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Group honors busy HCC alumna

May 26, 2003|By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

As Andrea Garnand moves through her very active life, she rarely has time to dwell on her roles as a health-care professional, a missionary and a member of a rescue company crew, not to mention wife and mother.

But recently the Hagers-town Community College Alumni Association slowed her down just long enough to honor her with the 2003 HCC Alumni Community Citation award, given each year to a 15-year graduate who has contributed outstanding volunteer service to the community.

"Attending HCC was a very valuable and well-rounded experience for me," Garnand recalled as she went through her paces recently as radiation therapy technical supervisor at the John R. Marsh Cancer Center at the Robinwood Medical Center campus.

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She earned her HCC associate's degree in radiologic technology in 1988 after two years of study on campus and clinical work at Washington County Hospital. Garnand, 34, then went on to Gwynedd-Mercy College in Pennsylvania, where she received a certificate in radiation therapy.

"My job here was waiting for me after graduation," Garnand said. "They even helped me with room and board while I was studying."

Three years ago, Garnand became supervisor over five staff members in the 28-person department.

People who are undergoing cancer radiation treatment are seen at the Marsh Cancer Center. Garnand and the others spend their days seeing to the needs of these patients and their families as they go through daily treatments for weeks at a time.

"We have the opportunity to brighten their day," Garnand said. "This could be a very tragic place for them and their families to come to but we try to ease that."

In addition to staff support, there are pamphlets, tapes and Internet access, as well as books, in the center's extensive library for use by patients and their families, Garnand said.

While her professional career is very fulfilling, Garnand is hardly idle when she is not at work. In addition to her job, she is wife to Dan Garnand, a Hagerstown professional firefighter, and mother to 5-year-old Seth. Completing their family is Mark, her husband's 14-year-old son.

Garnand and her husband both serve the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Department, harkening back to how they first met.

"He used to run with another ambulance company and we met through that eight years ago," Garnand said.

A native of Westernport, Md., Garnand said she heard about HCC - then Hagerstown Junior College - when she was a student at Bruce High School. "I'd always been interested in sports medicine, so this field seemed the way for me to go," she said.

In choosing Garnand for the honor, HCC's alumni group also cited her volunteer work with the local Cancer Survivors' Day picnic, the March of Dimes, Smithsburg Valley and Teddy Bear day-care centers, and with Old Forge Elementary and Smithsburg Middle schools.

Her primary volunteer focus though is with her church, Bethel Assembly of God, Garnand said. As a youth ministry leader, Garnand has led the youth group on mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Aruba.

"We took groups of 40 to 50 kids on each of those trips," Garnand said. In each case, the mission was to minister to the children in those countries' poorest areas.

Now that she has a family of her own, Garnand is centering her church activities a little closer to home. She still works with the choir, is a Sunday school teacher, and a member of the praise and worship band at Bethel.

Garnand received her award at the May 15 commencement exercises at HCC.

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