Cherokee Uniforms recognizes outstanding healthcare professionals as winners of the 10th Annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award
The 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award honors five healthcare professionals who have impacted the lives of others through extraordinary care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award further recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy.
“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize distinctive healthcare professionals who not only are models for providing exceptional patient care, but who also influence and motivate their peers, and sometimes even entire communities,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are very proud to honor all of those serving in these critical, often life-saving, professions who combine dedication, intelligence, skill and compassion to benefit thousands of patients every day.”
From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.
The 2012 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award winners include:
Registered Nurses (RNs):
Grand Prize Winner – Linda Wyman-Collins, RN, Medical Center of Lewisville, Lewisville, TX
A clinician, lobbyist, educator, community activist and volunteer, Linda has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others in an area of medicine very personal to her — hemophilia. Linda’s passion and commitment to educating the community and healthcare professionals about bleeding disorders is seen through the legislation, education and awareness efforts she has championed. Her dedication to this cause, a condition that she lives with, is exemplified by opting to work the night shift in order to volunteer countless hours (over 1,000 in 2011) during the day, including lobbying for funding for hemophilia treatment centers in the US. Among her many notable achievements, she successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature for the reestablishment of the Texas Bleeding Disorders Advisory Council, which advises government entities on key data and outcomes.
Top National Winner – Jill Zuleg, RN, Edward Hospital, Naperville, IL
Jill Zuleg has taken her experience of the ultimate tragedy – the loss of a child – and turned it into a program that honors her son by helping others going through the unthinkable, selfless decision of donating a loved one’s organs. When her son Kyle was tragically killed by a falling tree limb, Jill and her husband opted to donate his organs to give the gift of life to five recipients. The long process of keeping Kyle on life support while matches for organs were found was extremely difficult emotionally. To support other grieving families going through this process, the Zulegs established the Kyle Zuleg Foundation. The Foundation, in partnership with the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, provides comfort in the form of warm blankets and gift baskets as families spend final long hours at the bedside of their loved one. The blanket design includes the words “Forever in Our Hearts.” Jill’s hope is that the blankets provide a tangible sign of appreciation for the incredible gift of organ donation. Jill has also created the Kyle Zuleg Foundation Annual Scholarship, which is offered to high school seniors who will major in the same field that Kyle intended.
National Winner – Barbianne Davis, RN, Heritage Valley Health System, Ambridge State, PA
Home late from an evening shift, Barbianne heard about a large apartment fire in her town and set off at midnight to help – her nursing license and certifications in hand. Alongside the firefighters and the Red Cross, Barbianne was a first responder. Until almost dawn, she triaged and monitored residents and firefighters exiting the building; nine residents and three firefighters were treated at local hospitals. The next day Barbianne proactively worked with the Red Cross, advocating for and personally helping these newly homeless people to find shelter, all while mobilizing a team of individuals and churches to raise money for hotel rooms and gift cards for affected families. Barbianne continued her follow up for weeks until each family she had been working with received appropriate resources and housing. As a result of her efforts, the county began “Beaver County On-Call,” a program bringing 16 groups and churches together who have pledged to pay for at least a week at local motels for those displaced due to a natural disaster.
Licensed Practical Nurses/ Licensed Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVNs):
Grand Prize Winner – Sergeant Major Michael Robinson, LPN, Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, Kalamazoo, MI
Michael has led and directed fellow military colleagues in training and tactical maneuvers throughout his military career, promoting excellence and demonstrating that which he asks from others. As a planner of the military agenda portion of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN) annual convention, Michael was the first military nurse to integrate a military agenda into a national nursing organization’s conference. As part of the 500 hours of volunteer work per year he devotes to the convention, he planned “The Mystic Warriors Competition” for military nurses. Michael’s idea incorporated this Army competition into the NFLPN so that military nurses could receive credit for both civilian and military certifications for the first time. The convention attracted military LPNs from as far away as Germany, and between 75 and 100 military LPNs benefit from this added exercise annually. Michael also lectures nationally for end-of-life care for veterans and was the 2011 recipient of the Lillian Kuster Award, the highest honor bestowed on an LPN.
Top National Winner – Korinne Ashlock, LPN, Banner Estrella Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
Korinne, who works in the oncology unit of Banner Estrella, had a young, Hispanic patient with leukemia who was unable to find a bone marrow match among his family. Korinne helped organize and execute the first bone marrow drive at the hospital, resulting in the largest turnout in the state that year with more than 700 people, including many Hispanics, responding. As a result of the drive, her patient and seven others received a match and subsequent bone marrow transplants. Korinne also stayed with the young man throughout his transplant and rushed to his side from her vacation when he became ill, supporting him and his family during his final hours. Her connection to the young man and the impact he had on the bone marrow drive inspired her to form a team in his name and raise $12,000 for Light the Night, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s walk, in 2010 and $8,000 in 2011. She did all of this while providing exemplary and passionate care for her patients and raising four children, including three-year-old triplets.
The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award. The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing school, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Inspired Comfort Award recipients.
The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US. All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.
Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships., Twitter @InspiredComfort or Facebook.com/cherokeeuniforms. The 2013 award nomination period opens on April 2nd. Healthcare professionals and students enrolled in nursing schools may be nominated on inspiredcomfort.com or on paper nomination forms available at Cherokee Uniforms retailers across the US.
2012 Award Recipients