppy raised plants, built a greenhouse and made little tables for patients.  He raised $2,300 for St. Barnabas’ annual fund-raising event by selling items he made.  During his 19 years of employment, he missed fewer than 10 days of work.

Also during the program, 52 employees were recognized for reaching longevity milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 35 and 45 years of service during 2012.  In addition, Allyson Sveda, Director of Planned Giving of St. Barnabas Charities, accepted a check for $17,313 from Barb Burford, Administrator of The Arbors at St. Barnabas III, and Joseph Papalia, General Manager of St. Barnabas Communities. The check represented the total collected during 2012 through the Special People Fund, in which employees donate to St. Barnabas Charities to support the poor and low-income patients they serve.

About St. Barnabas:
St. Barnabas Health System is the largest health care concern of its kind in Pennsylvania and offers service apart from the ordinary in a faith-based, non-denominational setting.  Tracing its heritage back to 1900, the system serves approximately 900 inpatients and residents, plus 35,000 outpatients and home care clients.  The health system is composed of the

St. Barnabas Communities, including The Village at St. Barnabas, The Washington Place at St. Barnabas, The Woodlands at St. Barnabas and White Tail Ridge; St. Barnabas Clinical Services, including St. Barnabas Nursing Home, St. Barnabas Medical Center, Valencia Woods at St. Barnabas and The Arbors at St. Barnabas; and St. Barnabas Charities, the fund-raising arm, which includes the Kean Theatre and Rudolph Auto Repair.

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