Families, mentors, supporters and award nominees turned out for the annual Champions of Service: Celebrating Volunteers Awards Reception, April 26 at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center.
Champions of Service is a special event to recognize the many Christiana Care colleagues who donate their time, energy and resources to others who need help in the community.
The event combines the annual Jefferson Awards, which recognize outstanding Christiana Care employees who volunteer by helping our neighbors, and the Spirit of Women Awards, recognizing community heroes and young people who serve on an ongoing basis as role models through their volunteer efforts.
Mike Eppehimer, senior vice president of Christiana Care’s Service Line Operations, moderated the event and introduced Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System. “Dr. Nevin has lived in Delaware most of her life, and as the leader of Christiana Care, one of the most important aspects of her job is the opportunity to serve our community,” Eppehimer said.
Dr. Nevin expressed her gratitude and appreciation to all 30 of the nominees. Eppehimer then introduced David A. Paul, M.D., chair of Pediatrics, to present the nominees for the Spirit of Women Young Person Role Model award.
Spirit of Women: Young Person Role Mode
The Young Person Role Model award winner this year was Adrianna Nelson, a participant and volunteer counselor at Delaware Hospice’s Camp New Hope, where she helps children who have lost loved ones. As the secretary of her school’s Interact Club, Adrianna leads collections and donations, and has started a colon cancer walk.
Other Young Person Role Model nominees included Alyssa Duprey, Lester “CJ” Fair, Julianna and Leah Farro, and Aaron Spock.
Spirit of Women: Community Hero
Diane Bohner, M.D., FACP, medical director for Medical Home Without Walls, presented the Community Hero award this year to Pamela Barnes. Pamela is a cancer survivor who turned the negative energy from her own fears and hardships into a positive thing called “Love Blooms,” in which she uses her art and skills to make one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces to help other women in treatment for cancer to feel beautiful. Currently, she has donated jewelry valued at more than $1,530 to three hospitals who provide treatment for women with breast cancer.
Other Community Hero nominees this year included Al and Ginny Bacon, Tawanda Harbison, Georgia Jones, Cathy Lozes, Shelli Palmer, Dorian Riddick, Marla Smith, Donald Squires, Wanda Tucker, Melissa Walling, Janet Welch, Theresa Wolhar and Debbie Yacyshyn.
The Jefferson Awards, founded in 1972, are a prestigious national recognition system honoring public service in America. Awards are presented locally and nationally, with local groups sending a delegate to an annual, national awards event in Washington, D.C. This award celebrates the talent and dedication of Christiana Care employees who contribute countless volunteer hours in their communities.
Shawn Smith, MBA, vice president of Patient Experience, presented two Christiana Care Jefferson Awards this year, to Joyce Bunkley, BSN, RN, and Patricia M. Curtin, M.D., FACP, CMD.
Bunkley, a Christiana Care employee for more than 45 years, has volunteered countless hours to educate our neighbors about HIV/AIDS and worked tirelessly to reduce the burden on our community caused by HIV by participating in innumerable groups, seminars and events to promote awareness. She has been an invaluable member of WE CARE, a volunteer group that has been instrumental in developing the curriculum on health, safety and environment issues for Christiana Care.
Dr. Curtin, a leading health care professional in the community, is chief of the Geriatric Medicine Section in the Department of Medicine and has helped establish Christiana Care as a national leader for the care of senior citizens. She was nominated for the Jefferson Awards mainly for her volunteer efforts with the Notre Dame University Haiti Program. Since the island nation was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2010, she has traveled there 10 times, bringing her professional skill, personal commitment and powerful advocacy to the aid of many Haitians. She has led and organized medical mission teams in providing care to families in mobile clinics and children in orphanages. Caring for more than 100 patients per day and teaching them basic health information, she set up clinics where patients were screened for diabetes and hypertension, treated for malaria and other diseases, and given hope for a brighter future. She also volunteers for the Sunday Breakfast Mission, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and St. Mark’s High School.
Dr. Curtin has been selected to represent the Christiana Care Jefferson Awards program at the annual awards ceremony this summer in our nation’s capital.
Other Christiana Care employees nominated this year for the Jefferson Award include Charles Baluk, Debbie Harris, Adriana Hurd, Irene Lavita-Harris, Jo Melson, Yanira Ramirez and Linda Sydnor.