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Mount Nittany luminaries celebrate healthcare personnel who have worked during the pandemic


Min Xian / WPSU

More than a thousand paper luminaries with handwritten messages decorated Mount Nittany Medical Center’s healing garden in an event dedicated to hospital staff.

More than a thousand paper luminaries decorated Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Healing Garden Monday night in an event honoring healthcare workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

Handwritten messages covered the paper light fixtures. Many expressed their gratitude to the Mount Nittany staff.

“I’m alive because you cared,” one message read.

Addressing about two dozen attendees, David Doll, a hospital employee for 30 years, said he was grateful for the care his colleagues in the COVID-19 unit provided to his wife, Tina, died of COVID.

“She was fighting,” Doll said. “When she couldn’t fight, the staff fought for her.”

Min Xian / WPSU

More than a thousand paper luminaries decorated Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Healing Garden Monday night in an event honoring healthcare workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

Chief of Medical Staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Dr. Thomas Covaleski, praised staff for managing many uncertainties in their day-to-day operations and said they put patients first.

“Never in my life have we had so many people without visitors and closed doors and in a room by themselves,” Covaleski said. “But I saw time and time again how our staff made small talk, talked about the weather, talked about what was happening on TV, shared personal stories. They became the family of the people who were in those rooms.

Mount Nittany Health CEO Katheleen Rhine said the health system has cared for more than 2,000 COVID patients since March 2020.