ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A registered nurse at Arnot Ogden Medical Center was honored Monday night after winning the “Frontline Clinical Nurse of the Year” Award from Press Ganey, a healthcare company that specializes in patient satisfaction surveys.

Patrick Perl was greeted with confetti and applause as he arrived for his night shift. Perl worked in Arnot’s COVID-19 Unit during the pandemic. When family members could not visit their loved ones, Perl created the “Shine the Light, Share the Light” program. He started decorating patient’s rooms with holiday lights to lift up their spirits and give them hope.

“I didn’t do this for any accolades, I didn’t do it for any award. I did it because our patients were suffering from loneliness, and I just felt this is a way, a small way we could help that.” said Perl. “It doesn’t take a lot to impact somebody’s life, holding a hand, a hug, even a string of Christmas lights in somebody’s room.”

Laura Frank is a Unit Director at Arnot Ogden Medical Center and Perl’s supervisor. “He not only uplifts the patients, but he uplifts the staff too. He’s one of the reasons why we all got through COVID. We all kind of took turns lifting each other up, but he always found something positive, every shift that he works”. Frank said. “He is one of the best nurses I have ever worked with and I’ve been a nurse since 1983.”

Mayor Dan Mandell also attended the celebration. Mayor Mandell read a proclamation stating that from now on, February 14th in Elmira will be known as “Patrick Perl Day.”