Vivian Knop named Citizen of the Year

Clinic manager: Knop strengthened city’s defenses against COVID-19

Vivian Knop displays her Citizen of the Year certificate at Cordova Community Medical Center. (Feb. 9, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Following a year in which health care workers played a central role, Cordova Community Medical Center Materials Manager Vivian Knop was selected as the Iceworm Festival Citizen of the Year.

“I got lured into work on my day off,” Knop said. “When I walked out and everybody started cheering and hollering and hooting, I didn’t really know what was going on! … I said to Dr. [Hannah] Sanders, ‘Never in a million years did I think my name would end up on a Citizen of the Year plaque.’”

Knop showed a similarly modest attitude in 2020, when she was selected for an Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association Quality and Patient Safety Award. Knop has also won recognition for her efforts to enrich the lives of CCMC’s long-term residents, many of whom have had limited contact with other people since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Knop’s projects to benefit long-term residents have included gathering Christmas stocking stuffers, setting up a lighted display of over 200 wooden snowmen, and organizing a campaign to have the public send Christmas cards to residents. Knop also organized the popular “Mim Tuff” bracelet fundraising campaign to defray the medical expenses of Mim Hodges, a friend of Knop’s who was diagnosed with cancer.

At times, Knop’s coworkers question why she would take on so many extra projects, on top of the complex and challenging work of planning and implementing Cordova’s coronavirus response.

“I need the distraction!” Knop said. “Anything that isn’t COVID, I need the distraction.”

Knop’s careful planning has helped CCMC to coordinate with health care providers in Cordova and around the state, and to avoid wasting resources, said Tamara Russin, CCMC’s clinic manager and director of ancillary services.

“There’s no way Cordova would have been as prepared as quickly as Cordova was without Vivian’s expert organizing and diligence,” Russin said. “She’s a lot of fun to work with. She expects a lot out of us, and I think that she makes us all better people for it … She always finds some way to keep it lighthearted and fun, even though she’s working super diligently.”

For Knop, the most rewarding part of 2020 was knowing that Cordovans appreciated the work their health care providers have done to keep them safe, she said. Thanks to the dedication of workers at CCMC, Ilanka Community Health Center, the city and elsewhere, Cordova has become a model of disaster preparedness for the state, she said.

“Cordova’s really a part of my heart, and making Cordova safe is important,” Knop said. “Some people in Cordova don’t have family, but we make family… It takes everybody in Cordova to make Cordova Cordova. Even if you don’t think you have a part in that, you do. Cordova’s a very unique place, and it takes care of itself.”