A capacity crowd which included family, friends, coworkers and physicians gathered at the White Inn in Fredonia to pay tribute to Carolyn Fafinski, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.N. on the occasion of her retirement from Brooks Memorial Hospital. A surprise guest was her brother, Philip Cole of Boston, Mass.
Her daughter Kelly Mancuso, R.N., B.S.N. welcomed everyone in attendance. The invocation was given by Carol Kozlowski, R.N.
After dinner, Mancuso spoke about what her mother meant to her. She noted that while her mother's career was a busy one, she never missed an event in her life. She praised her mother for her many accomplishments and spoke about how happy she was to say that because of Fafinski's influences; there have been three generations of nurses in their family who have worked at Brooks Hospital. They include Mancuso's grandmother, Frances Cole, R.N.; Fafinski; and Mancuso herself is currently nurse manager of surgery.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Guests of honor at Carolyn Fafinski’s retirement party — first row: Carolyn with her husband, Jim Fafinski, and Tony Mancuso, her son-in-law. Second row: Carolyn’s sister, Joanne Cole; her mother, Frances Cole; and daughter, Kelly Mancuso. Third row: Carolyn’s brothers, Vincent Cole, Philip Cole and Skip Cole.
Longtime friend and coworker Kozlowski delivered the main address. She spoke of Fafinski's many significant contributions to the hospital and the field of nursing throughout her 38-year career. She commended Fafinski for earning her bachelor's degree in healthcare administration while working full time and spoke about how truly deserving Fafinski was to receive the New York State Legislature Nurse of Distinction Award.
Kozlowski told the group how Fafinski took the initiative to become trained as a dialysis nurse. She became certified as a nephrology nurse and singlehandedly designed and planned the current dialysis unit at Brooks. Kozlowski noted that in the sixteen years that followed, Fafinski never received a patient or family complaint and every accreditation and healthcare review was passed with flying colors.
In closing, Kozlowski told Fafinski she had the leadership skills of Santa Claus.
"You built a wonderful workshop, you chose your reindeer wisely, you listened to your elves, you shared your milk and cookies, you found out who's naughty and nice, and you were good for goodness' sake," Kozlowski said. "As you leave, we thank you for leaving Brooks a better place."
Fafinski then spoke, thanking her mother for inspiring her to embrace change and for looking for opportunities to grow and try new things. She thanked her daughter for grounding her and encouraging her to think outside of the box. She thanked Kozlowski for being her mentor throughout the years and finally her husband for being a good listener and for helping her to see situations from a different perspective. Fafinski expressed her appreciation for her staff and everyone in attendance, stating it was her honor to have been associated with each of them either on a personal or professional level.
"Nursing is the hardest and easiest thing I've done," Fafinski said. "My decision to retire was bittersweet, but a wise woman, my mother, once said you will know when it's time. You will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change."
A layered cake decorated with chocolate and strawberries was served.
Mancuso then presented her mother with a diamond necklace, an arm bouquet of spring flowers and several certificates from the group.
Fafinski closed by reciting a nurse's prayer. The rest of the evening was spent socializing and looking at memory boards prepared by Mancuso.
Dr. and Mrs. Canone also hosted a dinner party at Lasandro's in Jamestown. Fafinski's family and the dialysis nursing staff were in attendance. The hosts presented Fafinski with a gift of diamond earrings.