St. Charles dentist Dr. John Mason receives Barth Award

You might say Dr. John Mason was a quick study upon his arrival in St. Charles in 1987 when adding his name to the dental practice of Dr. John Dickens on the east side of the city.

He absorbed a lesson he knew he was cut out for, in learning about the various organizations and causes throughout the area that needed volunteers.



Mason credits former TriCity Family Services board president Pat Crull with giving him an idea of how the agency operated and how area volunteers helped various organizations.

“She encouraged me to get involved (with the agency), and that relationship started in the 1990s and continues to this day,” Mason said.

Mason has carried that love of helping others to this moment, and it has earned him TriCity Family Services’ 36th annual William D. Barth Award for community service.

“The description of the Barth Award and its focus on community giving is meaningful, and I recognize many recipients with whom I have much respect,” Mason said during a virtual recognition announcement Wednesday night. “Personally, I understand to be recognized in this way, there is a supporting cast of mentors and advocates. My parents and grandparents were exceptional mentors, and I witnessed their giving hands in all areas of community giving.”

Mason came to St. Charles after completing his dental degree at Northwestern University and a residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. In the past 33 years, he has compiled an impressive list of community commitments — the American Cancer Society, Bunco for Breast Cancer, Dentist with a Heart, Feed My Starving Children, Hands of Hope board, Knights of Columbus, Lazarus House, and Living Well Center. In addition, he’s been involved in St. Pat’s Emerald Evening, the St. Charles East Kick-a-Thon, Special Olympics, St. Charles Makes a Difference, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, St. Charles Education Foundation and being a TCFS board member.



He has also provided free dental services to patients at the Tri City Health Partnership. Kim Lamansky, executive director of Tri City Health Partnership, nominated Mason for the Barth honor.

“Almost every day, I meet someone who is very giving in what they do, and it is an inspiration,” Mason said. “The relationships I have developed through TriCity Family Services, Lazarus House and Tri City Health Partnership has nurtured friendships and sincere advocates.”

Those advocates throughout the years “have been instrumental, I know, in this award coming my way,” Mason added. “It is with deep thanks to all of you, I accept the award and sincerely appreciate it.”

To the coach:

When starting a journalism career as a prep sports writer, you have to rely on athletic directors and coaches to cooperate and provide insight that can help the rest of your career.



I was lucky to have that in the Tri-Cities area, and that’s why it’s always sad to see

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Costco employees save dentist who collapsed in Mason store

MASON, Ohio — Dr. Rick Silverman was enjoying a September afternoon off with his wife browsing the electronics department at the Mason Costco store, when tragedy suddenly struck.

“We were walking down the aisle, something caught my eye and then my eyes went dark,” he said.

Silverman, a 55-year-old husband, father and oral surgeon, collapsed in the middle of the store in full cardiac arrest.

Thankfully there were two Costco employees close by who jumped into action so Silverman’s story could be rewritten from one of tragedy to one of survival.

JT Shlotman, who works Costco security, and optometrist Rhonda Baria are two of three Mason Costco employees who are training in CPR. They’re always scheduled to work during the same shift, so when they realized Silverman was in trouble, they grabbed a nearby defibrillator and got to work. Baria had already started chest compressions when Shlotman arrived.

“I noticed her kind of tire a little bit,” Shlotman said. “Someone brought me the AED, got it all set up. Rhonda put the pads on.”

In that moment, Baria said she was determined to do everything she could to save Silverman.

“Just having his wife right there with me the whole time, and I thought I’m not gonna see this go wrong,” Baria said.

Silverman’s wife said she was grateful for the Costco employees, who acted as a polished, well-oiled machine to save her husband’s life.

Silverman now has a machine implanted in his heart that acts like the tiny version of a defibrillator to keep it going. He said medics told him it was the employees’ quick thinking and the use of the AED that ultimately saved his life.

“If they didn’t react with the timing they did and know to use it immediately, I might not be here. I would not be here.” he said. “I feel like I met my guardian angels.”

Silverman and his wife reunited with the employees inside the Costco warehouse and exchanged thank you gifts and socially-distant foot-bumps instead of hugs because of COVID-19.

Silverman joked about Baria being the “one that was on top of him” during the life-saving moments in the store. But joking aside, it’s clear that everyone involved has been changed by what happened, including the employees that stepped in to help.

“I’ve met a few of his patients, his brother.” Shlotman said. “It’s emotional, you don’t really think about it at the time.”

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