Dr. James Furnary, a Johnstown physician and humanitarian, was honored Monday night at the 2007 Apollo Award event.

About 170 people attended the event, held at the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown.

Founded in 2001, the Apollo Awards honor doctors and their families from the Johnstown region for their civic contributions, said Mike Kane, executive director of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, one of the event’s sponsors.

“Dr. Furnary is one of those who has been involved in our community for a long time and is a very well-known and respected physician,” he said.

Kane said the event has grown to raise money for a scholarship for local medical students who express an interest in returning upon graduation to practice in the Johnstown region.

The Community Foundation – along with the other sponsors, the Cambria County Medical Society, Conemaugh Health System, Lee Initiatives and Windber Medical Center – have founded a program to provide $30,000 in scholarships for such students.

Kane said many towns, including Johnstown, are facing doctor shortages and the scholarship is a way to address the matter.

Dr. John Yerger, who accepted the award on behalf of Furnary, who couldn’t attend because of personal reasons, said his colleague and his colleague’s wife, Clare, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The pathologist from Easton, outside Allentown, said the words love, family and faith embody their lives together.

Those three words also describe how Furnary practiced medicine, he said.

“He loved medicine,” Yerger said. He loved the patients he was privileged to treat. His extended family were his colleagues, nurses, and hospital staff and the institutions he served.

“His faith guided him into numerous charitable organizations and activities, especially the local Birthright chapter that was founded by his wife Clare.”

The keynote speaker, Dr. John Lantos of Chicago and a Johnstown native, said the event honors Furnary for a distinguished career and as an advocate for the community, particularly the poor.

His speech was based on a popular televised medical show, “House, M.D.”

He said medicine now is at a crossroads.

He said there are many models of excellence, where there used to be few. Doctors can be excellent scientists, humanitarians and spiritual mentors, he said.

Lantos said that creates choices for doctors and patients. Doctors have to decide who they want to be and patients have to decide whom they want to care for them.

Trending Video

Recommended for you