Employee Awards and Accolades

SBH staff honored at17th Annual Employee Recognition Celebration

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amy Brocious was honored as the Laura Wallerstein and Jerry Cline Distinguished Service Award winner at Stairways Behavioral Health’s annual employee recognition ceremony Wednesday morning at the Bel-Aire Conference Center.

Employees and guests, including board members and Stairways founding volunteers Walter and Joan Harf, were on hand to celebrate the Distinguished Service Award winner and honor those who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years-of-service milestones in 2016.

Brocious, pictured with Ross Jervis, director of Rehabilitation Services, became the 26th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award since its inception in 1996. Jervis presented Brocious with the award, named after Stairways founder Laura Wallerstein and the late Jerry Cline, a longtime human resources director. The honor is bestowed upon the employee who best exemplifies the mission, vision and values of Stairways.

The director of Stairways Blended Case Management services, Brocious has also worked as a case manager and. Due to her experience and diverse skillset, her accomplishments have drawn acclaim from coworkers and others in the mental health community.

Colleagues cite her unyielding work ethic and compassion for clients as a driving force in her work at Stairways. Brocious was nominated by 11 co-workers. Her nomination stated that “Amy has a combination of so many qualities, but her greatest quality is that of a loving heart.”

Special congratulations also went to Chris Knoll, director of Health Information, and Norm Davis, a rehabilitation coordinator at Stairways’ Residential Treatment Facility for Adults, who each reached 30 years at Stairways in 2016.

Also among those honored with special service anniversaries of 25 years were development specialist Juanita Gangemi and Electronic Medical Records Manager Scott Morgan.

Employee of the Month: Jessica Peterman

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jessica Peterman, a Blended Case Manager, was recognized as the Stairways Behavioral Health August Employee of the Month for performing a life-saving act.

Peterman intervened when a client began showing suicidal signs following a relapse after years of sobriety. Peterman noted the client’s struggling and continually offered help with mental health and substance abuse treatment, despite being met with refusal each time.

Over a period of three weeks, the client became despondent, began drinking in excess and declined her medications. Eventually, she began making suicidal statements, at which time Peterman contacted crisis services and called 911.

When they arrived, the client said she had ingested large amounts of prescription medication and alcohol. She was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit for a near fatal suicide attempt and given Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose.

Following her release from the hospital, Peterman has continued to help the client strive for sobriety by always encouraging her to seek treatment and maintain hope.

Peterman's compassion and dedication are valued standards shared by all of Stairways’ devoted staff members.

Nurses honored as employees of the month

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stairways employees Ed Cunningham, Sue Ferraro and Carrie Lydic recently earned recognition for their excellence on the job by being named Employees of the Month.

All licensed practical nurses in the Mobile Medication Monitoring program, Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic garnered the distinction for the month of June. Cunningham was also recognized for performing a life-saving act in May.

After receiving cryptic text messages one evening from a client he was scheduled to meet with the next day, Cunningham called him, and while talking, deduced that he was despondent and had taken a bottle of pills. Cunningham remained calm and had the individual unlock their apartment door and stay awake while he used another phone to dispatch paramedics. All the while, he stayed on the phone with the client until the ambulance arrived.

Following a stay on the Intensive Care unit, the client was transferred to another hospital floor to receive further treatment.

As a group, Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic were honored for consistently meeting and exceeding their responsibilities. They not only assist clients with their concerns but also help educate the staff on issues clients might be facing.

The nurses have taken on additional responsibilities in addition to their nursing duties and are often willing to work late or come in on weekends. Cunningham, Ferraro and Lydic have had a great impact on the Mobile Medication Monitoring program by ensuring that the program’s productivity remains high thanks to their commitment and work ethic.

Mobile Medication Monitoring supervisor Julie Belton nominated the nurses for the accolade.

Gage House staff members recognized for life-saving act

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Phillip Livingston, Joshua Stepp and Kayla Birk were named March Employees of the Month for performing a life-saving act on an unresponsive client.

On a March evening, a client at Gage House had a seizure, lost consciousness and stopped breathing when Stepp, Birk and Livingston (pictured below, left to right) intervened to assist the individual.

Birk alerted police of an emergency by pressing the panic buttons and helped to keep other clients calm while Stepp called 911. Livingston assessed the client and provided her with a clear airway that restored breathing. The client was then transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Following the event, Livingston informed other Gage residents of the occurrence. Despite the emotional difficulty of the incident, Livingston Birk and Stepp’s focus was always on the clients at Gage House.

Thanks to quick thinking and emergency preparedness, the client survived their attack and was stabilized.

Gage House is a structured program that provides rehabilitation and habilitation services to individuals who are in need of treatment to address co-occuring substance abuse and mental health issues.

Livingston is a clinical care specialist at Gage House. Stepp and Birk are part-time aides at the residential facility.

Stairways holds 17th Annual Employee Recognition Celebration

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blended Case Manager Laurie Bizzarro was honored as the Laura Wallerstein and Jerry Cline Distinguished Service Award winner at Stairways Behavioral Health’s annual employee recognition ceremony Tuesday morning at the Bel-Aire Conference Center.

Employees and guests attended the ceremony to announce the Distinguished Service Award winner and honor those who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35-years-of-service milestones in 2015.

Bizzarro, left, with Stairways case manager team leader Kelly Roberts, became the 25th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award since its inception in 1996. The award, named after Stairways founder Laura Wallerstein and the late Jerry Cline, a longtime human resources director, is bestowed upon the employee who best exemplifies the mission, vision and values of Stairways.

A veteran case manager, Bizzarro often works with transition age youths. Due to her experience and knowledge, she has gained a reputation as a skilled professional throughout the Erie area.

In addition to her duties as case manager, Bizzarro has also made impactful contributions in community outreach by visiting local inpatient hospital units where she explains to people suffering from mental illness the treatment options available at Stairways.

She also organizes a dinner for clients at the Zukor Club each Thanksgiving and has secured substantial donations for Stairways.  

Bizzarro was nominated by four co-workers. Her nomination stated that “Laurie’s natural inclination is always to help people, an endeavor she holds so dearly that she often goes beyond her work requirements to do so.”

Special congratulations also went to Hank Krol (pictured right with Director of Treatment Services Becky Clark) and Tom Kirkwood, who reached 35 and 30 years, respectively, at Stairways. Also among those with special service anniversaries being honored were Dave Neubert and Kathy Thomas-Ibemere, each for 25 years.

Employees celebrating 20 years of service were Edward Cunningham, Chrystal Drain, Lisa Gingenbach, Marilyn Goss, Melanie Hake, Julie Harman, Theresa Jordan, Debbie King, Kevin McCaslin and Jennifer Wright.

Those who reached 15 years of service were Rebecca Clark, Tricia Cloyd, Mary Custer, Ralph Dieter, Joe Hockenberry, Margaret Mechlenburg, Barbara Sala and Sharon Sandberg.

The group who has completed 10 years of employment is Lisa Betts, Kerry Dieter-Roward, William Hilliard, Alicia Hodges, Kathleen Horan, Jill Hughes, Celeste McCallum, Stephanie Montgomery, Stephanie Rice and Edna Stickell.

Donna Bartoo, Kimberlea Casey, Laura Deal, Catherine Fischer, Betty Fleming, Deanna Kosarek, Dr. Meghan McCarthy, Sheila Mooney, Samantha Nichols, Dr. Jason Rock, Rachael Ross, Stephanie Sherman, Patricia Smith, Belinda Stillman and Laura Waugaman composed the group of employees reaching five years of service.

Those who were named Employees of the Month were also recognized at the ceremony: Alfonso Pickens (April); Stephanie Montgomery (May); Joan Rowland (June); Jamey Gamble (July); Debra Sardini (August); John Sushereba (September); Kari Papinchak (October); Josh Thayer (October) and Bev Wright (November).

Stairways was also honored to host founding volunteers Joan and Walter Harf as well as new Board of Directors members Mary Ellen Dahlkemper and the Hon. Ernest J. DiSantis.

Stairways Building Rededicated to McCarthy in Tribute

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Call it the house that Bill built.

Stairways Behavioral Health added a familiar name to the façade of the agency’s administrative building when it re-dedicated the headquarters, 2185 W. 8th St., as the William F. McCarthy Center during a tribute ceremony May 29.

Before a crowd of about 100 staff members, government officials, community leaders as well as family and friends of McCarthy, well-wishers commemorated the career of the former president and CEO with tribute remarks and the unveiling of a new building sign bearing McCarthy’s name.

The honor did not come without gratefulness and humility from McCarthy, who thanked his colleagues and family.

“When I look at this (building), I look at it with tremendous gratitude but I also look at this with a sense of history that this building will not always be used in the same way,” McCarthy said. “It’s not about the letters, the choice of the font or the metals. It’s all about the intent of people to say at least for today, 'we recognize that you have helped us along the way' and so for that, I accept this.”

McCarthy served as president and CEO from 1998 until his retirement in December. In all, his career at Stairways spanned 42 years.

In addition to the building’s rededication, McCarthy was recognized for his service to the community and advocacy with citations of achievement from the City of Erie, Erie County and the State of Pennsylvania.

In presenting the citation from Erie County, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper acknowledged McCarthy’s service for countless individuals.

“I think this is a wonderful tribute to a person who has given to our county in so many ways,” Dahlkemper said. “Thank you for being an advocate for all those you serve in Stairways and throughout the county.”

Dr. Kristine Nelson, president, Stairways board of directors, emceed the event, which featured several speakers.

Dr. Meghan McCarthy, Stairways physician and Bill McCarthy’s daughter, spoke on behalf of the McCarthy family along with her nephew William F. McCarthy V.

“You have demonstrated by your undying investment in people, in families and in relationships what matters most in this field,” she said.

McCarthy’s personal touch and sense of friendship was also the theme of former co-worker Gary Boetger’s speech. Stairways Vice President of Clinical Services Jill Corey delivered the remarks on behalf of Boetger, who was unable to attend.

“I read somewhere that you can always tell that two people are best friends because they are having more fun than it makes sense for them to be having,” Boetger wrote. “That is certainly true of Bill and me.”

Under McCarthy’s leadership, Stairways expanded and adapted into the 21st century in the same vision of the organization’s founders, said Mike Gage, McCarthy’s longtime friend and son of Stairways co-founder Rachel Zacks Gage.

“The fact that someone who knew my mother would not only come to work at Stairways but lead it into the future amazes me,” Gage said. “I’m sure that my mother would be as proud of what he has done as I am. They truly shared a vision.”

In his address, former president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Gene Bianco noted that McCarthy “showed not just a great mind but a great heart.”

For more photos of the event, click here.




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