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St. Joseph Medical Center was awarded a Community IMPACT Hero Award by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce to highlight and honor area health care workers in their valiant fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last 12 months have been challenging for everyone, and especially our health care workers,” says Vickie Wolgast, president of the South KC Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to present St. Joseph Medical Center with the Community IMPACT Hero Award, as a small way to recognize all they have done and continue to do to keep our community safe.”

The special designation award was created by the Chamber’s Award Selection Committee and was presented on Thursday, March 25, 2021 during the SKC Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Impact Awards Ceremony, which will be held online due to ongoing COVID concerns. Every year, the local Chamber recognizes extraordinary leaders in the community and this year will honor St. Joseph Medical Center and healthcare workers during its commemorative 90th anniversary celebration.

St. Joseph Medical Center, located at I-435 and State Line, was notably featured in local news outlets last year for its care and recovery of Missouri Rep. Joe Runions. Rep. Runions was hospitalized on March 16, 2020 and spent eight days in the ER/ICU units with part of that time on a ventilator. The 80-year-old state representative credits Dr. Neal Erickson and the hospital’s team with his recovery.

“From the time I walked into Dr. Erickson’s office until I recovered, it was just amazing how well I was treated,” says Rep. Runions. “It seemed to be happening so fast. The nurses and the respiratory people were so caring. They made sure I was comfortable from the time I arrived to when they put me in the car to go home. Anytime a nurse left my room, there was always a little personal contact, a touch on the shoulder, something just to let me know they were there for me. I think that was the biggest thing that made me get better—that personal care.”

Runions, who represented the 37th district of Missouri, retired in January of this year after terming out by serving eight years. He received a standing ovation from both sides of the Statehouse in May after his recovery from COVID.

Runions says he believes St. Joseph Medical Center, his primary hospital for 60 years, is a deserving recipient of the Impact Hero Award.

“Most definitely they deserve it,” Runion affirms. “I’m very grateful for the care I received and very happy with all the advancements they continue to make.”