3 emergency-medical workers honored by own

7/16/2013
BY ARIELLE STAMBLER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Cheryl Kazmierczak, right, with her daughter Christina Smith, accept the emergency medicine Wall of Honor award for her husband, Dr. Gary Crawford, who died in 2001. The event at UTMC was Tuesday.
Cheryl Kazmierczak, right, with her daughter Christina Smith, accept the emergency medicine Wall of Honor award for her husband, Dr. Gary Crawford, who died in 2001. The event at UTMC was Tuesday.

Greater Toledo’s emergency-medical community honored a nurse, a physician, and a paramedic Tuesday for their contributions to the field at the third annual emergency medicine Wall of Honor induction ceremony.

Belkofer
Belkofer

The inductees accepted plaques bearing their faces, names, and accomplishments that will hang outside the Emergency Room at the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio. About 80 friends, relatives, and fellow emergency medicine professionals were at the ceremony in The Hotel at UTMC.

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Hettel
Hettel

Dr. Kristopher Brickman, chairman of the UTMC Department of Emergency Medicine, said Toledo is one of the first communities in the country to recognize outstanding nurses, physicians, and paramedics.

“Each of [this year’s inductees] are pioneers in their own right,” he said.

Toledo-area nurses, physicians, and paramedics selected this year’s inductees from a pool of nominees throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Sharon Belkofer, 70, of Perrysburg was honored for 39 years of service as a nurse at Mercy St. Charles Hospital and 18 years as the director of emergency services there. In 1999, she founded the Level III Trauma Program at the Oregon hospital and directed it until she retired in 2003.

Dr. Gary Crawford, a former Toledo Hospital emergency physician, died in 2001, but his widow, Cheryl Kazmierczak, and daughter, Christina Smith, accepted his award.

Dr. David Lindstrom, medical director of ProMedica and Lucas County EMS, described him as a precise diagnostician and a tough teacher with exacting standards.

“He demanded excellence of his coworkers because he wanted the best for the patient,” Ms. Kazmierczak said.

Richard Hettel, 59, of Whitehouse was the final inductee. He won three awards for excellence over the course of his almost 30-year career as a paramedic, emergency medical services instructor, and nurse in Toledo-area hospitals. He retired in 2001.

Mr. Hettel said he was humbled to have been chosen for the honor.

“Looking at the people who have already been inducted, I don’t feel I belong there,” Mr. Hettel said.

Ms. Belkofer echoed Mr. Hettel’s humility. “When we reach the age of introspection, we often look back and wonder if we have used our God-given talents to make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said, addressing the room. “With this honor, you have made me feel that I have somehow made a difference.”

Contact Arielle Stambler at: astambler@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.