HONESDALE -  “I always think of my patients as family,” says Karen Riefler, a nurse aide at Wayne Memorial Hospital who was crowned the Employee of the Year 2018 at the hospital’s annual holiday party on December 1.

CEO David Hoff called Karen’s achievement “well deserved.”

Riefler was “happy and excited” to be chosen Employee of the Year (EOY) at the place where she has worked for 42 years. She was also thrilled to be able to share her joy at the party at Fiorelli’s in Peckville with her husband of 39 years, Raymond Riefler. Karen, who was born and raised in Wayne County—she graduated from the now-defunct Damascus High School—was October Employee of the Month.  The EOY is voted upon by the employees of the month of the previous year. For her October nod, Karen was nominated by just about everyone she works with in the Progressive Care Unit. They called her “an employee everyone can learn something from…hardworking, punctual and a true team member.”

Karen received a plaque, a permanent position on the hospitals EOY Wall of Honor near the cafeteria and a monetary gift.

The hospital’s annual party drew more than 200 employees, board members, medical staff and guests. The event included a presentation about all the employees of the months of 2018: Beverly Whitby/Environmental Services; Lisa Freiermuth/Dietary; Kimberly Hartzell/Laboratory Services; Mary Bunting, RN; Kevin Palan, Materials Management; Mirla Egan/Dietary; Gail Reynolds/ Environmental Services; Danielle Hazimof, nurse’s aide; Maria Diehl, Public Relations; Riefler; Nicole Hartung, Social Services; and Tanya Miller/Environmental Services.

Hospital administrators thanked all the employees in general. Medical Staff Chief William Dewar III, MD told attendees WMH recently received an “A” grade in patient safety from the Leapfrog Group and “you, the employees make Wayne Memorial what it is.” CEO Hoff also acknowledged WMH/WMHS Board Chairman Dirk Mumford, who is ending his board tenure and Chief Financial Officer Mike Clifford who retires at the end of the year after a 40 year run.

The crowd, including Mumford, gave both Riefler and Clifford standing ovations.