Mount Nittany luminaria event celebrates health care staff who worked through the pandemic
More than one thousand paper luminarias decorated Mount Nittany Medical Center’s healing garden Monday evening, during an event to honor healthcare workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.
Handwritten messages covered the paper luminarias. Many expressed gratitude for the staff at Mount Nittany.
“I am alive because you cared,” one message said.
Speaking to about two dozen attendees, David Doll, a 30-year employee at the hospital, said he was thankful for the care his colleagues at the COVID-19 unit provided to his wife, Tina, who died of COVID.
“She was fighting,” Doll said. “When she wasn’t able to fight, the staff fought for her.”
Chief of medical staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center Dr. Thomas Covaleski praised the staff for handling many uncertainties in their daily operations and said they put patients first.
“Never in my life have we had so many people with no visitors and doors closed and in a room by themselves,” Covaleski said. “But I saw over and over again how our staff would make conversation, talk about the weather, talk about what’s on television, share personal stories. They became the family for the people that were in these rooms.”
Mount Nittany Health CEO Katheleen Rhine said the health system has cared for more than 2,000 COVID patients since March 2020.