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Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - Eleven Roper St. Francis Healthcare teammates, volunteers recognized as Health Care Hero honorees

Eleven Roper St. Francis Healthcare teammates and volunteers were recognized as Health Care Hero honorees by the Charleston Regional Business Journal on Thursday night during an event at the Francis Marion Hotel.

Each year, the Business Journal and its partners honor the professionals and volunteers for health care, first responder, research and other areas. These individuals go beyond the call of duty for their communities and professions.

A panel of judges reviewed the nominations for Health Care Heroes and scored honorees in the categories of Community Outreach, COVID-19 Response, First Responder, Health Care Professional, Nurse, Physician, Health Care Researcher, Service/Therapy Animal, Trident Construction Health Care Engineer and Volunteer.

The honorees are listed below:

Glenn Cook, Honoree for Community Service category

Nominated by Amanda Biondi

Before the pandemic, Glenn Cook, a community paramedic with the Greer Transitions Clinic, spent his days checking on mostly low-income patients who needed care, whether that was because they had been hospitalized for surgery or had a chronic condition such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. Now, Cook spends his days going door-to-door and offering COVID-19 vaccinations to many of those same patients. Cook visits patients in their homes, checks on their overall health and offers the COVID-19 vaccine. Most of his referrals come directly from the healthcare system’s doctors. Glenn is a perfect example of how our team goes above and beyond to care for our patients and community.

Dr. Kent Stock, Honoree for COVID-19 Response category

Nominated by Cathy Hallman-Kenner

To highlight the impact the third surge of the pandemic was having on healthcare professionals, our marketing team interviewed Dr. Kent Stock for a video. Dr. Stock is our lead infectious disease physician who has treated more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients in our hospitals. His words are powerful and pointed, emotional and raw. Dr. Stock has spearheaded our strategy on caring for COVID-19 patients and is one of our most effective physicians in speaking with the public about this killer virus. He understand the latest science on COVID and helps translate that into information the general public can understand.

Leon Maxwell, Honoree for Health Care Professional category

Nominated by Carol Causey

Chaplain Leon Maxwell is dedicated to the patients, families and staff at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital. There is not just one thing that stands out about Leon, but several come to mind. He does his job ministering to the patients, families and the staff with a listening presence and a humble heart. He has called the families of our COVID patients. Family members are not allowed to visit their loved ones, so he keeps them updated and listens to their fears and concerns. He is there for staff members who need someone to listen and to offer words of comfort and encouragement. Leon is an asset to the Pastoral Care Department, to Roper St. Francis Healthcare and to our community.

Amanda Moon, Hero for Health Care Professional category

Nominated by Kyle Prothro

Amanda Moon is an athletic trainer with Roper St. Francis Healthcare and has been with the Sports Medicine Program from six and a half years. An outstanding healthcare clinician, she has served as the athletic trainer at both Garrett Academy and RB Stall High School. Amanda works primarily with underserved populations and is passionate about her work. She loves caring for youth athletes and ensuring they receive proper healthcare. Her lightning fast reaction recently to help a 13-year-old who had collapsed on a football field likely saved his life.

Jessica Thiessen, Honoree for Nurse category

Nominated by Courtney Erwin

She has volunteered to care for COVID patients from Day 1 of the pandemic in spite of the uncertainty of the disease as well as the fear of exposing her own child to it. She put all that aside down to help. We had a patient who had Downs Syndrome whose functional level was that of a 9 year old and had COVID. Her care for the patient went beyond her clinical needs. She gave the patient markers so she could color whenever she wanted, and Jess would go into her room at night and color with her. Although she died, Jess gave her every possible comfort she could while she was alive. She is now a charge nurse on our COVID intensive care unit. She learned critical care – a new discipline of nursing – so that she can care for the sickest of the COVID patients. She works extra shifts to help with staffing needs, and she’s always willing to help her co-workers.

Dr. Robert Oliverio, Hero for Physician category

Through this pandemic, healthcare has been thrust into the spotlight. We constantly are receiving media requests for interviews on what we are doing to combat COVID. Our healthcare system’s leading spokesman has been Dr. Robert Oliverio, vice president and chief medical officer – ambulatory care and population health. In the last 40 weeks, Dr. Oliverio has been featured more than 55 times – that’s an average of more than one news stories per week. He makes it a priority to be available so the public can better understand this pandemic and how they can keep themselves and their families safe. Not only is he our key spokesman, but he’s also integral to our operations.

Beau Beau Zettel, Honoree for Therapy/Service Animal category

Beau Beau is a 5-year-old petite Goldendoodle and has been a beloved member of the pet therapy volunteer team at RSF Mount Pleasant Hospital for three years. Beau Beau understands when she is going to work, gets excited about being on the job and has a clear idea of where and who has doggie treats hidden around the campus. Every visit is meaningful and often the hard-working medical staff enjoy the love as much as the patients. If Beau Beau can help send them in to care for their next patient with a smile on their face, it’s a good day.

Shelton Gamble, Honoree for Engineer category

Shelton is a Multi-skilled technician on the team that takes care of over 100 RSFH offsite locations to include our Emergency Departments at Moncks Corner Medical Plaza and Northwoods, James Island Surgery Center, Roper Eye Center, Roper Hospice and our Express Care locations. He has completed a total of 925 work orders so far this year.  He communicates with the staff at the sites keeping them up to date on the status of any issues that may arise and coordinates the work required by outside contractors.  This position requires a lot of “windshield time” as our offsite locations are spread throughout the low country from Downtown Charleston to Monck’s Corner so efficiency is paramount, and he excels at this.

Mike Gunter, Hero for Engineer category

Mike Gunter has been a shepherd of the physical plant of Roper Hospital through countless manmade initiatives and natural disasters during the past 30 years. That means ever since Hurricane Hugo, Mike has been one of the key people helping to protect the facility through construction projects, renovation efforts, floods, snow storms and hurricanes.

Donna Blake, Honoree for Volunteer category

Anyone walking by the Information Desk at Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital is greeted warmly and with a smile. Those memorable and positive first impressions are because of Donna Blake, who joined our volunteer team nearly five years ago. Her husband was a patient, and she was so impressed with the care he received and how kind the staff was that she wanted to be part of it. She started by volunteering in our Surgical Registration Waiting Room but didn’t have the interaction with visitors and families she expected. Now, she’s posted in our most visible volunteer location, and she talks to doctors and nurses as they walk to the café’, asking what they are having today and telling them to have a great day. She complements and speaks words of encouragement to all passers-by, and she’s especially engaged when she sees a child. Donna spent 28 years working as an elementary school teacher in Hurricane, West Virginia.

Eugenia Felsinger, Hero for Volunteer category

She learned that the staff were all suffering with sore ears rubbed tender from the constant wearing of masks for long shifts. The solution shared in crafting circles was a crochet strip, 3 - 4 inches long with a large button on each end to catch the mask elastic behind their ears. Geni went through her stash of colorful yarn and buttons and got busy crocheting. Each delivery was welcomed. Nurses happily picked out their favorite colors and sighed with relief as they wiggled them in place behind their head. Each batch delivered brought requests for more. Geni kept busy. She started doing drop-offs at her surgeon, orthopedic and medical doctors' offices. She took bags to the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center and delivered regularly to staff and patients at the West Ashley Cancer Center.

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