Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Weathering the storm

March 2, 2006

Smallpox isn't something that the average person will face during a workday.

But after the anthrax scare several years ago that filled the media with bioterrorism frenzy, smallpox walked into Cindy McGuire's life.

When a man with strange, unidentifiable pockmarks was brought into the hospital's emergency room, McGuire, in charge of the hospital's public relations, outreach and marketing, had to weather the storm of panic that followed.

"We had to go into disaster mode. We had to isolate the E.R. Everybody who was in there had to stay in there," McGuire said. "The E.R. staff couldn't leave, (nor) the nurses, the doctors and the other patients in there."

Officials were even concerned that the infection might have spread to a group of volunteers outside the emergency room.

When the media caught wind of the potential story, waves of TV crews, newspaper reporters and phone calls from national news bigwigs flooded McGuire.

"It was kind of scary," McGuire said. "We had national media calling us. We had Dan Rather call, Peter Jennings. : It was a very weird day."

Luckily, smallpox was not the cause of the strange marks on the man in the E.R. But stress was high until the official word was released. McGuire only survived the day through the help of her boss Catherine Rice, who walked her through the process of dealing with the crisis.

"She did not get flustered," McGuire said. " I kind of took my cue from her and tried not to show that I was stressed out:or that I was totally terrified."

It was later that McGuire realized her nerves were not a sign of inexperience.

"We went out to dinner, we had a drink, and we went, 'Ah, we got through this.' And that's when I found out she was probably about as scared as I was," McGuire said. "I never would have guessed. Never in a million years."

Outside the hospital, McGuire is a mother of a college-aged son, active in many local organizations and is an avid baseball and football fan.

Name: Cindy McGuire

Address: 605 Fairlane

Occupation: marketing and volunteer services coordinator, Saint John Hospital

Graduate of: Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Marketing

Family: Son, Erik, age 20. He is attending Truman State University majoring in agricultural science

How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? 10 years - was transferred here with a previous job (J.C. Penney)

What do you like most about Lansing? Small community near a large city

What do you do for fun? Gardening, reading, watching sports

What would surprise people about you? I am only a second generation American - my grandparents (on my dad's side) came from Romania. My grandmother spoke a combination English-Yiddish-Romanian that most people would not understand.

What's the best advice you ever received? When J.C. Penney downsized, my manager told me, "everything happens for a reason." I believe this is true for me in all aspects of my life.

What organizations or clubs do you belong to? Lansing City Hall Expansion Committee; Leavenworth-Lansing Chamber of Commerce: Ambassador & Community Affairs Committee; Women's Division of Chamber - Board of Directors; Leavenworth County Development Corporation - Marketing Committee; Kansas City Healthcare Communicators Society; Volunteer Coordinators Council; Kansas City Area Directors of Volunteer Services; Non Profit Communicators Network

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