Gaylord Specialty Healthcare officials and Cuno Foundation leaders on Wednesday celebrated the contributions of Kenneth W. Mango, a longtime member of the foundation’s distribution committee, with the renaming of a patient room in Mango’s honor.
Mango, a Meriden attorney and partner of the Luby Olson PC law firm, served on the distribution committee for more than 35 years.
Gaylord and Cuno leaders celebrated the partnership between Gaylord, which specializes in rehabilitation, including physical rehabilitation and outpatient health care services, and the foundation, which awarded Gaylord a $150,000 grant in 2019.
That grant supported upgrades in 99 rooms throughout the hospital’s Lyman and Hooker wings — upgrades that included improved facilities and the acquisition of advanced medical equipment and technology. Those upgrades, according to Gaylord leaders, have enabled the hospital to continually ensure that patients receive quality care.
Prior to cutting the ribbon on the renamed room, Gaylord and Cuno leaders remarked on the continued partnership between the hospital and the foundation.
Sonja LaBarbera, Gaylord’s president and chief executive officer, said the relationship is a “reflection of your beliefs and confidence in this hospital and the patient care that we provide.”
LaBarbera noted that in the hospital’s 120-year history, it has helped numbers of patients “reclaim their lives.”
The health care provider is growing, she said. Gaylord opened a new location in Madison and renovated its North Haven site. Its Wallingford facility is also growing, with a new podiatry residency program in development.
“We are going to meet the rising demand for physicians who are trained in physical medicine and rehabilitat ion,” LaBarbera said.
Leaders also celebrated Mango’s tenure throughout Cuno’s history.
Mango, for his part, is proud of the foundation’s contributions not only to Gaylord, but to the city of Meriden over the years. He noted the organization cumulatively has distributed more than $6 million in scholarships to students and grants to other organizations during its history.
“It’s an impressive organizat ion,” Mango said.
Mango reflected on his years as a foundation member, referencing a quote he encountered along the way: “Giving is the best work of life.”
He said the individuals who gathered Wednesday all played a “big part” in giving throughout Meriden and surrounding towns.
Mango used the anecdote of his time spent as a pitcher on his high school baseball team and equated it to his involvement in charitable giving. He noted one game where he didn’t pitch particularly well. But his team still won, because of the support he received from his team’s offense.
“I feel like I am the pitcher now, because you folks are doing all of the heavy hitt ing,” Mango said, noting he knows the time and commitment it takes to give.
“I am in awe of the fact that all of you are still doing that,” Mango said, encouraging foundation members to continue the Cuno mission.
“God knows the world needs it and God knows you get no credit for it. But God bless you for doing it,” he said.
John Stanton, the current vice chairperson of Cuno’s distribution committee, thanked Mango for his service to the organization, saying he could always count on Mango’s knowledge and his ability.
“Those qualities translated nicely into the work of the Cuno Foundation,” Stanton said.
Tom Luby, Mango’s longtime law partner, described his colleague as a person who believed in his community and who was “deeply involved” in that community. And since its early years, Mango has helped shaped the Cuno Foundation, he added.
“He helped lead it for a long time in a good direction,” Luby said. “Now it’s a major institution that does a lot of community good.”
By Michael Gagne Record-Journal staff