Hospital's Spring Gale raises $112,000 in honoring Kaytes and McConnell

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WARWICK-St. Anthony Community Hospital's 2005 Annual Spring Ball, held Saturday evening, April 9, at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, N.J., raised $112,000 for a variety of hospital programs. One of the major purposes of the Annual Spring Ball and a highlight at each of the annual gala events has been honoring members of the community for their support and leadership. These prestigious honors are designed to recognize civic and medical leaders who maintain good standing within the community, support the Warwick Healthcare Campus and are committed to fulfilling the Bon Secours mission of offering ‘good help to those in need.' This year, St. Anthony Community Hospital, Schervier Pavilion and Mount Alverno Center (Warwick Healthcare Campus) honored Warwick businessman Leo Kaytes by presenting him with the "2005 Caring for Life Award." The "Lifetime Achievement Award" was presented to Dr. David J. McConnell. In addition, the Bon Secours Warwick Healthcare Foundation 2005 Leadership Awards were presented to Elka MPS, Kennedy Companies, Lederman Real Estate, Provident Bank, Regional EMS, St. Anthony Community Hospital Auxiliary (SACHA), Warwick Emergency Physicians, Warwick Savings Foundation and WVT Communications. Frank Petrucci, owner of Country Chevrolet, also accepted a special award posthumously honoring his father, Silvio Petrucci, in recognition of his generosity, devotion and lifelong support of the Warwick Healthcare Campus. Unfortunately, it was noted that Silvio Petrucci passed away before he could be officially honored in person. Since he was also a close friend of honoree Leo Kaytes, the planning committee suggested that this evening would be an appropriate time to honor another lifelong friend of the Warwick Healthcare Campus. Rudell Breedy, director of fund development and emcee for the evening, also stated that Frank Petrucci was continuing to carry on his father's tradition of generosity and support. In presenting Leo Kaytes with the "2005 Caring for Life Award," Leah Cerkvenik, executive vice president/administrator of the Warwick Healthcare Campus, "praised the Warwick businessman for his generosity, selfless devotion and leadership during his long history of service to St. Anthony Community Hospital. After the presentation, Kaytes invited his wife, Gladys, to share the limelight while he thanked everyone for helping him achieve the prestigious honor. He spoke warmly about his large family, many of whom were present. "We have been blessed abundantly," he said as he praised his wife, their children and spouses and their grandchildren. He also joked that this was not the first event he ever attended at the Sheraton Crossroads. "My daughter Sharon and her husband, Mark, had their wedding reception here," he recalled. "But this time I won't be picking up the check." As she introduced McConnell, this year's recipient of The "Lifetime Achievement Award," Cerkvenik reminded the audience that long before she became vice president/administrator of the Warwick Healthcare Campus, she had served St. Anthony Community Hospital as a registered nurse. And as such, she had learned first hand why all of the medical staff held McConnell in such high esteem. Dr. Gerry Freisinger, his longtime friend and colleague, made the formal presentation. McConnell also invited his wife, Patricia, to join him at the podium while he made his acceptance speech. He praised St. Anthony Community Hospital for its growth in both size and excellence since he first arrived in 1973. He also announced that he and his wife would soon be celebrating their 42nd anniversary. "When I was an intern," he recalled, "I made a promise to myself that I would not date anyone. Ten days later I saw this beautiful redhead nurse, Patricia Roy. Within a year, we were married." One of the best kept secrets by the planning committee was the choice of musical entertainment for the evening. Partly as a special surprise for Kaytes, the committee decided to invite professional singer and local radio host Dick Wells and the Big Band Swing Machine. Wells is one of Kaytes' oldest and closest friends. Last summer, a group of fans and business owners, led by Kaytes and retired publisher Ed Klein, formed an organization, "Friends of Dick Wells," to privately finance a successful big band concert in the Village of Warwick. Kaytes, obviously pleased by the surprise, insisted that until he arrived at the Sheraton he had no idea his longtime friend would not only be present for the event but would also bring along his band. "I'm always amazed at how the Annual Spring Ball Planning Committee continues to make each event even better than the previous year," said Cerkvenik. "I'll never be able to truly convey my gratitude to everyone including not only our volunteers, committees and chairpersons but also the people, organizations and businesses in our community who helped make this year's event another huge success."