Author Archives: Nicole Tremmel

Difficult Journeys Create Strong Advocates—Regional Hospice and Palliative Care Appoints Distinguished Veteran

Putnam County Sheriff and Retired Brigadier General Donald B. Smith lost the love of his life and committed to help others benefit from the compassionate care and support he and his family received from Regional Hospice and Palliative Care. 

After many months of advocating on behalf of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, Smith became the newest member of its volunteer board of directors on May 31, 2017.

A proactive and generous man, Smith offered his time to publicly advocate on behalf of the center’s mission as a member of the agency’s stewardship committee. At the New Fairfield Giving Circle Breakfast last October, Smith opened his heart and deeply touched every one of the event’s 450 guests at the Amber Room that morning as he shared Jane’s story and his passion for the precious time she had and the care and support Jane and his entire family received while at the center.

Sheriff Smith and his family utilized the center as Regional Hospice leadership had envisioned. He was a constant presence by Jane’s side, as well as with his work spread out before him in the family kitchen and the center’s other public and quiet spaces, and shared Jane’s last Thanksgiving together with their family and favorite holiday fixings from the center’s chef.

“He and Jane, their children and grandchildren all became family to Regional Hospice volunteers, social workers, nurses, hospice aides, our center chef and staff—it is our pleasure to welcome Don Smith into another part of our Regional Hospice family to share his insights and passion to help us serve patients and their families. Don has profound understanding and support for our mission. We are honored to have such a distinguished veteran and someone with his extraordinary background and compassion helping us to advocate for the families in our care.” Said Cynthia Emiry Roy, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care President & CEO

Sheriff Smith assumed the duties of Putnam County Sheriff on January 1, 2002. Prior to becoming the Sheriff of Putnam County, Smith served as the Deputy Putnam County Executive from 1999 – 2001.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Smith also earned a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and was a Fellow at the National Defense University. Smith’s numerous awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Sheriff Smith has served in numerous leadership positions in community organizations including past president of the Westchester-Putnam Council of the Boy Scouts of America, past president of the Mental Health Association in Putnam County, and currently serves as Chairman of the American Heart Association in Putnam County. Sheriff Smith also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Security Council Foundation, which promotes the military concept and strategy of “Peace Through Strength” and currently is the Chairman of the Board.

 “It is a great honor and privilege for me to join the Board of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.

Having experienced firsthand the outstanding care for my late-wife, Jane, and the caring support for me and my family during our great time of need, I am humbled that I will be able to play a role in helping other families in their time of need by serving on the Board of Directors. I am very grateful that Regional Hospice was there for my family and truly believe that its mission and role can best be defined by looking in the dictionary under the word “love”. Commented Retired Brigadier General, Putman County Sheriff Donald B. Smith on his new leadership role with Reginal Hospice and Palliative Care.

Regional Hospice and Palliative Care (RHPC) has served Fairfield, New Haven, Hartford & Litchfield counties with nonprofit home hospice care for over 30 years. In 2015, RHPC opened the state-of-the-art Center for Comfort Care & Healing. This family-centered hospice residence is CT’s first and only private-suite facility, servicing patients and their families from throughout the country, especially in New York State and Connecticut. RHPC’s mission is to provide exceptional end-of-life care, comfort and compassion to infants, children, adults and their families with a dedicated staff of professionals.

For more information, visit www.RegionalHospiceCT.org. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RegionalHospiceCT.

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Honoring Dr. Bob Kloss and Ed Ronan Jr., CPA with the 2017 Danbury Community Leadership Award

The Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums, the Putnam County Sheriff with his own special award and about 450 revelers filled the Amber Room on May 2nd to celebrate two outstanding leaders at the heart of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s history.

Dr. Bob Kloss, one of our Regional Hospice founders in 1983, who has also been our medical director since our earliest days, and Ed Ronan, Jr., CPA, the treasurer on our volunteer board of directors who ushered Regional Hospice through the creation of our Center for Comfort Care & Healing, received the 2017 Community Leadership Award at the Danbury Giving Circle’s Annual Breakfast.

Left to right: Volunteer Board Chairman John Royce, Honoree Dr. Bob Kloss, Honoree Ed Ronan, Jr., President & CEO Cynthia Roy, and Volunteer Board Vice-Chairman George Mulvaney


Bob Kloss and Ed Ronan are men with vision, empathy and an impassioned sense of community responsibility. It is our pleasure to a bit share their history that led them to become our history:

 

Our Founder, Our Medical Director, Our Mentor—Dr. Bob Kloss 

Family, music, an inspirational mentor and the real estate mantra: location, location, location, put Dr. Robert “Bob” Kloss on a path that changed the course of end-of-life care for families in our region.

Together Dr. Albert Casazza and Dr. John Pezzimenti of Associated Internists, Dr. Kloss founded Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Danbury in 1983. Bob took on the mantle as medical director during 1985, and has been its compassionate and guiding clinical force ever since.

Sailing, Music and a Soul Mate

Born in Edgewater Park, New Jersey, a town along the Delaware River close to the Jersey Shore, Bob grew up with a passion for sailing and gift for music—an accomplished pianist and organist who played in church throughout high school and college. It was also at church where he met a dear friend who would become his future wife—Kathy Taylor—they were both five years old. They married in 1978 after Kathy finished her Master’s in Performing Arts at Julliard and Bob was in the last year of his residency at SUNY Buffalo. 

A Mentor and a Path to Regional Hospice History               

After graduating with honors from University of Pennsylvania followed by Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Bob did his internship and residency at SUNY Buffalo where he met Dr. Rose Ruth Ellison, a pioneer in cancer chemotherapy. Dr. Ellison’s research and fervor for her work inspired Bob, and Ellison became his mentor as well as a catalyst for his specialty in hematology/oncology.

Ellison and Buffalo’s lack of a thriving classical music scene motivated Kloss’s trek toward Danbury. By 1978, Ellison became the head of oncology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center—a position that would bring Bob and Kathy, back to New York in 1979, where Kathy, a clarinetist, could resume her career. After completing his fellowship in oncology/hematology at Columbia Presbyterian, Bob joined Associated Internists of Danbury in July of 1981—the rest is Regional Hospice history.

A Skeptical Medical Community Embraces Quality of Life

As their family grew and ensconced themselves into the Redding community, Kathy’s career included regional and national music performances; they shared a shared family passion for sailing with their two sons Rob and James, and Bob has served on the vestry at Christ Church Redding. He is currently the treasurer of Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums.

In addition to continuing as Regional Hospice’s beloved sage and medical director, Bob had spent ten years as the director of in-patient oncology at Danbury Hospital, now Western CT Health Network, and served as the WCHN Chief of Hematology-Oncology until October 2016.

Bob Kloss’ leadership at Regional Hospice saw a skeptical medical community grow to embrace quality of life over the pursuit of continued treatments that were hastening mortality rather than providing a cure. Bob also experienced Regional Hospice’s earliest growing pains and later shared in the dream and the planning to make our Center for Comfort Care and Healing a reality.

In his typically understated manner, Bob credits past and current leadership for the growth and reputation for clinical excellence that Regional Hospice has achieved throughout his thirty-five years of unyielding dedication.  “Al Casazza was a powerful force in the community; he had a vision; he was a kick-starter for the hospice movement in our area. Cynthia was exactly that for the center; it was time—we had needed it for far too long.”

Thank you, Dr. Bob Kloss—we could not have done it without YOU! We honor you for your vision, your leadership and your resolve to bring enhanced quality of life, peace and comfort to families, and for never losing your passion or idealism through thirty-five years of transition and growth.

 

Ed Ronan—a Heart Full of Empathy and…

Behind every non-profit’s dream come true are a dedicated board of directors that includes an accountant with a phone full of contacts and a heart full of empathy.

Regional Hospice and Palliative Care ( RHPC) Volunteer Board ofDirectors brought Ed Ronan, Jr. CPA, onboard in 2008—a pivotal year for a long-held vision: RHPC leadership were developing plans to build the state’s first in-patient, private-suite, specialty hospital to care for dying patients and support their loves ones.

Ed brought 40 years of financial acumen as a certified public accountant guiding individuals, businesses and non-profits in their financial planning and assurance.  He also brought a personal understanding the hospice mission and a network of family, friends and business associates who could help Regional Hospice raise awareness for the $14 million undertaking that would change hospice care as we know it in Connecticut.

 A Compassionate Believer

Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s mission is empowered by compassionate believers who bring us their hearts, talents and tenacious spirits. Ed and his wife, Mary Connelly Ronan, became compassionate believers twenty-nine years ago when Mary’s mom had died at the age of 57, the same day their daughter, Maggie, was born.

Their experience with hospice care at home lifted an overwhelming burden off of their family’s shoulders. It allowed them to concentrate on precious time left with Mrs. Connelly as Ed and Mary prepared for their baby’s birth. The loving staff caring for Mary’s mom helped them make sense out of the complicated feelings of loss and the joy of their beautiful, healthy baby.

More recently during Ed’s father’s illness and passing, Ed and his whole family expressed the change that took place as soon and they walked through the double doors into the patient wing of the Center for Comfort Care & Healing.  “We felt completely unburdened and embraced by peace after a particularly agonizing time. The experience of the Regional Hospice staff and the care at the Center moved all of us to be even more ardent advocates.”

Faith, Family & Community Spirit

Ed Ronan’s hospice spirit is infused by his faith and commitment to family and community service.  Born in Yonkers the oldest of five boys, Ed’s family moved to Ridgefield when he was seven. He graduated from Ridgefield High School with plans to go to college to “…do what Ronan men do—we become accountants.”

After graduating from University of Bridgeport with his BS in Accounting and his CPA, Ed landed a position with one of the “big eight of the 1970’s”, Coopers and Lybrand, where he met Michael Actis-Grande. In 1984, the two men opened their own firm in Danbury, Actis-Grande Ronan and Company, LLC. Ed serves as the firm’s director of assurance and consulting services, and believes that “If you are a business owner you have a responsibility to help your community. It’s all part of being a good corporate citizen in your community.”

Ed and Mary are longtime Brookfield residents and have two children—Stephen and his wife, Darcy, have two children, Eddie five and Charlie two. Their daughter, Maggie, and her husband,

Sean, are expecting their first child in July.

With Our Gratitude

Ed Ronan has served as a director on the boards of a variety of not-for-profit organizations over the course of his professional career. He is currently serving as treasurer of the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care Volunteer Board of Directors and our former Regional Hospice Foundation. Ed is also a corporator of the Savings Bank of Danbury and a member of the Housatonic Industrial Development Corporation. It is our pleasure to honor Ed Ronan, Jr. with our 2017 Danbury Community Leadership Award for his commitment to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.