STEUBENVILLE -This story begins 2,381 miles from Eastern Gateway Community College.
During the American Association of Respiratory Care 59th National Congress in Anaheim, Calif., Cynthia Carducci, director of Eastern Gateway's respiratory therapy program, experienced chance encounters with two graduates who are actively involved in their respiratory therapy-related careers.
"I'm sure you have heard the saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' but have you heard that 'It takes a Jefferson County village and three villages beyond to raise a man and a woman?'" Carducci asked.
AARC, an association in existence since 1947 and currently more than 50,000 members strong, holds a very large, international, annual meeting, she said.
"New technology, research and more are displayed for all who attend to see and learn. There are lectures with more than 100 presenters from the U.S. and other countries, discussion groups, meetings and the exhibit hall with more than 900 vendors of respiratory products and services."
Carducci said she was an attendee, there to absorb as much knowledge as possible and see as many new products and services as her sensory overload could contain. While wandering through the maze of booths in the exhibit hall, she said she heard a voice calling her name.
"At first I disregarded the voice, believing my ears to be playing tricks on me," she said. "But I hear it again, and there is a tap on my shoulder. I turn to see a graduate of Eastern Gateway Community College addressing me. To my surprise, MaryBeth Marracino is standing at her exhibit booth that sells ventilators and wants to say hello to her prior professor."
Marracino, originally of Mingo Junction and now of Steubenville, works in sales for respiratory therapy products. Recently she was a clinical specialist with Flight Medical, but will start in a new position in this year with CareFusion, a medical company specializing in many areas. Her position will be technical sales consultant for Northeastern U.S. in the respiratory diagnostic division.
"What a joyous and enlightening time we shared," Carducci said. "The next day she is texting me that we have to attend a lecture together."
The presenter at that lecture was another graduate, Jim Wood, originally of Brilliant.
"MaryBeth and I were enthralled and made sure we had questions for him at the end of the presentation," Carducci said. Wood works as a clinical manager for Genesis Rehab Services in Kennett Square, Pa. In his role, he oversees the clinical practice for about 500 respiratory therapists within the organization. He is currently working to obtain his bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and administration and will graduate in May.
Noting that she believes Wood would agree with her, Marracino said that Carducci and fellow instructor Kathy Cruny "were an inspiration for us both and without either of you, we would never be in our current positions of our careers. I hold you both in a category of respiratory therapists that I admire and highly respect. Please continue to provide high quality-level education to the young therapists who come in your classrooms."
Marracino added, "I will be in touch so we can work together in educating your students in the latest technology in diagnostics."
"Needless to say I am seldom speechless," said Carducci, "but I am as I reflect on the opportunity given to me to attend the meeting, and the opportunities made possible in part by Eastern Gateway for two graduates of our Ohio Valley to be actively involved, I am indeed speechless. These graduates are examples of what can be done with a community college degree. As always, advancement and success rely on the hard work and perseverance of the individual, but I am glad Eastern Gateway was a rung on the ladder of success for these two graduates. Thank you to all who make the existence of Eastern Gateway possible for the growth of those who enter then exit the gates of this college."