St. Lawrence Health

Hospital Boards Present Community Service Awards

Benson Kelly, MD; Andrew Williams, MD; and Gouverneur Fire Department Honored

Jun. 28, 2022 4   min read

CANTON, NY – The Board of Directors’ from St. Lawrence Health’s (SLH) three hospitals recently presented their 2021-2022 Community Service Awards to well-deserving and dedicated North Country recipients.

The Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board (CPH) honored Andrew Williams, MD; the Gouverneur Hospital (GH) Board recognized the Gouverneur Fire Department; and the Massena Hospital (MH) Board honored Benson Kelly, MD.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by each hospital board, and is given to individuals or organizations that have improved the health of communities in our region.

“Those being recognized live and actively demonstrate commitment to their core. A commitment to those they serve and to their counterparts who serve alongside them,” St. Lawrence Health Board Chair Ed Mucenski said. “As an organization, we cannot provide health care with bricks and mortar alone; it takes a team of selfless individuals who make personal sacrifices every day for the betterment of others.”

Andrew Williams, MD, Honored

[Andrew Williams, MD, is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board of Directors Community Service Award. He was unable to attend the ceremony, as “duty called.” Accepting the award on his behalf were (l to r) Former St. Lawrence Health President David Acker, St. Lawrence Health Board Chair Ed Mucenski, and St. Lawrence Health and Canton-Potsdam Hospital President Donna McGregor.]

SLH and CPH President Donna McGregor noted CPH award recipient Dr. Williams has strong and extensive ties to not only the system, but to the regional community as a whole. He is the Associate Chief Medical Officer for SLH, Assistant Director of Internal Medicine at CPH, and is a physician and Chief Medical Officer for the Community Health Center of the North Country. He further serves on the GH Board of Directors, is the St. Lawrence County Board of Health President, and is the Medical Director of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country.

“Dr. Williams is someone who does not let barriers or challenges get in the way of providing opportunity and enhancing access to essential care,” Ms. McGregor said. “He was our leader of the CPH COVID-19 Command Center, was instrumental in establishing multiple COVID vaccination Points of Distribution, and was the first individual in the North Country to receive the vaccine – which occurred at our very own Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

“We humbly present this award to Dr. Williams for his attentiveness to the needs of our community and the multitude of ways he serves the North Country,” she added.

Gouverneur Fire Department Honored

[The Gouverneur Fire Department is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Gouverneur Hospital (GH) Board of Directors Community Service Award. (Front, l to r) St. Lawrence Health President Donna McGregor, Gouverneur Fire Department Captain and GH Registered Nurse Amber Haynes, Gouverneur Fire Department Chief Engineer Thomas Conklin, and GH Board Chair Andrew Leonard. (Back, l to r) GH Vice President of Nursing Christina Latta, GH Emergency Department Nurse Manager Jay Moore, GH Board Member Ted Totten, and Gouverneur Hospital President Jeremy Slaga.]

Gouverneur Hospital Board Chair Andrew Leonard pointed out the Gouverneur Fire Department is 60-members strong and comprised of volunteers, some of whom are GH employees. He said they each have our deepest respect, admiration, and gratitude for their work in keeping our community safe. 

“The Gouverneur Fire Department consists of members who selflessly, and literally, step into the line of fire for us, and they also respond to medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, rescue calls, and hazardous materials incidents,” Mr. Leonard said. “We are forever grateful for their devotion to our safety.

“This award is also for the families of these unsung heroes. When called to serve, the members of our Gouverneur Fire Department say goodbye to their loved ones not knowing the full extent of what they may encounter. Thank you to our Fire Department and to their loved ones who support their call and mission,” he stated.

Benson Kelly, MD, Honored

[Benson Kelly, MD, is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Massena Hospital Board of Directors Community Service Award. (L to R) Massena Hospital President David Bender, Dr. Kelly, Massena Hospital Board Chair Loretta Perez, and St. Lawrence Health President Donna McGregor.]

Massena Hospital President David Bender noted the decision to select Dr. Kelly as the recipient of this year’s award was unanimous. The doctor’s connection to Massena Hospital literally started with his birth; he was born at Massena Memorial Hospital. After graduating from Harvard University, and Tufts University School of Medicine, he returned to provide health care to members of the Massena and Akwesasne communities.

Dr. Kelly started his career at Massena [Memorial] Hospital, where he was involved in supporting babies and their mothers after deliveries, working in Intensive Care, and providing care for our essential aging seniors.

“Dr. Kelly has provided health care through Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Health Services for nearly 36 years, and is now caring for the third generation of his patients. He is among the few physicians whose long-standing service affords him the opportunity to care for the grandchildren of his original patients,” Mr. Bender said.

“He was instrumental in the expansion of the existing Health Services Building, which now includes a primary care and mental health clinic, dental clinic, pharmacy, lab, business office, and numerous outreach services, including a drug and alcohol program. Dr. Kelly has seen first-hand the escalation of the opioid epidemic over the past 30 years,” Mr. Bender continued. “We are, undeniably, a healthier North Country because of Dr. Benson Kelly’s long-standing career as a provider, and his vision and tenacity to establish comprehensive health care services to those in need.”

Award winners are chosen by each hospital’s Board of Directors from a slate of nominees.