Bill Legere

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Cherokee recognizes the selfish giving of so many health care workers. William Legere is one of those individuals who deserves to be recognized for his contribution to society, especially to the young and helpless of the word at large. June 2, 2008 brought great tragedy to the Leger family when their daughter Grace, was hit while riding in a horse cart. Grace died and her

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sister and her friend were also seriously injured at the time. This was a pivotal moment in Bill’s life. Bill had always practiced holistic medicine in all his roles, this event encouraged him to reach across the world to place his hands on the less fortunate among us.

Bill started his healthcare career as a unit secretary in 1993, obtained his registered nurse license and ended up as a nurse practitioner in 2001. Throughout his medical journey Bill was the consummate patient advocate. After the death of his daughter Grace, he became more of an activist for the rights of children here and abroad. Bill takes volunteerism to the extreme and he encourages others to join in the effort. Developing a 501(c)3 organization called The Foundation for Hope and Grace, Bill is reaching across the continent to help children in need. His site claims, “We fight because we believe that every child deserves hope” . Having adopted five children, Bill and his wife Teresa, live up to their vision “To rescue, protect and restore hope in the lives of thousands of people”. Bill works tirelessly to support what he feels every child needs, hope and grace. Please visit the foundation on line to read more about Bills life journey, In April of 2012 Bill traveled to Ecuador and worked closely with Interslud, trying to reach children who have been forced to manual labor by organized drug rings. Bill also helped to fund the building of a school in Ecuador, which has begun to support itself, as planned by Bill and the founders of this program.. Bill’s wish is to get children off the streets and into schools and teach them all the skills they need to succeed in life. A future goal of the foundation is to provide scholarships to the at-risk kids so that they can go to the school aptly named Jericho School. Fifty-five children attend and the goal is to increase this.

Here in Maine Bill works closely with law enforcement to try to stop human trafficking, another cruel exploitation of children. Bill works with the police department in Lewiston and Auburn and has hosted educational opportunities in the community to enlighten everyone that human trafficking is here and we need to deal with it. Although there isn’t much data about human trafficking; these cities have identified 600-800 at risk youth who, because of their situations (homelessness and addiction) would be easy targets to predators.

He works tirelessly to make advances in the foster care systems by involving local churches and educating on the needs of the orphaned children waiting for adoption. Bill supported the first adoption grants through the foundation to support local families in the adoption process. Infertility issues prompted Bill and Teresa to pursue adoption and now they share that gift of knowledge and the process with others.

At CMMC we have banners of all the exceptional caregivers of the hospital and the one featuring Bills picture greets all the visitors and patients at our entrance. Bill believes that we all need justice, mercy and humility. Bill travels across the world and the state to reach all of those in need. His goal is to not stop and encouraging others to join him and his family and friends to make the world a safer place. His ongoing daily work and dedication to leaving a footprint on the world that protects and provides for the children who need it the most make him the Cherokee Caregiver of the year!

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Romeatrius Moss


Captain Romeatrius Nicole Moss is the Health Care Integrator at the 1st Special Operations Medical Group, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, Florida. She is responsible for ensuring Department of Defense beneficiaries receive timely, appropriate, cost effective, quality, and coordinated care to affect desired clinical outcomes utilizing the major components of Population Health Disease Management. Capt Moss oversees patients’ clinical condition, self-care efforts, reducing unnecessary healthcare costs and enhancing patients’ quality of life via protocol-based clinical practice guidelines. Capt Moss is the Air Force representative for the DoD VA joint venture subject matter expect for the creation of a joint service electronic health record. She attends virtual monthly meetings to Washington, DC develop the electronic health record for all branches of the military, a congressional approved committee. She is also the Deputy consultant to the United States Air Force Surgeon General, the youngest, but most impressive ever to hold this position. Capt Moss develops and implements programs for patients with chronic disease and runs a Hypertension and Diabetic Clinic as well as tracks trends/reports to and devises/implement solutions. She runs a monthly Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Workshop in collaboration with the Health and Wellness Center on the military installation, which reaches the active and retired military populations. She has held a variety of positions including staff nurse, clinical nurse, nurse manager, element leader, and sickle cell nurse coordinator. Dr. Romeatrius Moss is the founder and is currently the Executive Director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Black Nurse Association Inc., whose mission is to decrease health disparities by providing a forum for collective action by nurses to assess, define, and advocate healthcare needs of the coastal community through innovative education, cultural competent outreach programs and services. She is also, the Founder and Unit Director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Medical Reserve Corps, whose mission is to serve and prepare the community for natural disasters and/or emergencies, where there are currently 105 active members that are highly community service focused.

She has the unique ability to inspire and encourage health care professionals to take ownership of their community and use their skills and knowledge to combat the gap in health care disparities. Since the time Dr. Moss founded MGCBNA, she has inspired and mentored over 500 nurses and reached over 200,000 coastal residents. She has created and implemented over 20 programs for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Black Nurse Association. Her work in HIV /AIDS prevention is to be noted. Romeatrius has created 4 programs around HIV/AIDS prevention and Teen Pregnancy reduction ranging from programs she implemented for 4th -11th grade female African American students.

She is District IX coalition leader for Mississippians Mobilizing against Diabetes, appointed by the Mississippi State Department of Health; she looks at infrastructure for diabetes assessment, intervention, and evaluation activities at the local level. While serving on this coalition, she started a Congregational Health Nurse Ministry and obtained funding to train and certify 6 nurses in Congregational Health Ministries, she wrote a grant that provided office supplies /equipment and medical screening tools for those six coastal nurses to start health ministries within their prospective churches.
In conclusion, the utmost attribute I would use to describe for Dr. (Capt) Romeatrius Moss is dedication. Once Capt Moss was tasked for a new location assignment within the Air Force, she put in a request to stay near the coastal area. Her request was accepted and she was assigned 160 miles away in the state of Florida. Capt Moss continues to dedicate her Saturdays to the Coastal area, returning to participate in programs, health fairs, and meetings. She is always available by phone, email, attends general meetings via teleconference, writes grants and contracts, and still handles the business of MGCBNA and the Medical Reserve Corps from her home office. This unpaid Executive Director and Unit

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Coordinator passion for helping building capacity for nurses is amazing. Without her impact on the coast, many nurses and health care professionals would not be able to provide the services needed to reach vulnerable populations as a volunteer. She has create an organization that support growth for nurses with resumes writing workshops, mentorship programs, board development sessions, leadership workshops, and journal clubs. She encourages nurses to bring their passions to the organization and create programs, publish articles, and provide opportunities for nurses

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to write grants to address health issues within their communities. She is an outstanding officer, nurse, and advocate for the community.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Joe Grier


Joe Grier is a very special volunteer at Alegent Creighton Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Joe has faithfully volunteered every Wednesday afternoon for almost two years as a “Volunteer Companion” on our PINS Unit (Post Intensive Care Unit). The role of a Volunteer Companion is to provide a pleasant distraction and thereby reduce anxiety in our elderly patients that have no family/visitors, and/or are suffering from dementia. Besides providing patients the healing virtues of companionship, Joe’s presence also benefits the nurses, because these challenging patients won’t be constantly pushing the call light buttons because they are lonely due to time passing so slowly.

Volunteer Companions are scheduled in the afternoons and evenings, as this is the time of day when elderly dementia patients become more anxious and agitated, a phenomena called “sundowners syndrome.” In our Metropolitan area, Bergan serves a disproportionately large percentage of elderly patients, so there are always patients needing Joe’s special touch.

A little history on Joe: he (almost 2 years ago) and I (a little over 3 years ago) both came from another local hospital, Creighton University Medical Center, which during the last year became part of our Alegent Creighton Health “family” of system hospitals. I managed volunteers there for over 20 years: Joe started volunteering there many years ago as an EME (Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist), passing out communion to patients every Monday afternoon, something that he continues to do today in addition to his service at Bergan on Wednesdays. So we have quite a history and I tease Joe that he “followed” me to Bergan!

What is so inspirational and above-and-beyond about Joe? Nearly all of the patients Joe visits are younger than he is! Joe just turned 90 years old in June! Although this white-haired, gentle-spoken, spiritual widower walks with a cane, he has had a personal trainer as long as I’ve known him and works out several times a week, and often walks home after his volunteer shift at Bergan. When I first met Joe, he was taking a very challenging course to learn Spanish (I think he was in his early 80s at the time!). Because our patient population has become so diverse, this skill has come in handy and he has surprised and delighted many a patient and family member by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and other prayers in Spanish with those who have limited or no English. On top of that, Joe has a deep affection, respect and appreciation for the Native American culture, and has even recited the Lord’s Prayer in Lakota with some of our patients!

Our Bergan nurses just love Joe, and he delights not only our patients, families, visitors and staff on the nursing unit, but he spreads his special

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kind of magic everywhere in the hospital. I just learned something new about Joe yesterday: he is a poet! He shared with me he saw a mother and young child about two years old in our cafeteria, and was just mesmerized by the energy of the little one. He gave the mother a poem he had written called “A Two Year Old” (he had just written in April). He had it typed on a small 2”x2” paper (I also now have one in my office). Joe is observant, sensitive to people’s needs, is a lifelong learner, and possesses a calm joy and zest for life (evidenced by a twinkle in his eye).

Yesterday, Joe told me that he is frequently asked, “What is your secret?” He seemed surprised that people would ask, because he doesn’t see himself or what he does as terribly remarkable. (He is such a humble man.) I asked, “Well, what did you tell them?” Joe tilted his head, looked thoughtfully into the sky, and said, “I’m not afraid to love.”

There is no one more deserving of the 2013 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award than Joe Grier. Thank you for your consideration.

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Maggie Knight

Maggie is a senior nursing student at Stony Brook. She is compassionate, empathetic, high energy and gives 110% to everyone. She is president of Seawolves Against Cancer, a student organization that raises funds and participates in community outreach projects here at the Cancer Center (Between 2012 and 2013 she dedicated 175 hours to this cause). She organized the nursing students to Adopt a Family for the Holidays and they raised over $700 to buy Christmas gifts for a cancer patient, his wife and children. She co-chaired the 2012 Relay for Life (Between 2012 and 2013 she dedicated 80 hours to this cause). She was one of the co-chairs of the Bone Marrow Registry (She dedicated 80-100 hours in 2012). She has committed to bicycling 4000 miles this summer from Baltimore to San Diego in the Ullman Fund 4K for Cancer and to raise $6500 personally. She volunteers at the Cancer Center, for the

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ACS Sunrise Fund and anything else we ask of Maggie.

Each year LiveSTRONG gives out a few grants for different projects across the county, and one this year being a $10,000 grant for colleges to start Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a non-profit

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organization which is geared towards helping children who have been affected by a parent or guardian’s cancer diagnosis by giving them a week in the summer for fun and support. Maggie got a few student leaders interested in pursuing Camp Kesem and created a proposal to gain the school’s support, had meetings with several offices on campus, and eventually applied and advertised within the community to win the grant. In order to win the criteria was: 1) have your camp application accepted by LiveSTRONG, 2) get your school and community to support you by voting for your grant. The team emailed every school district around Stony Brook, gained support from the Stony Brook hospital and other cancer centers on Long Island and eventually won most votes in the region and the grant to start Camp Kesem. The students and advisors are now in the process of fundraising and planning the camp, which will open in August 2014! Maggie plans on being the camp nurse.

Maggie is committed to the cause of cancer, passionate about the patients and is going to make a superb nurse next year. I can think of no one who deserves this award more.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Kristin von Thelen


Kristin von Thelen is an exceptional nurse. Certified in In-Patient Obstetrics, Kristin is a dedicated nurse on the Labor and Delivery unit at Martha Jefferson Hospital. She is also actively involved in many volunteer activities within our community. She provides leadership through professional organizations, serving as the Vice President for the Beta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International in 2012. She is an active volunteer at the Charlottesville Free Clinic, serving the uninsured working poor in our community. She serves on the Women’s Committee at Martha Jefferson Hospital, an organization that has raised millions of dollars for women’s health initiatives. Most amazing is the work that Kristin has done as a member of the Virginia Children’s Connection (VCC) since 1990. Begun by a local plastic surgeon at the University of Virginia, the VCC has grown into a well-established medical mission organization serving children from around the world. The mission of VCC is to help children with cleft

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lip, cleft palate, burns, scars, and other skin malformations. The children where Kristin has served with VCC live in Giridih, a small town outside Calcutta in the state of Bihar, India. A team of doctors, dentists, nurses and physical therapists conduct week-long plastic-reconstructive surgery “camps” in Giridih, screening close to 500 children, and performing 100 – 120 surgeries; educating healthcare workers, patients and families on surgery care, anesthesia care, recovery care, and nursing care, including prevention of vitamin B deficiency, a possible cause of cleft malformations in third world countries. Surgical teams work in “sparsely furnished clinic rooms, often supplementing the light of a single hanging bulb with their own surgical lamps”. Services are provided at no cost to the people in Giridih, and any follow-up care provided by the local medical staff is underwritten by the Rotary of Giridih. Kristin has served on six of these medical missions over the years. In April 2012, she served as a panel member at a “Nursing Grand Rounds” at Martha Jefferson Hospital, where she told about the work of the VCC, and her most recent trip in 2010. Another trip is planned for February 2014. Kristin also serves as an ambassador for VCC within our community, helping to raise funds necessary to do this important work (over $20,000 in 2012-2013). Each trip costs close to a quarter-million dollars. Much of this is funded by the Rotary Club, but Kristin helps with raising monies for airfare, supplies, and other incidental expenses. Kristin’s passion for her volunteer work and her commitment to make a difference in the lives of children across the globe is inspiring. Her ability to effectively communicate the importance of the work that is done by these volunteer healthcare workers resulted in the highest evaluation scores of any “grand rounds” ever conducted at our hospital. Nursing Grand Rounds is an event held six times a year and sponsored by the Department of Education at Martha Jefferson Hospital. Six nurses in attendance were inspired to consider volunteer medical missions as a way to use their nursing skills outside the walls of the hospital, and to be involved in humanitarian work worldwide. Many were unaware that a colleague within the organization had devoted so much of her life (20 years) to volunteer service within our community, and around the world. Kristin is inspirational, and highly deserving of recognition – something she would never seek on her own.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Laurie Ketterl

Laurie Ketterl is the Nurse Manager of a growing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Babies in the NICU

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are separated from their mother’s, sometimes immediately after delivery. Laurie is always acutely aware of how difficult this is to new moms. Whenever Laurie hears about a mom who is unable to come to the NICU after delivery, she takes pictures of the infant, prints the picture, and often makes a scrap-booking page or card with the infant’s picture and personally takes it to the mom. During this visit she discusses the infant’s condition and plan of care. She is continually challenging her staff to think outside the box to provide excellent care to our patients.

In early January 2013, a infant boy was delivered 12 weeks early. His mom was critically ill and was put on a ventilator. She was immediately taken to Intensive Care, which is in a separate tower of the hospital from the NICU. Learning this mom was needing her own life-saving surgery, Laurie wanted to do something to reunite this family, but the baby was unable to leave the NICU. Laurie had an idea. She had her iPad with her that day, and in talking to her staff discovered one of the nurses also had an IPad with her. She knew she could use FaceTime to connect this mom with her baby. She contacted the manager of the ICU and worked out the details. She took her iPad to ICU and the baby’s nurse and neonatologist handled the IPad in the baby’s room. Laurie held the iPad up so this mom could see her baby’s face. When it was time for the mom to be taken to surgery, Laurie held the iPad close

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and the mom was able to kiss her baby right on the forehead of the live image on screen. Her baby kicked as his mom kissed him virtually! No one in the rooms thought this was a coincidence. Being on the ventilator, the patient could not talk, but she looked at Laurie and mouthed “thank you”.

This was a very stressful, scary time for this family, but they had a happy ending. The new mom recovered and was able to take her little boy home 82 days later.

The story spread and had an impact. The Medical Center Foundation donated money to purchase 2 iPads for the NICU so we can use FaceTime technology to connect all our NICU patients with their moms!

Laurie’s compassion and innovation helped ease the fear and stress this family was experiencing, and brought their family together when it otherwise would not have been possible. In doing so she set a precedent that will enable us to bring all of our NICU families together.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Barbianne Davis

p>Barbianne is an RN at our local community hospital and a single mom, but there is so much more to her than meets the eye. In 2009, when I, her mother, became ill and ended up with multiple hospitalizations resulting in amputation of my right leg, she moved in with me and was by my side the entire time. She puts all of herself into caring for her patients at work and will stop to help anyone who is in need no matter where we are.

One example that sticks out in my mind is when there was a large apartment building fire in our town. She worked an evening shift and got home late because a co-worker’s patient was sent to critical care and she stayed to help out. We got a call from a friend who lives near the fire and she said it was out of control, so my daughter came home, changed her clothes and set off at midnight to go help. With nursing license and certifications in hand she arrived at the site and offered her help where it was needed: she monitored patients waiting to go to the hospital and firefighters exiting the building (10 residents and 2 firefighters were hospitalized) and passed out drinks to firefighters.  She was there until 4 am. The next day she took it upon herself to call the Red Cross and found out how she could help. Within 24 hours of that call she met with the Red Cross, found a shelter and volunteers to serve for families in need of a place to stay, and she  raised money for hotel rooms for families with children, mobilized a team of people from several churches, and obtained donations of gift cards from both religious and non-religious organizations for impacted families. This is just 1 major example of the amazing nurse my daughter is. I could give many more. I have even run into people in the community who have been taken care of by her in the hospital and they have great things to say. She is starting at Slippery Rock University in the fall to get her BSN. A band-aid for her son’s knee or a community catastrophe, my daughter always amazes me with her ability to handle it all with a gentle nurse’s heart.

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Korinne Ashlock

Korinne works in the oncology unit at our hospital and shows her dedication to her patients over and over again. Last year we had a young Hispanic patient who needed a bone marrow match and none of his family was eligible to be donors. Korinne helped organize and execute the first bone marrow drive at our hospital, which had the largest turnout in Arizona in 2010, with over 700 people, many of whom were Hispanic. It was an overwhelming sight to see the halls lined with people signing up. We had no idea it would be such a success or of the impact this would have on the family.

As a result of this drive, 8 patients received a match and subsequent bone marrow transplants.

Korinne supported this young man and his family even when he was transferred for his transplant. Unfortunately, he became sick shortly afterwards. Korinne was returning home from vacation when she received the news and drove straight to the hospital to be with him and his family.  She sang and prayed with him and did whatever she could to help the family through their last hours together. Korinne felt so passionately about this young man and the impact his bone marrow drive had on the community that she formed Team Cool Jay in honor of him for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Walk, Light the Night. In 2011 her team raised over $12,000 in just a few months and another $8,000 in 2012. This is just one example of how Korinne touches her patients’ lives and her passion for her oncology patients.

She goes above and beyond for her patients every day she comes to work. Korinne is a remarkable young woman as she has 4 children, 3 of whom are 3 year-old-triplets! She has started an 8-month RN education program so that she can further her career in oncology, continues to work full time, and is still able to give exemplary care every day. Korinne is a great example of a true caring professional who gives 100% and inspires others to become involved and go the extra mile.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Linda Wyman-Collins

My nominee for the 2012 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, Linda Wyman-Collins has thirty-four  years of nursing experience primarily in Neonatal Intensive Care. She is an extra-ordinary patient advocate. During her thirty-four years she has performed many different roles including Team Leader, Clinical Educator, CPR Instructor and Discharge Teaching Instructor for parents of pre-mature infants. She is a 1979 graduate of University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and holds certifications in Neonatal Intensive Care; S.T.A.B.L.E. and Neonatal Resuscitation.

Linda’s most outstanding contributions are in regards to her passion and commitment to educating the community and healthcare professionals about awareness, identifying and living with bleeding disorders. She has committed countless hours (Over 1000 volunteer hours in 2011)  to community education and lobbying in Washington D.C. for funding for Hemophilia Treatment Centers in the United States. After campaigning successfully with the Texas Legislature for the reestablishment of the Texas Bleeding Disorders Advisory Council she was selected to serve as a council member.

My nominee is on the Board of Directors, Medical Advisory Board and Blood Sisterhood Committee for the Hemophilia Federation of America, and has been Chair of the Women’s Task Force of Central Texas Hemophilia Association.

She is a published author of an autobiography and educational article, “A Woman’s Story” a story which also includes how to identify those who may be at risk for hemophilia. She also has authored two articles for Dateline Federation Magazine and presented a paper titled “Nutrition for the Co-infected” at the Hemophilia Federation Conference in April 2010.

Linda works with the Girl Scouts of America providing educational workshops regarding “Bleeding Disorders Awareness”. As Chairperson of Blood Sisterhood, a National Initiative for Women with Bleeding Disorders she has created webinars, created an on-line community of social networking for persons with hemophilia. She was Assistant District Commissioner of Boys Scouts – National Capital Area for 12 years; Wood Badge Recipient).

My nominee completed training through the National Hemophilia Foundation’s “Project Red Flag” (now referred to as NHF-Victory for Women) to become an official “Woman’s Educator” In April 2011 she received the Texas TEA Award (Teach, Empower, Advocate) a women’s advocacy award by the Hemophilia Foundation of America.

Clinician, lobbyist, educator, community activist and volunteer; Lynda has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others through education, legislation and awareness. She represents professional nursing on a national level and is truly a great candidate for the 2012 Inspired Comfort Award.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Michael Robinson

Michael has demonstrated his abilities time and time again as a leader, team player, teacher, visionary, husband, father and friend.

As a leader Michael has led and directed his fellow military colleagues in training maneuvers as well as in tactical maneuvers throughout his military career. He promotes excellence and demonstrates by example in the things he asks of others. The true essence of a good leader.

He is a team player because he listens and then discusses the possibilities of a decision to come with a worthwhile and true group decision. And if he does not agree he goes along with the decision of the majority. He keeps an open mind to the possibility of what could be.

Michael plans the Military Agenda portion of the National Federation of Licensed practical Nurses annual convention and has been doing so for many years now. He understands the needs of his military counterparts. Michael believes in professional and leadership development for practical nurses and integrates his programs for the military nurses. He goes through great detail to make the classes interesting as well as a true learning experience by holding a competition for the military nurses called “The Mystic Warriors Competition”. He was the first military nurse to integrate a military agenda into a national nursing organization. Michael is forward thinking and he plans with great skill and pulls from past experiences to keep things fresh and interesting. He is not opposed to new ideas and suggestions from his military cohorts and he seek new ways of launching his team into a new experience. Michael lectures nationally as faculty for End of Life Care for veterans. He was the 2011 Receipt of the Lillian Kuster Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an LPN.

He strives to use the Golden Rule when it comes to treating others as he wish to be treated. As a friend, he continues to use the “Golden Rule” and he reaches out to those who are not as forward as others or who lack or are too shy to reach out for support or friendship.

You can depend on his for advice and support. He knows the value of not breaking the trust of someone who puts their trust in him.

Without doubt Michael Robinson has earned the seat at the table with the past recipients of this award.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Jill Zuleg

Jill Zuleg, RN, an obstetrical nurse at a 309-bed hospital located in the western suburbs of Chicago, has experienced first-hand what families go through when faced with the question of organ donation. With the creation of the Kyle Zuleg Foundation, Jill is able to offer the same simple comforts she identified as needs during her most difficult time to those families who follow her in the decision to choose organ donation. She truly is an inspiration to all those who have been touched by her selflessness.

In 2010 Jill’s son Kyle, a high school junior, was declared brain dead after being hit by a falling tree limb while on a camping trip with his family. Jill and her husband chose to donate Kyle’s organs, ultimately giving the gift of life to five recipients. Making this decision meant Kyle would be kept on life support and would undergo numerous tests while the organ donation team explored possible matches for his organs. Treasuring every last moment with her son, Jill was hesitant to leave Kyle’s bedside. Jill’s strength shone through during this emotional time but she admits that she lacked comfort and nourishment. She recognized the need to support families during the donation process and vowed to find a way to offer the simple comforts she lacked.

A year after Kyle’s death, Jill’s vow became a reality when the Zulegs formed the Kyle Zuleg Foundation which partners with Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. The network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana active at the facility where Jill is employed. Jill explained that “it seemed to be a natural fit to work with the hospital to honor Kyle by comforting grieving families” during the organ donation process.

The comfort Jill offers comes in the form of warm blankets presented to those who remain at the bedside as the donation process progresses. A special design including the words “Forever in Our Hearts”, paying tribute to Kyle, is displayed on each blanket honoring his legacy. “We thought it would be nice to have soft blankets available while people sit with their loved ones” Jill said. “Just cuddle up next to them and just be with them. This might make them … hang in there and honor the person who’s going to be the hero to however many people they’re going to affect”

Throughout the donation process families have a lot of time to think and a feeling of comfort is important. Jill and her husband considered withdrawing consent for donation several times as they patiently awaited a match for Kyle’s organs. Knowing what they know now concerning the lifesaving benefits of organ donation, they would have deeply regretted withdrawing consent.

The first blanket provided by the Kyle Zuleg Foundation and a nutritional basket provided by Jill’s hospital were given in September 2011 to the husband of a young woman who died at the hospital having previously made her intention of organ donation known. Once the intent to donate is communicated, Spiritual Care delivers the blankets to the families. The Director of Spiritual Care, who delivered the first blanket, stated “I believe that it’s a tangible sign of the gift (of organ donation)”. Nursing staff reported “visually seeing comfort on the faces of the family”.

Since that time four families have received warmth and comfort from the blankets and baskets. Several other area hospitals are now participating in the program as well.

In addition to partnering with the Gift of Hope Network, Jill created the Kyle Zuleg Foundation Annual Scholarship offered to a high school senior who expects to major in the same field in which Kyle himself had hoped to study. Jill is active in organizing several fundraising events such as pancake breakfasts and auctions as a means to support the foundation. Jill is also lobbying the state and local government to support improvements in campground safety. In addition, Jill supports the Alzheimer Foundation and remains an active participant in annual walks to raise funds.

“It’s been hugely helpful for us to start the foundation and create the blanket,” Jill Zuleg said. “I can’t change my path. I can only take the bad and turn it into something good, choose to go forward, choose to honor Kyle and the hero that he is.”

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Jessica Estep

The nominee came to our hospital as a teen in 2005 as a high school volunteer and began to recognize her interest in nursing. She enrolled in an Associates Degree program and worked part time as a nursing assistant and unit secretary the entire time she was in school. She graduated in Spring, 2009. She is very focused on her goals and reaches every goal she commits to.

This nominee is a positive role model and an inspiring representative on the telemetry unit and has influenced and strengthened colleagues across the organization without coaching. She is committed to her patients on the unit and provides excellent care delivery without disruption of her initiatives. She is a visionary and easily shifts from bedside nursing, to leading by example on the unit, to running newly forming councils within our facility. She is a silent leader among our team and demonstrates solid nursing care, with the most professional approach and immaculate customer service. She is honest, humble, and eager to learn and eager to lead and does it all with the most pure and graceful style one would ever hope to find in a bedside nurse. She volunteered for her Unit Based Team and has taken on lead roles on the team. In a staff meeting in Fall, 2010, she heard about Shared Governance being launched in our facility and volunteered, and then developed the Professional Practice Council during the absence of the Shared Governance Coordinator. For example, when the Shared Governance Coordinator was at a conference, she formed the Professional Practice Council of seven members across the organization and when the Coordinator returned to work, she had the meeting date and time set, all she needed was a room. She had an idea of what the first agenda should be and was ready to start her meetings. She was one of the first nurses to see the importance of the Shared Governance Program which is new in our organization. She saw the implications for nursing practice and advancement that Shared Governance offered. She developed the first council meeting which has now grown to be the strongest council in the three months we have been developing our Shared Governance Program. She understands how this program helps nurses be more involved in helping nurses make decisions that affect their practice and advance nursing practice across the facility. She advocates for nursing, takes additional classes on leadership, and has enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program to advance her personal level of education and she encourages other nurses to also enroll in advanced degree programs. She advocates for on-site Bachelor’s Degree Programs at our facility and nursing certifications to show others that nurses can be specialists in their professions. Her Professional Practice Council has voted her in as Chairman and is now up to 12 members all of whom share her vision which further infiltrates throughout our facility. She recently has started becoming a unit resource nurse to other staff nurses, nursing students and new hire nurses. She serves her patients with professional style, confidence and wit. She knows her strengths and limitations and is trusted by physicians, peers and management. The nominee perceives the additional demands of work, committee and college studies “all in a days work”. No matter how much she takes on, she seems unaffected by the all the demands recently placed upon her. She has not received many awards because the amazing thing about this staff nurse is that she graduated from nursing school in December, 2009 and is a very young woman. She has made such astounding contributions to our unit and hospital in a very short time. Our Patient Satisfaction scores were in the red and they are now in the 88th to 100th percentile because of initiatives her Unit Based Team advocates. Despite her impressive achievement to this point in her career, the nominee has not taken time off since completing her Associate’s Degree. She continues to demonstrate leadership in moving herself and nursing forward by her own power and engaging and motivating those around her. What really sets her apart is her ability to remain available to others by communicating her message any way she can and her willingness to share herself with others. She invites anyone along on her journey that will travel along side of her regardless of the age of the others. She opened new doors for nurses on her committees and assists all her team members which makes them want to give back to her. She values her team mates and instills a confidence in them like no others of her age. She has advanced the nursing profession at our facility at amazing speed.

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Cindy Stokes

When I rounded this month all the staff in her unit wanted to recognize Cindy for her care of a little boy named “Blue”. Following are examples provided to me by them on how she exceeded expectations for patient care. Blue is a teenager whose chemotherapy treatments were no longer working. Cindy had been his primary nurse for the past 4 years. Cindy used her positive relationship with this family to support them through this difficult period and also assisted in creating some long term family memories. The family decided they would take a trip to Hawaii for a final family vacation. They had a very short time line to pull these plans together. Cindy wrote a letter to the airline that assisted the family in getting a better flight. Blue e-mailed Cindy during the trip and the staff were able to see him on the beach in Hawaii through skype. Blue was in tremendous pain when he returned. Cindy elicited the help of the other hemonc nurses so that she could remain his support nurse. Blue knew that when she was entering the room she would not be doing anything painful. A plan of care was designed so that labs, blood draws and IV’s would not be done through his port and the expert skills of each of these nurse were called upon to meet his unique pain needs. Hospice was unable to obtain the pain medications that Blue needed. Cindy obtained these medications through the MUSC pharmacy and personally delivered them to Blue’s house. One weekend Blue’s school friends were getting together at his home for a drum jam. Cindy went to Blue’s house and participated in this event by playing the drums, bringing her own teenage son and being there for Blue. These positive experiences will always be remembered by his family and also allowed her the opportunity to dialogue with Blue about his impending death outside the hospital and clinic environment. These experiences helped prepare the child and the family and created a positive approach to a terrible situation. Blue’s family e-mailed Cindy specific questions so she could assist them through all aspects of the palliative care process. Blue’s dad even called her from the funeral home prior to his death to review plans as he valued Cindy’s opinion and he wanted to create the best experience possible for his son and family. Hospice was unable to meet some of Blue’s needs related to pain medication administration and blood work that needed to be obtained. We do not have pediatric hospice in Charleston. Cindy made arrangements to transfer the care of her clinic patients to her hemonc team and drove to Blue’s house to meet his needs. He expired prior to her arrival and Cindy remained with the family during this transitioning period, again providing that additional level of support. Cindy demonstrates the highest level of clinical skills, expert nursing care and care coordination. In addition Cindy has the added gift of effectively communicating during stressful and unpleasant situations by taking these situations and turning them into positive memories.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Jennifer Huson

Jennifer Huson, MSN, PNP, CNS in Maternal and Child Health is a Clinical Nurse IV in the PICU at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Nursing Director for the Dream Street Foundation and a Clinical Instructor at California State Long Beach. She exemplifies the nurse that everyone is honored work with. I would like to nominate her for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award because she continues to provide exceptional service, sacrifice and passion for children both in the hospital and in the community.

She has been volunteering with the Dream Street Foundation for over nine years. DS provides several summer camps to children and adolescents with chronic and life-threatening illnesses allowing them experiences otherwise out of reach. Jen has been the Nursing Director for the past four years. In this role she prepares and runs the infirmary for 2 different camps, each camp is one week long. Big Camp, as called by the volunteers, is the main camp Dream Street hosts. This is for children with cancer in all stages of treatment, sickle cell disease and other life threatening illnesses. This is the camp, which Jen works tirelessly on all year. There are an average of 120 children that attend for several local hospitals. She is responsible for every aspect from ordering the medications, equipment and supplies, setting up the actual infirmary with all the med stations, scheduling the four doctors, recruiting and managing an average of 16 nurses. She also organizes the medical charts of all campers and junior counselors. She reviews and resolves all medical discrepancies prior to and at camp. She coordinates with the local lab for specimen pick up and obtaining results. She is in direct communication with the local emergency services making them aware of the type of campers we have and what the medical staff is capable of. The care at camp is complex and involves more nursing care than most summer camps. At Dream Street nurses administer oral and intravenous Chemotherapy, lab draws, hundreds of oral and IV medications, tube feeds and emergencies as they arise. Her responsibilities as a volunteer Camp Nursing Director are astounding yet she handles them with such grace and efficiency. The Dreams Street Foundation and its camps would not be possible without her organizational skills, nursing expertise and her compassion. Being the Nursing Director is a full-time position which Jen continues to volunteer for.

I feel Jen has contributed significantly to the nursing profession by her resolve to safeguard the high standards she demonstrates and teaches her genuine desire to improve the lives of children with life threatening illnesses, her commitment to the community through her volunteer efforts and her compassion towards her patients and families with Dream Street and at CHLA.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Carolyn Greene

Ms Green obtained her BSN after having worked as an A.D.N. RN for 19 years. She then after 12 more years completed an MA in rehabilitation counseling. She is the program coordinator for the homeless program at Overton Brooks VAMC. Since 2003 under her leadership this program has increased in workload by 94%. She continues to develop partnerships that include:
A. Operation Stand Down in Shreveport for the past 7 years. This is one-stop shop for all the homeless population that provides clothing, medical care, food, haircuts, social services, mental health and substance abuse counseling, dental/eye//hearing/and HIV testing all free of charge. Stand downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs efforts to provide services to homeless Veterans. She is an integral part of this collaborative event with local VA and other government and community agencies who serve the homeless.
B. Outreach into correctional facilities both locally and throughout Northwest Louisiana. When called in she assists in a seamless transition for veterans being prepared for release who need assistance in community living esp. when psychosocial issues are present.
C. The newest part of the homeless program is the Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) choice program. There are increasing numbers and needs for this service which provided vouchers for rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services coordinate with OBVAMC and community-base out-patient clinic.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Lisa Quinones

Our Nurse of Excellence began her nursing career in 1986, with a diploma in nursing from St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing. She believes in lifelong education and is presently a Nurse Practitioner in Women & Adult Health. She is a faculty member who was promoted to professor, Fall 2010.

Besides her full-time work as a nursing professor, this faculty member believes in community service, both local and international. Since 2009, she has been a consultant and an outreach health educator for the March of Dimes. In addition to her work with the March of Dimes, she is a volunteer brigade member for the Hope for a Healthier Humanity. She is a primary Educator and Director of Curriculum Development for courses in Latin America. As the nursing educator, she travels to Latin America and usually takes nursing students and/or recent nursing graduates with her. They educate “promotores” who are extremely poor individuals living in rural areas. She teaches the “promotores” health maintenance, disease prevention practices, as well as a variety of techniques to provide improved physical care. She goes to Latin America at least four times a year. In addition, she has spearheaded raising funds and international awareness by involving student nurses and faculty in obtaining livestock through Heifer International.

Under her leadership, the nursing club fundraised and provided 165 birthing kits, which were given to the “promotores” to take back to the villages to assist with births. One student volunteer wrote that she was extremely grateful to her professor, for having chosen her to be a part of this amazing trip and for the invaluable lesson. She describes her professor as “an exceptional instructor, passionate about her work and this passion captivated the attention of everyone in Honduras who attended her lectures. She is a natural team leader, and in a good way, strong and caring.”

At the college, our nominee is a STEP faculty member presentor for Medical Camp, a mentor for Science & Technology Program (STEP); has preceptor graduate nursing education students, to name a few of her service activities. In addition, she is a member of many professional and scientific societies; has presented at numerous conferences and workshops, and has received numerous academic and professional honors. She has been nominated this year, for the Chancellor’s Award for teaching excellence. She has received research grants and numerous scholarships. She has published numerous articles, such as “Pathway to Nursing a Personal Testimony of Trial and Triumph for Motivos a bilingual magazine.

In March of 2010, she presented to the United Nations World Youth Alliance on Millennium Goals and the Morbidity/Mortality/Maternal/Infant outcomes in the Dominican Republic.

In summary, our nominee has been a nurse for 25 years and a nurse educator (faculty member) for 12 years. She believes in lifelong learning and service. She is a role model for students and faculty, and has brought our nursing program to a new level of international service and awareness.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Shakira Henderson

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Shakira Henderson for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. I have been a nurse for over 32 years in many areas of nursing including the neonatal intensive care unit and I have had my RNC for over 5 years to date. Currently, I am a mother-baby nurse who offers lactation services in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It is in this capacity that I met Ms. Henderson. However, in all my years of nursing, I have not met a more enthusiastic and passionate person who possess phenomenal leadership qualities and awesome potential to impact the nursing realm. As I delineate the achievements and projects that Ms. Henderson has participated in, I believe that you too will share my same sentiments.

Ms. Henderson has been critical in promoting a learning environment through teaching, training and coaching on her unit. Since July of 2009, Ms. Henderson has been instrumental in developing a Breastfeeding Initiative on her unit where none existed before. She advocated for specialized training for 6 nurses and herself, to become certified in lactation support and latter was able to secure funding for this cause by her host hospital nursing excellence committee. In 2010, she developed an evidence-based program to assist with lactation in the NICU, by offering lactation consults to mothers as well as monthly in-services at staff meetings. She also develops and distributes a monthly breastfeeding education newsletter to her staff. Her unit now has an active breastfeeding committee consisting of these same 6 nurse breastfeeding counselors and myself who see over 50 mothers a month for lactation consults weekly.

Since the inception of the Breastfeeding initiative, the percentage of mothers who pump for their babies has more than doubled, staff interest in offering lactation support has been amazingly high and more importantly, mothers who actually breastfeed on discharge has doubled. To add, patient satisfaction scores have not been below target goals since the inception of the program. In the NICU world, this is an astonishing accomplishment.

Her passion to promote breastfeeding support to NICU moms, won her spot with 8 others out of over 80 applicants to be a 2010 Baptist Health Evidence-Based Fellow in which she is currently working on a lactation care-map for NICU mothers. Sure enough, her courage and zeal was recognized hospital-wide when she won the 2009-2010 Patient Educator of the Year for her hospital for her work on her unit. On a national level, she won the 2010 National Leadership Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Most recently, Shakira was chosen as an Emerging Leader for the Association of Women’s Health Obsetric and Neonatal Nurses. She had a vision and a dream and she pursed it full throttle until it became a reality. Due to her massive interest in area of breastfeeding in the NICU, Ms. Henderson is currently pursuing her doctoral studies while still working full-time in the NICU, and hopes to focus her research in this topic.

While breastfeeding is a great topic of interest to her, Ms. Henderson has diversified into many areas. She assists with new nurse orientation as a preceptor, IV coach and NICU orientation instructor. She serves as an annual competency validator and just recently became a hospital-based NRP instructor and STABLE support instructor. She has also recently implemented a weekly rare case series distribution and night shift educational skill labs. She is chair of her unit Clinical Practice Team and is heading the development of feeding protocols for the unit. She is an active member of her unit family-centered care committee and was nominated to be a representative on her unit practice committee. She also assists her unit in promoting rounding for patient safety and advocates for proper documentation by nurses. She heads the unit Breastfeeding committee, unit Expressed Breastmilk task force, Infection Control Committee, and Hospital Breastfeeding taskforce. On top of all of this, she is an exemplary NICU staff nurse and resource person on her unit.

Despite all of these achievements at such a young nursing career, she remains humble to nature. She will insist that it is all the great team players that have contributed to her success. However, I truly believe that Ms. Henderson possesses the unique ability to bring people together for a positive cause. Ms. Henderson has had an overwhelming impact on her patients, staff and unit reputation, and for this, I urge that you strongly consider her for this award.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Shannon Davidson

I would like to nominate Shannon Davidson for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.
Shannon has been a paramedic for years and years. She and her husband provide volunteer services to their community of McIntosh AL. She is also one of our Advance Care Techs here in the ER. Shannon has very good clinical skills but her best quality is her ability to put her patients at ease. Shannon can take care of a clinically ill patient while comforting them at the same time. She is one of the best IV starters I’ve ever seen! Shannon is so devoted to her calling. She works full time here and then takes call for their volunteer service at home. She has a daughter who was diagnose with Dystonia 3 years ago. They have had many struggles but all the while. Shannon maintains a smile at work. She is the strength and solid rock of her family and we appreciate her very much.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Samantha Abate

p>Samantha is a consummate professional with an effervescent spirit, infused with sincerity and integrity. Staff consistently looks to her for both clinical and personal guidance. As the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Cardiac ICU and Stepdown Units at South Jersey Healthcare (SJH), she has led staff to excellence in clinical practice, leading review classes for national certification, developing practice guidelines for patients, and providing patients the opportunity to experience the healing pet therapy can bring.

Samantha approaches her staff without hierarchy and readily establishes a rapport and relationship that facilitates meeting mutual obligations. Knowing the difference national certification can make in patient care, Samantha teamed up with staff to form a certification cohort. She developed a six month certification program utilizing national standards and AACN study questions. Six staff nurses committed to the program, and Samantha committed to teaching and mentoring. Samantha holds weekly 2 hour classes and continues to engage and develop the cohort. All are scheduled to sit for the exam in mid November.

One of Samantha’s passions is animals. She has been a volunteer with therapy dogs since 2002, realizing their potential to heal. She established the animal assisted reading education program named “the Starry Eyed Reader’s Club”, the first pilot team in Vineland, NJ. The results were profound, increasing the engagement and reading levels of the children participating. The program is now offered in all Vineland elementary schools.

For Samantha, pet therapy is the perfect combination of her dedication to animal rescue and her devotion to nursing. Gypsy, a certified therapy dog, is Samantha’s second rescued racing greyhound. Determined to offer SJH patients the opportunity to benefit from pet therapy, she made her case to SJH Leadership and was granted approval by senior leadership. At SJH Samantha leads a multi-disciplinary group that meets with congestive heart failure (CHF) patients and their families to provide instruction and direction on caring for themselves after discharge. Gypsy and the physiological benefits of pet therapy is a standard agenda item at these meetings.

With the goal of increasing patient ambulation, necessary in the treatment of CHF patients, Samantha investigated the prospect of incorporating pet therapy into the existing CHF Ambulation program. Patients who felt poorly were, at times, reluctant to ambulate. Offering patients the opportunity to walk with a specially trained therapy dog provides the psychological benefits of pet therapy as well as the physiologic benefits of physical activity.

With limited research in the pet therapy literature, Samantha sought to scientifically demonstrate the value of what she intuitively and experientially knew. She is currently the investigator of the study “Impact of a Therapy Dog on Congestive Heart Failure Patients’ Ambulation, Outcomes, and Satisfaction,” approved by SJH’s institutional review board and accepted as a Master’s thesis at UMDNJ.

By clinically investigating the benefits of pet therapy, Samantha hopes to establish pet therapy as an evidence-based intervention and promote its availability to any patient who may potentially benefit. Samantha is actively inspiring the next generation of nurse leaders to transform nursing care.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Jesse Kontra

Although Jesse’s job is a transplant clinician, he selflessly volunteers at a nonprofit organization called The Clinic in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania several days per week. The Clinic provides medical services to the uninsured in an atmosphere which fosters dignity and respect.

Jesse has volunteered for the last four years as a physician extender, which helps the physicians’ ability to see more patients. Since his job is extremely demanding and he may be on call for 48 hours consecutively, Jesse continues his dedication to volunteering at The Clinic several days per week.

Last year, with Jesse’s help, The Clinic provided medical services to over 11,000 patients who did not have medical insurance. Jesse provides medical care to patients of all ages and from all backgrounds. He administers care offering dignity and respect for everyone at The Clinic. Many of our patients are extremely ill and have not been to a doctor since they cannot afford to pay. Dr. Lorna B. Stuart, M.D., founder and medical director at The Clinic says “Jesse has been a wonderful help and offers patience and understanding as well as medical services to our patients. He finds the root of their problems and provides them with the tools they need to get healthy and stay healthy.” Without his constant dedicated service, literally thousands of people would go untreated. Jesse is also instrumental in acquiring funding for The Clinic, which is not government funded. He established a “Coins for The Clinic” program, which consists of containers placed in various locations for people to donate to The Clinic. Jesse took it a step further and found school and community groups that were interested in doing philanthropic projects for The Clinic. Because of his efforts, several thousand dollars in funding was provided for The Clinic. Jesse incurred all of the costs of production for this program and took care of all of the distribution and collection as well. Never asking for anything in return, Jesse is always here and always ready to help. We, at The Clinic, would like to nominate Jesse Kontra for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award because his exception service, sacrifice and innovation have helped to keep The Clinic providing medical services to those that truly fall through the cracks of society and are unable to afford the rising cost of medical insurance.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Peggy Matthews

Peggy Matthews, RN experienced the loss of her father in late 2008 in a inpatient hospice room at a Memphis hospital. After her bereavement leave, she returned to work in our small rural setting with a passion for end-of-life care.

She approached me one day about the need for an “end-of-life” room for our patients and families. We chose the room with the nicest view and decided to convert it into a patient and family-centered room for those who were entering the final stages of life. Peggy immediately went into action turning a somewhat cold hospital room into a warmer, more homelike environment. She painted the walls and doors a warm color and tastefully stenciled the walls with willow trees and leaves. She purchased light fixtures and had a leather oversized chair and couch donated to the room. She also purchased lamps and bedside tables for the patient and families’ comfort. She painted the patient’s bathroom and purchased a matching shower curtain. She also purchased beautiful artwork and bath accessories to complete the room. Our hospital covered the floor in a warm wood laminate and a donation of a TV with DVR was made as well. We also contacted a local quilting club who now donates beautiful lap quilts for our patient’s use. These quilts are then taken home by the patient’s families to keep as a family treasure.

The room was completed in 2009 and is simply amazing! We have named the room “Peggy’s Room” in honor of her tireless, completely-voluntary work and innovation of our “end-of-life” room. Families have commented on how peaceful the room made them feel as their loved ones went through the journey of death.

I am proud to nominate Peggy Matthews, RN for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Peggy Folgate

Peggy Folgate has been a registered nurse in our out-patient clinic since 2008. Our clinic is hospital sponsored and cares for primarily un-insured. In 2009, Peggy developed an excel spread sheet program to organize medications that are available for un-insured patients at no cost from pharmaceutical companies. The program allows her to sort for renewal and track medication compliance. It has evolved over the past year to include over 250 patients and over 600 medications she manages. This process has been instrumental in enabling our clinic to help the increasing un-insured population of our community access medications. It has eased the stress in helping patients get the medications they need (at typically no cost), and offers patients the feeling of a medical home and a place to go for questions.

She then created a brochure for patients describing what is needed for a a medication program and how she can help patients access this service. Enclosed is a copy of the brochure she created. This has taken a large amount of patience, devotion and time, and I believe shows the greatest compassion and commitment in nursing that is the foundation of our profession.

She has enlisted the help of a retired nurse to volunteer in sorting the medications that arrive twice a day, and verify medication and dosing with the patient chart. Patients are called then by a volunteer to pick up the medication. A different colored label is added to the medication bottle so patients will easily recognize a “program medication” vs. one prescribed through the local pharmacy. When new medications come in, she will call patients and schedule an appointment to discuss. She has truly gone above and beyond a normal day’s work and patients have commented that they probably would have gone without chronic medication without this service and the ease in which she has made medications accessible.

The un-employment in our city is some of the largest for the state of Illinois and Peggy has exceptionally gone above and beyond to help. She has many more responsibilities here at the clinic including triaging, patient education, and phlebotomy (this is not all inclusive), and we are fortunate to have her. She has shown leadership and innovation for the nursing profession. I am proud to nominate her for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award and hope that you will recognize her for her exceptional service and dedication to the nursing profession.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Andrea Parkhill

Ms. Parkhill works as a community nurse who provides skilled nursing care in the home for patients and their families, she works as a nurse in the Senior Wellness Program.

Exceptional service can be described as a comprehensive, timely, and proactive approach to meeting the client’s needs. Exceptional staff see the entire picture clearly without rose colored glasses. They frame the processes and outcomes of their service with care, compassion, competency, communication, and collaboration. Ms. Parkhill demonstrates the essence of exceptional service.

Ms. Parkhill routinely sees a 68-year-old gentleman I will call Barney at her Senior Wellness site. Although relatively young, Barney suffers from many chronic illnesses. One week Barney did not come to the wellness session, which was unusual. Andi decided to knock on his apartment door to see if he was okay. He had fallen a few days before and confessed to being in a lot of pain.

The physician agreed to Andi’s plan to order a certified home health aide to assist Barney with personal care, and a physical therapist to improve strength and safe ambulation. Her environmental assessment identified several safety factors that Barney agreed to have corrected.

The plan was implemented; Barney completed his episode of homecare and was discharged without complications. Ms. Parkhill’s nursing instincts assisted her to identify and correct an unsafe situation that allowed this patient to remain living independently at home.

The housing authority called and asked her to visit an 83-year-old woman (I will call her Ida) residing in a senior building. The woman had signed herself out of the hospital against medical advice because she wanted to be home to care for her cats. The apartment was dirty with cat hair and cluttered with empty beer and wine containers. The refrigerator held only expired food.

Ms. Parkhill completed her psychosocial assessment and opened Ida to homecare. Andi set up a plan of care that included social work, therapy and certified home health aide support. But the patient refused anyone but Ms. Parkhill. The patient was alone, with no family or significant others.

Ida developed itching and cellulitis of both lower extremities. Around the same time, Andi began noticing bedbugs in the apartment, and when all treatment of the cellulitis failed, she determined that the bedbugs were the cause of the skin alterations. When she noted bedbugs in other apartments, Ms. Parkhill realized there was a problem and brought the information to her clinical manager. Ida refused to have an exterminator as she feared for the safety of her cats…and the housing authority issued an eviction notice.

Andi called adult protective services but Ida was competent and, therefore, could refuse assistance…which she did. Ms. Parkhill next found a distant relative whom she called, but was told, “We don’t want to deal with her. Put her in a nursing home”. At this point, the bedbugs had infested everything in the apartment; they were on the walls and were dropping from the ceiling.

Andi next called the County Department of Social Services and got help. The social worker and Andi contacted a VNACJ nurse who works for the town’s local social service department. She had funding with which she agreed to purchase new furniture and bedding if the apartment was fumigated.

Andi contacted the humane society who offered to care for the cats, but Ida refused. Andi next contacted a veterinarian who agreed to treat the cats…and Andi would pay for the care. Ida agreed. Andi was able to convince Ida to stay in a clean apartment while hers was fumigated…and again, Ida agreed.

With a plan in place, Andi moved quickly. The apartment was emptied, cleaned and refurnished with the donations from the local social service department. Ida got new clothes, thanks to the generosity of Andi Parkhill who purchased them as a present.

Andi has identified that many residents in the senior building had no family and were dealing with aging issues, in particular the death of many friends in the building. Andi was concerned about the increasing number demonstrating signs of grief and depression. Also, access to everyday support services such as transportation and even how to get new eyeglasses was becoming an issue for many. Together, Andi and the social worker are addressing these issues. The combined role of the nurse and social worker is so effective that it has been maintained and expanded.

These three examples are characteristic of an exceptional nurse who has inspired physical, mental, and spiritual comfort in her clients and the community.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Diana Webber

Diana Webber is a Family Nurse Practitioner who truly practices holistic care and demonstrates great compassion for all of her clients, most especially for those who are underserved.

 In October of 2008, Diana realized her dream of starting a free clinic in her rural hometown of Atoka, OK; the Hope Medical Clinic is a non-profit free clinic for those who are uninsured. She searched the literature and any other helpful contacts she could find in order to learn what she would need in order to implement this, and found a great deal of local support for this clinic. She had applied for and was accepted into a mentorship program through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She also submitted an abstract and was accepted for a poster presentation for that same organization’s national conference in June of 2008 “Set Your Sights on Establishing a Free Clinic”.

 She was an invited speaker at the Oklahoma Public Health Association annual conference “Humanitarian Medical Outreach Projects” in March 2008, as well as at the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing Nurse Practitioner Alumni Conference “Humanitarian Medical Outreach: Global and Local Communities” in May 2008. She also volunteers once a month at Crossings Clinic in Oklahoma City which is a free clinic.

 Diana has been volunteering for medical mission trips for many years during which she not only provides health care for local native people but at the same time mentors both medical and nursing students. In 2008 she volunteered for several medical mission trips: Mexico in 1/08; Peru in 3/08; assisted with an orphanage in Quito Ecuador in 5/08; and a mission trip to Nicaragua in 8/08. In her hometown she is a Spanish translator for the local hospital ER when needed. Her regular employment is working as a Nurse Practitioner with a pediatric Latino population in an Oklahoma City clinic, and in Durant with obstetric Hispanic patients.

 I cannot imagine an individual who is more deserving of recognition than Diana Webber. I have seen her interact with her patients, and she is truly caring and professional in every sense; she is an inspiration to other nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and any student in a health care profession. Her talent, energy, and enthusiasm for giving of herself are simply in her nature.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Wallena Gould

Wallena Gould, CRNA, MSN is the founder of the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program, whose mission is to inform, empower and mentor underserved diverse populations with information to prepare for a successful career in Nurse Anesthesia. The all volunteer organization participants are CRNA’s, Student CRNA’s Critical Care Nurses, Nursing Students, and High School Students, fulfill their mission by providing annual information sessions/luncheon programs, anesthesia airway workshops, sponsorships for minority nurse anesthesia students to the Annual AANA Conference, participating in area high school career day, visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities and provide annual graduating celebratory dinner for minority students completing the nurse anesthesia programs. The Program has mentored nurses for the past six years.

Wallena Gould who is the former Chief Nurse Anesthetist, works full time during the day and plans in the evening and weekends for events throughout the year. She has family with two daughters, but is dedicated on her quest to educate and mentor the minority population about the nurse anesthesia profession.

In 2008, Wallena Gould facilitated an Annual Information session/ luncheon with a panel of CRNA’s Directors of Nurse Anesthesia Programs, and Student CRNA’s. She also hosted an Anesthesia Airway Workshop at South Jersey Healthcare, where nurses got to have hands- on experience learning about airway equipment, and the tools-of-the-trade in nurse anesthesia. Wallena’s continued dedication and support to minority nurses, students, and professionals is exemplified, as she is currently preparing for the third Information Session this year, to be held in October in Miami. The former were in Camden, New Jersey, and Los Angeles earlier this year. Additionally, Wallena travels around the country visiting Historically Black Colleges, as well as high schools, providing education about the profession of which she is so passionate about.

Wallena’s ultimate goal is to diminish the disparity of minority nurse anesthetist in the profession. Personally, I can say that she is always open and available for mentoring, questions, and genuine encouragement. To know her, is simply to be inspired!

Finally, I’ll add, that she works so hard to help others, that she deserves a must needed vacation prize.

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Rosetta White

Throughout the years in nursing many nurses have touched my life and shaped my nursing career but one nurse stands out in my mind as the essence of nursing excellence. This nurse goes above all expectations in everything she does. Rosetta White has been a nurse at Carolinas Medical center since 1970. She should be the poster child for our organization, with her crisp white uniform and vibrant smile; Rosetta will often say she has to look nice because she is representing CMC. In my 15 years working with Rosetta I have never seen her without a smile on her face.

Each morning when she comes to work she is singing to herself and telling her co-workers that we are all going to have a wonderful day. She is a breath of fresh air to the nursing unit. Rosetta’s first priority is the best care for her patients each day. Rosetta makes each patient feel special and when her patient’s call out they always know who their nurse is. Even the patients that speak Spanish love her and call her “Rosita Bonita”. Patients always ask to see Rosetta before they go home to say good bye.

Rosetta will make sure the patient will get what they need while they are here. She uses a holistic approach to patient care. If the patient needs clothes for herself or baby, Rosetta will find it. She has even gone to patient homes to deliver items they have left behind knowing the patient did not have transportation to come back to the hospital. If a visitor is lost or needs attention, Rosetta will stop what she is doing to help.

Rosetta is a nurse that is remembered by her patients when they leave the hospital. Numerous patients of hers have come back to visit with their baby just to see Rosetta. As many patients as Rosetta has taken care of, she never forgets a face. She always takes the time to love on their baby and tell them how good it is to see them. We have patients that come back to see Rosetta annually to give her up dates on their children.

Residents that have worked with Rosetta through the years bring their family to see her as well. Rosetta will bring humor and a bright side to any dim and dark situation. She displays flexibility and effectively copes with accelerating changes, i.e.; merging with Nursery to form Mother/baby unit, new nurse managers, or moving to a new location –she always projects a positive attitude. She handles multiple projects at the same time and is the designated monitor in ordering and dispensing unit supplies; she pays close attention to cost implications and ensures that expenditures are in the best interest of the unit. Rosetta was instrumental in finding the linen hampers that most of the units are now using. I told her what I wanted and with her can do attitude she went on a search and found it. She assists in the preparation of the unit for visits from regulatory agencies with zeal. She is very proud of the unit and hospital where she works.

Rosetta is always available to support all team members (emergent situations, personal or family crises). Rosetta is readily available and at the forefront to assist others in implementing plans to meet goals. Rosetta’s commitment to her co-workers, unit and Carolinas Medical center are often rewarded with Values in Action certificates as well as patient acknowledgements and compliments. One patient nominated her for the Daisy.

Rosetta volunteers to coordinate unit blood drives, The United Way Campaign, Arts and Science, and Children’s Miracle. She also serves on the family Centered care Committee.

Rosetta’s experience is very valuable to the unit. If she has a feeling that something is wrong, she takes it forward to the charge nurse and the Physician. While working with a postpartum patient she noticed that the patient’s toes were swollen. She reported this information and persisted with the physician until they obtained an orthopedic consult. It turned out that the patient had cancer. This could have been over looked without Rosetta’s “gut feeling” and experience.

Rosetta loves her unit, her patients and her co-workers. She consistently displays a warm, friendly relaxed attitude and a harmonious cooperative spirit. She has never met a stranger and will stop whatever she is doing to help a patient, visitor, coworker or anybody in the organization. She displays a high degree of honesty, loyalty and integrity and is committed to unit/organizational goals and strives to achieve excellence. She exudes the CHS Core Values of Caring-Commitment-Integrity-Teamwork

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Diaraye Bebe Sylla

Diaraye “Bebe” Sylla started out as a Nursing Assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Melanoma/Sarcoma Inpatient Unit in 1998. She worked in this role for 4 years while going to nursing school. She has worked on our unit up to now, working 2 years as an LVN and 5 years as an RN. Bebe is very passionate about enhancing the care that her patients receive. She finds opportunities for improvement on our unit and proposes and implements change to improve quality of care. Bebe has been actively involved with the division of nursing’s quality improvement initiative, Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB), and has implemented changes that promote safe and reliable care and enhance vitality and teamwork. Bebe, with the assistance of another colleague, has initiated the Discharge Care folders for patients and families. She identified that patients/families carry loose papers/documents all throughout their stay as well as when they get discharged. She suggested that all documents, i.e. educational materials, discharge instructions, patient schedule, medication list, etc. be placed in a single folder that the patient will be taking home, but will also be taking back to the hospital during visits or admissions. This simple initiative has enhanced safety and improved communication along the care continuum.

As a Clinical Nurse, Bebe attends to patients’ needs in a timely manner to ensure positive outcomes. She also takes the time to communicate with her patients, not just to educate them as regards to their treatment, but also to provide emotional support. Bebe has received several compliments from patients/families and here is a quote from one of them, “Thank you for being so caring and gentle with our mother. You are truly excellent at what you do!”

Bebe is well-liked by her peers as she maintains a positive attitude and brightens up the whole unit and her patients with her smile. She is highly flexible and functions in different roles: clinical nurse, discharge nurse, and charge nurse. Her energy radiates around the people she works with and helps improve moral in our busy work environment.

Aside from enhancing care of patients at M.D. Anderson, Bebe is dedicated in improving health care globally through prevention and education. She has served as the president of the American Friends of Guinea (AFG) since 2006. AFG is a 501C3 non-profit organization that is based here in Houston. Their work is done in Guinea West Africa, Bebe’s hometown. Bebe has been going to Guinea every summer since 2006 using her own personal funds. She travels with a medical team, visiting different area hospitals and health centers, performing needs assessments, and then coming up with action plans. The team chooses two hospitals or health centers with the most critical need each year. After they have identified the hospitals’/health centers’ most pressing need, such as lack of clean running water, Bebe utilizes this information to start raising funds here in Houston to help address these needs. Bebe, through AFG, has provided free medications and supplies to health centers that treat underserved populations. She has also helped save thousands of lives, mostly children affected with cholera – one of the deadliest infectious diseases in Guinea. In summer 2007, Bebe and her team of physicians and nurses visited different cholera camps and provided them with free antibiotics and IV hydration to help treat the cholera patients. She rented big trucks and paid a crew to pick up the trash left on the streets to stop cholera at its source. Bebe is very hands on and she assists in treating these patients. She has shown me a picture of a child that they treated who was very emaciated and compared it with a most recent picture – a healthy looking child. I have great respect for what Bebe does, the lives that she has touched and improved through her projects.

Bebe also traveled to Guinea in the summer of 2008 and provided one of the hospitals with electricity problems rechargeable batteries so they can continue treating the underserved population. Through AFG, she has also provided their partners at Engender Health Guinea surgical kits to help women suffering from uretro-vaginal fistulas and has personally assisted the doctors in caring for patients post surgical repairs of the fistulas. More information about the great work that Bebe does and some pictures can be found in this website:

Thank you for the opportunity to recognize an excellent nurse and a person with such a good heart.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Stacey Anderson

p>Stacey Anderson is a Registered Dental Hygienist. After providing dental hygiene services and oral health education for over 20 years in private practice, she followed her own belief that “the greatest risk is in not taking one.” Stacey passionately believes that dental health is the right of every child.

In 2006, Stacey founded Just Kids Dental Health, an innovative community-based program dedicated to preventing and reducing dental disease by focusing on underserved and low-income uninsured children. Using her own personal funds, Stacey purchased $30,000 in equipment and supplies necessary to implement this valuable program. Stacey and Just Kids Dental Health staff share a passionate goal of providing critically needed cleanings, fluoride varnish, sealants and oral health instruction to low-income children, many of whom have never seen a dentist!

A prominent goal of Just Kids Dental Health is to promote education for good oral health. Oral hygiene and nutritional education is done with every visit by demonstrations of tooth brushing and flossing on colorful tooth models and hands on displays. She works collaboratively with the school nurses for case management of children found to have severe decay. Parent letters are sent home by school nurses and referrals to area dental providers on a case by case basis by Stacey and the Director of Health Services.

Stacey removes a child’s fear of dentistry by delivering services in an upbeat, fun atmosphere and rewarding children with great prize bags and colorful home care dental products. With public resources becoming scarcer, Stacey works diligently to strengthen relationships with public and private sectors to collectively address oral health problems. Just Kids Dental Health has proven to be a successful collaboration of efforts by providing preventive services to a group of low-income children.

Providing services through school based and community access points benefits many parents who cannot access dental care for their children due to income, lack of insurance, and/or transportation difficulties or the inability to take time off work.

As a result of this innovative program, children receiving dental services may see increased classroom performance and reduced dental decay. Dental disease is largely preventable, but tooth decay is the most common chronic infection among children today. She feels that with all the disparities facing our youth, a healthy smile should not be one of them! Just Kids Dental Health consists of Stacey Anderson, Registered Dental Hygienist and two Dental Assistants.

Just Kids Dental Health meets the preventive dental care needs of underserved children by mobile clinics at the following Minnesota and Wisconsin community locations: LakeView Memorial Hospital Saturday Clinics (a rural hospital centered in Northeastern Minnesota where access to dental care is severely limited), The Boys & Girls Club of Duluth, Carlton County WIC Program, Duluth Safe Haven Battered Women’s Shelter, and low-income/uninsured children facing limited access to care within the schools districts of Superior, WI, and Cook, Cloquet, Lake Superior and Proctor, MN.

The collaboration with the School District of Superior was established in the fall of 2008. In its first year alone, mobile clinic services including cleanings, fluoride varnish, oral health education and sealants were provided to over 1,200 children who received 5,163 sealants. Now that is something to smile about!

Stacey is deserving of this award due to her passion and the immense amount of time she selflessly dedicates to helping underserved children. She used her personal funds to establish the program, devotes many late nights to writing grant proposals and volunteers her time at school functions to educate parents on the value of good oral health and encourage parents to enroll their children in this free school -based program. During the first years of Just Kids Dental Health, funds were minimal. Stacey wore all hats and administered all duties of the program to include administrative, Medicaid billing, community promotion and sealant clinician.

Nancy Smith R.N., C.S.N.
Director of Health Services
School District of Superior

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Nomination of Marie Coleman

p>Marie Coleman is not only an employee and co-worker, but also a friend and someone who has provided support and assistance to both my family and my friends over the years in her capacity as a home health aide.

Marie is truly one of those unique individuals that enjoy her mission in life. Many people go to work in order to secure a paycheck, and it obvious to anyone watching them work that there is no passion in their role. They are there simply because they need to work. That is not the case with Marie. She takes pride in her work, something that is often missing these days. She provides care to her patients not because it is her job to do so, but because caring for those less fortunate is her calling. She gives her all in everything she does. She provides patients with their basic needs such as bathing and feeding with love and gentleness. Giving them care is her job, giving them love and compassion is her way.

If Marie’s car is not working, she will find some other way to get to her patients. Not showing up is just not an option for her. She stays beyond her assigned hours if someone needs her, on her own time, and does so with a smile. The smile I have seen on the faces of our patients and their families when Marie arrives makes my day brighter. She always accepts any assignment, no matter how far from home or what the hours are, and treats each and every one of her patients with respect.

As a hospice nurse, it always saddens me to see a patient that is not experiencing quality in the time they have remaining, to spend with their friends and family. Many patients, understandably, become despondent and depressed, more focused on their terminal illness than on the time they have left. This past year, after admitting a patient who was experiencing a significant decline, I assigned Marie to the case. I knew that if anyone could bring light into the day of this sweet 92-year-old patient, Marie could. When the patient came onto our hospice service, she was not eating much, not communicating much, and wanted to be left alone. Through patience, compassion and persistence, Marie brought her out of her withdrawal, and the patient began to look forward to each day, rather than dreading it as another long day after another long day, waiting for the last day. By taking an interest in her patient as a “person”, not a “patient”, Marie was able to find out about what interests the patient had, what foods she liked, and what activities had brought her joy. Focusing on these, rather than on the patient’s illness, the patient began to eat more, to want to get out of bed for the first time in a long time, and to take an interest in seeing tomorrow, next week, and next month.

Given a very poor prognosis upon admission to hospice, a prognosis of days or weeks, it was surprising to all of us (except Marie) that the patient was still with us, smiling and now enjoying a newfound enthusiasm for life, several months later. While the patient still continues to decline, and her physical weakness continues to progress, her emotional growth and strength amazes all of us, even the most seasoned hospice nurses.

I credit Marie with giving months of life to this special patient, months filled with special memories with her family friends, months of enjoying activities that make her smile, months of enjoying foods.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Nomination for Joan Delk

Joan works at the cancer center, giving chemotherapy and working with the physicians. She was involved in taking care of a patient that had Acute Leukemia. The patient was from Sudan and had no home here. She was quite sick and had to rely on Medicaid transportation to and from the office. Sometimes the patient would have to wait for hours after receiving treatment to be picked up. Joan worked with the physician taking care of this patient and formed a strong bond with her. Joan actually took the patient into her own home, set up a bedroom for her and took care of her. Joan arranged for transportation with the help of people in her church for the patient.

The patient ended up needing a bone marrow transplant and Joan diligently worked to get the patient’s brother here from Sudan. Joan had to get signatures and worked with the government to help and get him here. Senator Elizabeth Dole was involved in bringing the patient’s brother here. The patient’s brother was a match for the transplant. Joan attended doctor’s visits with the patient, which involved going to another city to a University for the transplant. Once that patient’s brother arrived in the United States, Joan took him into her home also.

Prior to the transplant Joan took the patient and her brother to the beach. They had never seen the ocean. Joan took them on this trip after working a full week. After several procedures and the transplant she had both the patient and the patient’s brother living with her. The patient went through a tremendous ordeal. Unfortunately, the patient did not survive the intense treatments. Joan provided a safe, comfortable place for the patient and her brother during this hard time. She was their friend and they in turn became part of Joan’s “family.”

Joan also was instrumental in planning the patient’s funeral here in the states and also transporting her body back to Sudan. She worked full time while all of this was going on. She definitely went above and beyond the call of duty. I feel she should be considered for this award because of all that she did with this patient.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Nomination for Fawn Fitz

Like most people embarking on their first ride on an airplane, Fawn Fitz was excited. This LPN was traveling with a group of nine parents and children from Central Middle School in Charlotte County, where she lives, to attend the national competition of Odyssey of the Mind at Iowa State University. So of course, she was also elated about that, especially since one of the children attending the scholastic competition focusing on math and science was her daughter.

Their return flight on May 27th turned hectic – from changing planes to delayed flights to tracking down baggage, “Nothing seemed to be going right,” Fawn explained. “We ended up in Chicago, and honestly we weren’t ever even supposed to have been there.” While rushing to change planes in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport – one of the largest and busiest airports in the country – Fawn and her group passed a crowd of people. She noticed they were gathered around a lifeless man on the floor. “People were just standing there. As soon as I saw him, I knew he wasn’t breathing. He was blue. No one was doing anything other than saying, ‘Sir, can you hear me?’ One person was waving at him. I couldn’t let that happen. This man needed help and fast! I knew I had to do something for him. Call it nursing instinct, but I went into action.”

While many people would have kept on running to catch their plane, Fawn instantly responded, throwing down her bags, checking the man for responsiveness and a pulse. “He had no pulse. He wasn’t breathing. He didn’t have anything,” she said. She had a medical mouth shield (microshield) in her pocket, something nurses commonly use in emergencies, took it out and started CPR. She soon learned paramedics were on their way and that another nurse was in the vicinity. The other nurse took over chest compressions while Fawn continued artificially breathing for the man, constantly monitoring his progress.

A crowd grew around her, as did the tension. But Fawn kept her focus on this man. She didn’t know his name. She didn’t know how old he was, if he had a family, if he had ever been to Chicago before, or seen the Atlantic Ocean. But what she did know was that he was in grave danger and could possibly die if she didn’t continue – even if it meant missing her plane. “Missing my plane didn’t matter. This man needed help. I asked the airport personnel to get on the radio and tell the paramedics to step on it”.

Fawn then learned that the airport had a portable AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) – an emergency device used to “shock” a patient with no pulse in hopes of “jump starting” the heart. After shocking the man twice, Fawn finally managed to get a very faint and very slow heart rhythm. “He was still in trouble. I just wanted those paramedics to get there so we could get this man to a hospital as soon as possible,” Fawn said. Finally, the paramedics arrived. “As soon as I saw them, I started screaming, ‘Ya’ll need to intubate him!’ And they did!” she smiled.

The man was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital and calm soon returned. Fawn was credited by airport personnel, airline staff and bystanders as having saved the man’s life.

In appreciation of her heroic actions, the airline held the plane for her and then offered her four first-class tickets for her and the other adults in her party for their return flight home. But in her true humble style, Fawn refused them. “There were nine of us. The adults could have sat up there, but that would have left the children in coach by themselves. I couldn’t leave my children,” Fawn said with a soft smile.

And as far as being credited with saving the man’s life, well, Fawn has simply handled that with humility and dignity. “I just did what needed to be done and what any nurse should do,” she explained. “I believe God put me there at that moment for a reason, because there were so many reasons that our group shouldn’t have even been there. But I believe God put us there. And I will always wonder what God has in store for that gentleman and what great things He has planned for him. His life was spared that day for a reason, and if I was able to help with that, well, I’m honored.”

Friday, October 24th, 2008