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McKeesport-area EMS personnel honored for flu prevention efforts

| Friday, June 7, 2013, 12:46 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Mon River Fleet SHIP facilitators joining in the festivities were, front row from left, Joan Procopio, Partnership for a Caring Community, Braddock; and Kathy Tachoir and Mickey Bradley, Clairton Community Partnership; second row, Lynn Alms, McKeesport Healthier Communities Partnership; Alice Jones, Clairton Community Partnership; and Alison Piccolino, Duquesne Community Partnership; and back row, John W. Smith, Partnership for a Caring Community, Braddock, and Jim Spindler, McKeesport Healthier Communities Partnership.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Honored at the luncheon were, from left seated, John Lattanzi from Clairton Volunteer Fire Department - EMS, and Sue Wiedenheft from Baldwin EMS; and standing, from left, Chris Burns of Clairton VFD-EMS, EMS specialist for UPMC McKeesport Scott Dolan, EMS specialist for AED program Anthony Duryea and William Plunkett from Baldwin EMS.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Receiving awards and certificates were seated Dwayne Beere and Jill Moorehead of Elizabeth Township Area EMS and Robert Gibson, Jefferson Hills Area Ambulance Association, and standing Alan Hitchens, Eastern Area Prehospital Service; and William Miller, McKeesport Ambulance Authority.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Cynthia M. Dorundo, president UPMC McKeesport, congratulates seated from left, Ryan Matron, Fire Department of North Versailles EMS; Fred Cooley, White Oak EMS; and standing, from left, John Bower, Tri Community South EMS; and Brian Knight, White Oak EMS.

From mid-September through Jan. 21, more than 6,000 influenza vaccines were administered to people in communities throughout the Mon Valley Region through the Mon River Fleet.

Those vaccines were given by 13 local emergency medical service providers who were recognized for their efforts at the annual Mon River Fleet EMS Awards Luncheon.

Representatives from Baldwin EMS, Clairton Volunteer Fire Department-EMS, Eastern Area Prehospital, Elizabeth Township Area EMS, Jefferson Hills Area Ambulance Association, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service, Munhall Area Prehospital, Fire Department of North Versailles EMS, Penn Hills EMS, Priority One EMS, Tri-Community South EMS, White Oak EMS and Woodland Hills EMS Rescue gathered at Youghiogheny Country Club.

They received awards and certificates for their work in administering the flu shots. A certificate of recognition from Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport, was read.

“Your partnership and commitment to the residents with the influenza vaccine program has made a tremendous impact on the community,” Cynthia M. Dorundo, president of UPMC McKeesport, said. “This is one of the most effective immunization programs in the state so you have a lot to be proud of when you go back to your communities.”

When the program started in 2003, 900 vaccines were given. That number continues to grow to this year's record of 6,351.

Jim Spindler, co-facilitator of the McKeesport Healthier Communities PartnerSHIP, said the statistics are important but “they represent people and lives in our communities. Thank you not just for what you do with the influenza vaccine program, but what you do all year in saving lives.”

“It has been such an honor to be part of this program,” McKeesport Hospital Foundation executive director Michele Matuch said. “I have had the pleasure of working with the people in the state Department of Health because none of this would be possible without them.”

She also praised the hospital's pharmacy department. “They are just wonderful. Bill (Niccolai, pharmacy director) was so confident from Day One that we could do this initiative.”

“I thank God above for giving me the opportunity to do what I do and I love it and I love all of you,” Matuch said.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or