Looking back on a whirlwind marathon of a week, I am reminded of just how blessed I am to be a part of such an excellent organization as the South Carolina Society for Respiratory Care. We started on Tuesday with two pre-conference workshops; these were led by speakers that are outstanding in what they do. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Garry Kauffmann, Terry Volsko and David Wheeler on making these available for the attendees and for the excellent presentations.
Next was the inaugural poster presentation session; this was an impressive display of hard work, talent, knowledge; I could go on and on. This session was hosted by David Wheeler, Terry Volsko and Doug Laher, who all did excellent jobs in opening each presentation and keeping everything moving along. The wine and cheese reception was sponsored by WestMed; a big thank you to our WestMed friends for doing this for us!!!
Wednesday morning brought more lectures and time to mingle with and catch up with friends, opportunities to vote for the 2017 SCSRC officers and board of directors, join or renew membership with the AARC (although their server was down on this, which presented its own challenges)! During the annual business meeting on Wednesday, we had opportunity to see folks be rewarded and awarded for their accomplishments during the year. A special “shout out” to my Midlands directors for bringing home the “Region of the Year” award; I know how hard you guys have worked this year, and it has definitely paid off, in so many ways.
Wednesday afternoon, our vendors set up for the Leadership reception, which was well attended by our managers, directors and “decision makers”. This has proven over the years to be a real bonus for our attendees and exhibitors alike.
Wednesday evening was our Celebration Dinner, with an “I Love the 80’s” theme. Everyone had a grand time dressing up in their 80’s attire and dancing to 80’s music. We even had appearances from “Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice” and “Richard Simmons”!
Thursday morning was busy, but excellent, as usual; we had two lecture tracks running, and also a four hour student breakout session. After the sessions were complete, the exhibit hall was open for all attendees and lunch was served. The exhibit hall was packed; in speaking with some of our exhibitors, they were well pleased with the turnout and with the layout of the exhibit hall. I cannot say enough about our exhibitor support; to say that we can’t do this without them is a huge understatement. Their support of our conference is absolutely crucial to our success!
Thursday afternoon found many folks waiting for the raffle drawings; congratulations to those that won! Among the raffle prizes were two sets of corn hole games, made especially for the SCSRC, with our logo on them, two sets of Dana Oakes “Respiratory Care books” that were donated for our conference, two baskets that were donated by the Pulmonary Lab from the Medical University of SC and from Roper St. Francis RT department. I am sure there are other things that I am missing; that is what comes to mind right now.
There were also RT Beach Olympics on Thursday afternoon; my favorite was the “human boat building” exercise. In this, teams had to create a boat out of cardboard that was capable of floating in the pool. The contestants that won had a boat that actually stayed afloat for a full ten minutes before it had to be taken out of the pool so that the next contestants could put theirs in the water! What an awesome time of being together and cheering each other on!
Friday morning, there were two more tracks presented; at the close of the conference, we handed out paper certificates and said our farewells, until next year!
On a personal note, it really struck me this year how certain folks have made such an impact on me as a therapist over the years. In fact, there are two therapists, in particular, that have had significant influence on me as a therapist. Paul “Ed” Watson is one that I have known for many years; it was Ed that encouraged me to consider Respiratory Therapy as a career when I was a high school student. At the time, I wasn’t quite ready for that challenge, but I never forgot our conversation; just before graduating from USC with my baccalaureate degree, I realized that a career change was necessary, even before it started. It was that conversation, encouragement and support from my family, that caused me to travel down the road to become an RT. During that journey, on my very first day in clinic, I met a therapist, who continues to be my RT hero, Ann Whitmire. That day, in particular, is forever burned in my memory, as I was so impressed with her patient care skills and dedication to her job. I have tears in my eyes now thinking about how much “Ms Ann” means to me. I wanted to take this opportunity to say a special “thank you” to them especially for the impact they have had on me.
I also had the opportunity to reconnect with a therapist that I had graduated with, some 33 years ago, that I had not seen since our pinning ceremony; Patricia Daso, it was absolutely wonderful to see you!
Lastly, I would like to say a huge thank you to our Program Committee; I can’t even begin to explain the level of dedication that went into the planning and execution of this event. It is a monumental undertaking, but I believe that I speak for the committee when I say that it is truly a labor of love. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to spend the week of Labor Day with you, to reconnect, learn, share, laugh, hug, all of those things. Thank you also for reading my musings! It is an honor and a privilege to be able to be a part of this phenomenal organization!
Until next year,
2016 SCSRC Treasurer