Love is in the Air at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

It wasn’t exactly a scene out of Grey’s Anatomy, but a love interest bloomed at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in 2017 between Cassie Kozarski and her now-husband, Jeff Kozarski, who are spending their second Valentine’s Day together as a married couple.

“On Valentine’s Day we are going out to dinner, I am hoping for some Red Lobster,” Cassie said with a laugh. “And then we’ll probably do what we love to do together –- stay home, relax, and spend time together watching television or playing video games.”

For Cassie, who said her favorite part about working in the Environmental Services department at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is making patients smile, it was Jeff who gave her an ear-to-ear grin and the two co-workers went from friends to newlyweds after three years of dating.

“For me the love spark happened when I realized that he was there for me no matter what,” said Cassie. “The one time I remember most is when I had to come to the Emergency Department for a really bad migraine. It was very late at night and I had to ride the bus after my second job to get to the hospital. I had absolutely no one that could come get me after so I asked Jeff if he could. He said yes and he showed up before I could tell him I was ready to leave. By the time he got me home and helped me inside it was one o’clock in the morning. Jeff did all this knowing he had to work in the morning and showed from the beginning –- even as friends –- that he would always be there.”

October 2022 will mark 20 years that Jeff has worked for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. He has a long history with the hospital as his father, Frank, worked in Dispatch, and his brother Kevin, currently works in the Linen department. As a part of the Environmental Services team, Jeff picks up all biohazard materials — sharps, pharmaceutical waste, and the recycling. He loves interacting with other colleagues and meeting lots of people so naturally, he wasn’t surprised that he met his wife at a place that holds so much history.  

“We would hang out together because we worked in the same department for a few years before we started dating and would often run into each other during the workday,” said Jeff. “The love really sparked when I was telling Cassie about the solar eclipse in 2017 across the United States. I’m an amateur astronomer and I was showing her the map of where the path of total eclipse would occur. It just so happens that it would occur right over her parents’ house in the state of Wyoming. Since then, things just ‘lined up’ like the sun and moon you could say.”

Jeff and Cassie Kozarski were married in September of 2020

The Kozarski’s were married in September of 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and have worked hard to keep hospital operations going. Jeff said he and Cassie’s schedules keep them busy, so they only see each other occasionally on breaks or while walking out after their shift.

“You’d think that you wouldn’t want to work with your spouse. But I don’t mind at all,” said Jeff.

Director of Environmental Services, Mike Blizzard, said you can often catch the two walking to the parking lot together and holding hands at the end of their shift.

“They come to work together laughing and smiling and end their shift the same way. Even though they are married their relationship doesn’t affect their work,” said Blizzard. “Jeff will do anything that is needed, and his time here will tell you how dedicated he is to helping patients at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Cassie is a good worker and has great sense of humor. She stops by my office almost every day to tell me a new joke. She always tries to keep the mood light and bring some positive energy to work every day. Their personalities fit each other well.”

The Kozarski’ s have a unique story to tell having met at work and building a love story within its walls. With almost 30 years of service to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s between them, they hope to continue to grow together both in and outside of the hospital.

“Mercy Health Saint Mary’s will always be special to us,” said Cassie. “It will be fun to tell our children and great-grandchildren how we met and came to be together.”

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