By, Holly Schoenstein
Stow -- During his 12-year career as a social worker, Stow resident Greg Kovach has worked in a variety of roles for the National MS Society, Ohio Buckeye Chapter, and has helped thousands of patients who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis.
Crossroads Hospice, of Valley View, recognized his accomplishments by presenting him with its "Caring More Award" during a ceremony May 25 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Independence.
"I never expected to receive such a recognition for doing what I enjoy doing," said Kovach, who has worked as director of outreach services for the organization since 2007.
"I feel that this award is such a great opportunity to acknowledge the countless individuals who are involved in the daily care of people with MS, including family members, friends, neighbors and other caregivers," he said. "I encourage anyone who needs help and support to connect with the National MS Society for additional resources and relief through our Respite Care Program."
Crossroads Hospice created the award last year to honor a Cleveland-area social worker who goes above and beyond to improve the lives of his or her patients and community.
"Social workers are truly the unsung heroes in health care. Every day, they go out of their way to connect the people they serve to resources, counsel patients and families, and give them the time and attention they need," said Stacie Beck, executive director of Crossroads Hospice. "They do difficult work without seeking special recognition, but we believe they deserve to be thanked and honored."
The award includes a $500 cash prize and $500 to the charity of his choice, the National MS Society. He also was the guest of honor at a breakfast during the ceremony.
Administrators at the organization nominated Kovach for the award, and an independent panel of judges, which consisted of local experts in the field of health care, reviewed his professional accomplishments, patient advocacy efforts and contributions to the community.
"The judges panel was impressed by his commitment to connecting people with MS with resources like medical equipment, transportation, and financial assistance; his advocacy efforts to establish policies to meet the needs of people with the disease, both newly diagnosed and those in long-term care; and his dedication to connecting people with MS with volunteers to assist with household projects through the Society's 'What a Difference a Day Makes' initiative," Beck said.
Kovach serves as a policy advocate for several of the Society's committees, including Governmental Relations and Clinical Advisory, and every year he facilitates the "What a Difference a Day Makes" day of service that brings volunteers together to help clients with tasks, like household chores.
During his career, he also has worked as outreach services manager, program manager, program administrative manager and program administrative coordinator for the agency.
Kovach is a 1994 graduate of Niles McKinley High School in Niles. He earned a bachelor's degree from Kent State University in 1998 and a master's of social work from the University of Akron in 2000.