The Visiting Nurses Association has been serving the community since 1937. On Wednesday, town officials and friends came to the in the former library building at 605 Orange Center Road to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
First Selectman Jim Zeoli gave one of his entertaining off-the-cuff speeches with a touch of history and read a proclamation (see video) then turned the floor over to Tom Krause, Bob Fodero and Joseph Zelson.
Severio (Bob) P. Fodero, chairman of the Orange Board of Health said, "If we were able to take a picture of the accomplishments of the OVNA over the past 75 years and what its care and commitment have meant to our community, you would see that the OVNA and its staff is healthy and vigorous enough to travel into the next 75 years."
"On this occasion we cherish the past and look forward to a future that promises even more," Fodero said.
Thomas J. Krause, chairman of the OVNA Board of Governors kept his comments brief and thanked the staff for doing an excellent job at what has become a difficult job; dealing with insurance companies, providers, care coordinators, discharge people and hospitals.
He also thanked the board members who attend the meetings and working so well together and he congratulated the staff of the OVNA and all its directors for a job well done.
Orange Medical Director Dr. Joseph H. Zelson said the OVNA is the backbone of the Board of Health. "It's so welcomed in this town that there's no way that it couldn't continue going on. I've burned through eight prior Nursing Directors in 25 years and they were all supurb leaders."
When Zelson became Medical Director, the visiting nurse's job was fairly easy and straight-forward, "You went out to a house, took care of a patient, and you came back," he said. "Now, with the involvement of managed care and governmental regulations have become so complex that you have to be a computer expert as well as a nurse or a caregiver."
"You have to pay attention as the rules change, which they do every six months, and the expense of doing all of that — it takes more time away from patients and involves more time sitting in front of a computer, which is unfortunate," he said. "The people in Orange love having the same people come to their homes and having the same people taking care of them. It's such a welcome organization in town and that's why it's thrived."
Director Judy Benson added, "I've been here since Feb. 1, and this is my dream job, I just love it. The staff has been wonderful and the people in town are special and we can practice healthcare the way it should be, nursing the way it should be and meet everybody's needs and it really is special.