[Archived News] Monday August 18, 2008


Carmichaels, Pa - Beginning in August 1999 at the time of the commemoration of St. Panteleimon, thanksgiving services were begun at the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. The services focused on expressing appreciation to those employed in emergency medical services.

Gradually the remembrance evolved into the establishment of a Parish Nurse's Office with the Archpastoral Blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN and later into a yearly Healthcare Day program.

In recent years, St.Panteleimon(August 9) has been taken as the Slava for the Parish Nurse's Office with the Divine Liturgy being celebrated. In addition to Healtcare Day, a second day seminar was added. Each year local ambulance services have been invited to have their ambulances blessed.

Vespers and Matins were held for St. Panteleimon this year. Healthcare Day was celebrated on Sunday August 10. Living and departed members of the parish employed in healthcare services were remembered. The Kolach and Koljivo were blessed. The St. George Choir sang responses under
the direction of Sonia Janson.

Fayette Emergency Medical Services Director Rick Adabato provided an ambulance as he has every year since 1999. Mr. Adabato's consistent support and the work of his agency are greatly appreciated.

Fayette Emergency medical personnel Jim Hammaker and Joe Podlagar brought the ambulance to the St. George Church for the blessing and joined the parishioners for the luncheon.

Emergency medical personnel Hammaker and Podlagar were recognized for the work they do individually, for the work of Fayette Emergency Medical Services and all those employed in healthcare do throughout the year.

The program on August 10 in the church hall included greetings from Executive Board members; President Stan Brozik, and Executive Board Vice-President Mildred Bezjak, Parish Nurse Practitioner Millicent Mitzie Hunchuck served as Master of Ceremonies.

As in previous years, summaries of the the lives of St.Panteleimon, Sts. Cosmas and Damam( three different commemorations) and St.Luke were read. Mitzie Hunchuck, Mildred Bezjak, Josephine Vuich, Christina Sivak and Linda Porter, all healthcare workers by profession, did the readings.

Father Dimitre Dimitrov from nearby Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Masontown came again this year to be a part of the program.

On Monday, August 11, the Second Annual Healthcare Seminar was held. The focus was "Organ Transplants: A Serious Discussion." The first two sets of speakers spoke from personal experience.

Social worker Holly Torbic described the immediate and continuing impact as a result of her father, Dave Donald, receiving a lung transplant. Mr. Donald, a retired administrator in the labs at Pittsburgh's Oakland Veterans' Hospital and McGee Hospital in Pittsburgh, spoke about his medical condition and the way the lung transplant affected his life.

Nurse Cathy Stupar and Certified Fraud Examiner Mark Stupar described their experience associated with the liver transplant Mark's brother +Michael received. Mark and +Michael are the sons of + Father Mile and +Popadija Elizabeth Stupar.

The power of faith and prayer in both transplant families was fundamental to the discussion. Both families were very open and candid in addressing the many different questions asked.

Attorney Katica Trajkovski Ribel from Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission parish in Fairmont, West Virginia completed the morning schedule of speakers. Attorney Ribel spoke from her research and experience about legal considerations and transplants.

St. George Executive Board President Stan Brozik and Kolo and Choir President and Parish Treasurer Sonia Janson welcomed and addressed the seminar attendees at the luncheon. The Kolo was recognized and thanked for providing the meals for the seminar.

Executive Board Vice-President Mildred Bezjak, a pharmacist by profession, was among the participants in the seminar.

Parish Nurse Practitioner Mitzie Hunchuck addressed the seminar participants in the afternoon. She raised questions and commented on emotional issues related to transplants based upon her extensive nursing experiences. Practitioner Hunchuck is available to the parish throughout the year for consultation on healthcare concerns.

A paper by Father Rodney Torbic entitled "Organ Transplants: A Serious Discussion" was distributed and read during the closing part of the seminar. The well attended seminar touched on deep matters of faith and raised many questions of interest.

The seminar began with Matins and concluded with Vespers. Participants in attendance came from Serbian Orthodox parishes in Pennsylvania:  Aliquippa, Pittsburgh, Clairton, Monroeville, Johnstown and Youngwood as well as Fairmont, West Virginia. Orthodox Church in America parishes from Monessen and Masontown, Pennsylvania were also represented.

Certificates were issued to all participants.

Father Rodney Torbic