A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a mentor, a health care giver, a golfer and devoted to a life of helping others, Vince Messina left behind an irrevocable legacy of love, laughter and healing.
The Vincent A. Messina Memorial Scholarship Fund, created in loving memory of Vince who passed away on July 18, 2013, preserves his benevolent legacy by providing scholarships to students enrolled in the WCA Hospital School of Radiologic Technology. Vince was very proud to distinguish himself as a graduate of the first class of the radiology school in 1969.
VINCE LOVED LIFE
Vince Messina shares a celebration moment with co-workers after receiving the prestigious CT Accreditation from the American College of Radiology. From left, Lyndon Gritters, MD, board-certified radiologist on staff at WCA Hospital and Radiology Chairman; Tammara Hodges, WCA Director of Imaging Services; Tom Anderson, CT/Special Procedures Technologist; Donna Hiller, CT/Special Procedures Technologist; Janet Larsen, Sr. Staff Radiologic Technologist QA/QC; Gail Borst, Radiology R.N.; Donald Lunz, CT/Special Procedures Technologist; Scott Johnson, CT/Special Procedures Technologist; and Vince Messina, Sr. Staff Technologist CT/Special Procedures.
Pictured above, attending a baseball game, are: Kathy and Vince Messina with grandson Anthony and granddaughter Sophia. Below, celebrating the Memorial Day holiday together are, from left: Michelle, daughter-in-law; Anthony, grandson; Sophia, granddaughter; Lucy, granddaughter; Lori, daughter-in-law. In back, Andy, son; Vince; Kathy, wife; and Marty, son.
"Growing up on Franklin Street as a child, I do not believe Vince could have ever imagined what a wonderful life laid before him," said his wife of 42 years, Kathy (Raineir) Messina. "His life legacy included so many amazing experiences and accomplishments that a kid raised on Franklin Street in Jamestown could have only dreamt about. The one constant thread that rings through and through when anyone speaks of my husband is that he loved life. People will tell me time and time again, his smile lit up a room. He loved to go out with friends and family and he took great pleasure and enthusiasm in organizing fun social gatherings."
VINCE LOVED HIS WORK,
Retired from WCA Hospital in 2013 after spending more than 35 years of his career serving as a senior radiologic technologist in the Radiology Department, Vince's friends, physicians, and co-workers alike say he took enormous pride and gratification in his job and caring for his patients.
"He was an excellent caregiver and an easygoing and good-natured mentor who really took the time to listen and help," Kathy said as she reminisced of his days at WCA. "I would kid around with him that he could teach a stranger how to learn something new in an instant. He was just that good at it. He had a special fondness for the students at the school as he was one of the first graduates of the radiology program.
"People whom I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting come up to me and tell stories of how Vince was always there to support them through their struggles both at school and on the job. I recall a time when a student colleague of Vince's said she would not have graduated from the school if it were not for his encouragement and mentoring. She explained that he spent hours and hours exclusively with her outside of school to assist her through her studies. To this day, she insists that Vince changed her life for the better," she said.
Karen Johnson, a long-time colleague and friend of Vince, speaks highly of his compassion for others. "He treated everyone just like family," said Karen. "We would share each other's trials and triumphs and I felt like I knew his family well. Vince would ask our advice on birthday or Christmas gifts for his wife, Kathy, and I remember a conversation when he didn't simply stop by the store and buy a card for his wife, but rather hand wrote a personal message to her. I am convinced that Kathy treasurers that letter to this day."
His co-workers say in addition to Vince's love of his family, he was genuinely interested and concerned about their lives as well. "He gave our staff a lot of great advice on raising our children over the many hours of working together," chuckles Karen. "He was forever finding something wonderful to celebrate in our lives. Whether the subject was sports, politics, cars, vacations, relationships, food or a just a new restaurant to try out on the weekend, Vince connected with every person in his work group. He wasn't afraid to share his experiences and advice both good and bad and more often than not, he was right on the money. He is truly missed in our daily lives."
His sons Marty and Andy echo their Mother's tribute.
"My Dad was a great and loyal employee at WCA," said Marty. "He had a kindred relationship with every person and every patient he met at the hospital. He spoke to everyone who crossed his path. Whenever his kids and grandchildren visited my Dad at work, they were treated like celebrities. To this day, the phrase, 'Vince is my Dad,' is a golden ticket to many wonderful stories of his great care that still pervade throughout the hallways of WCA. I remember chats with his friends or community members who would say they traveled to another area for their care. My Dad would quickly interrupt the conversation to voice his belief that there just wasn't a better place to be cared for than WCA."
Vince was exceedingly passionate about helping people-especially those who needed a helping hand. Family, friends and colleagues say he was an ordinary man who displayed extraordinary generosity. His lifelong partner, wife and best friend, Kathy, reminisces about the time that Vince befriended a young patient receiving dialysis treatment at WCA Hospital. "The young boy would walk past the CT Department several times a week before his dialysis and Vince and his staff made friends with him," said Kathy. "That Christmas season, I recall distinctly, the staff purchased a new pair of shoes, shirts and special holiday gifts to show how much they cared. Vince was always concerned about the welfare of his patients and those who needed a helping hand."
ACCOMPLISHMENT: HIS FAMILY
For the family Vince left behind, they are saddened by his sudden absence. "I believe our paths are already destined," said Kathy. "Every step in life has its place in life's history. Sitting here, reflecting on Vince's legacy, I realize more than ever from all of the beautiful and tender cards, letters and phone calls that I've received since his passing, that he was a healer that touched the hearts of many with fond memories of the love that he radiated where ever he traveled in life. He brought a light-heartedness to an otherwise serious business of healthcare. He was a devoted and loving husband and dad and he worshipped the lives of our grandchildren as 'PaPa'," his wife continued, thinking of the family Vince left behind who are saddened by his sudden absence. "The proudest and greatest moments in his life were as a grandfather playing peek-a-boo with Lucy or attending one of Anthony's hockey games or merely sitting quietly observing Sophia's every move during one of her dance recitals.
"As I recall all of the wonderful moments of his life, I realize what a huge impact he had on the lives of many. He always inspired our family to be better than him, but now I understand he was perfect just the way he was. His tender spirit lives on and every night when I place my head on my pillow, I say good night and silently acknowledge my ever-lasting love for him, comforted by the thought that his presence will continue to touch our community through his endowment fund that will live on to serve the needs of others-just as Vince would have wished for."
VINCE MESSINA LEGACY
The Vincent A. Messina Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in the WCA Foundation by his wife, Kathy, and WCA Hospital employees who worked alongside Vince in Radiology. This endowment fund will provide scholarship funding for students enrolled in the WCA Hospital School of Radiologic Technology.
To reinforce Vince's love for the game of golf and to pay special tribute to him, friends and co-workers joined together to create the inaugural Vince Messina Memorial Golf Tournament. If you've been touched by Vince Messina's legacy, please join the WCA Family on Saturday, May 31, at Conewango Valley Country Club in Warren, Pa., and help grow the Vincent A. Messina Memorial Scholarship Fund at the WCA Foundation.
The golf outing is a four-person scramble (net handicap format). To register, contact Joe Bellitto at 483-7775 or visit www.wcahospital.org. A dinner buffet will be held following the tournament at 6 p.m. that evening. To reserve a dinner ticket ($30.00 each), call the WCA Office of Development at 664-8423.
For sponsorship opportunities or to make a donation to the cause, contact Jim Pullan, committee chair at 665-2247 or Karl Sisson, WCA Director of Development, at 664-8423. To learn more about this endowed Scholarship Fund, contact Brigetta Overcash, WCA Foundation executive director at 664-8600.