Marilyn Polito

Honored by:Sara Markley
Brick location:K:19  map

Honored by: Tom Polito, Matt Polito, Carl Markley, Grace Markley, and Sara Markley

Marilyn grew up a farm girl and the oldest of seven children in SE Iowa. Upon graduation from high school, she continued her education at Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Burlington, Iowa completing her diploma in May of 1973. Her first job was as an Intensive Car Unit (ICU) nurse at Memorial Hospital in Burlington.

In 1974, Marilyn married Tom Polito. They moved to Ames where she began her first tour at Mary Greeley Medical Center as an ICU/CCU nurse. In 1976 and 1977, she worked at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa Regional Hospital respectively, as an ICU nurse. It was after her return to Mary Greeley Medical Center in 1978 that Marilyn began expanding her job titles and responsibilites. During her second (32 year) tour at Mary Greeley, Marilyn worked as a staff nurse, a nursing supervisor, a house manager, a patient care coordinator, and a director in the Intensive Care Unit, Critical Care Unity, Short Stay Unit (twice), PAR, Emergency Department (twice), Mobile Intensive Care Service, Gastrointestinal Unit, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Emergerncy Management, Hospital Security, and surgical floor.

Despite 24/7 responsibility most of her career, Marilyn found time to continue her education. She was among the Iowa nursing pioneers to be a Certified Critical Care Nurse, as well as the first at Mary Greeley to be certified in Emergency Nursing. She completed her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from the Chamberlain/Deaconness College of Nursing.

A small sample of Marilyn's diverse responsibilities beyond her daily duties included being a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team Steering Committee; participating in the Ames Fire Department local emergency planning and hazmat education, as well as the City of Ames disaster planning and school emergency planning. Marilyn has served on the Nurse Day and Emergency Medical Service Week Recognition Committees and has been a Sidles Scholarship Committee member. Marilyn authored a grant that was awarded by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Economic Development focused on recruiting and retaining Emergency Medical Service volunteers for Story County. She has also been chair of the Story County EMS Advisory Committee. Marilyn has served as both a Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor and instructor trainer and has lectured with the Mercy School of EMS on hospital based ambulanec services. She was a member of the bioterrorism planning committee, the secretary/treasurer of teh Central Iowa Emergency Nurses Association and a Red Cross Disaster Services Board Chair.

In the summer of 2006, Marilyn was instrumental in coordinating a Summer of Service, which included planning for both the Iowa Games and the National Special Olympics. Special Olympics is a particular passion for her as evidenced by her continuous service as a medical coordinator and volunteer at the Iowa Special Olympics.

Marilyn's dedication to her patients, her peers, her profession, and her community has been recognized in many ways. These recognitions range from simple but heartfelt thank yous to commendations from both the Iowa and National Special Olympics Committees, including 2010 Iowa Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year Award. She was recognized as one of Iowa's 100 Great Nurses, received Mary Greeley's Excellence and Innovation Award, and was awarded the Patriotic Employer recognition from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves.

Outside of her employment activities, Marilyn has served her community, her church, and her family. She has served on the Story County Red Cross Board and Ames Partner City Association. She chaired the Gilbert Schools' Music Boosters, and Saint Cecilia Church's Family Life Committee. She is the head chef at her church's annual Sedar Suppoer, where church members continuall ask for her lamb recipe. Marilyn is a caring and dedicated wife and mother. She has also become very accustomed to her latest role as a loving grandmother. Marilyn's professionalism, community service, and her love of learning are just a few of the things that define her legacy.