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Palm Healthcare recognizes area’s best nurses with 2011 Distinction Awards

Lois Gackenheimer, chair of the Nursing Celebration dinner; John Lacy, Palm Healthcare Foundation Board Chair; Sandra Turnquest, Palm Healthcare Foundation board member

Bill Carley Photography

Lois Gackenheimer, chair of the Nursing Celebration dinner; John Lacy, Palm Healthcare Foundation Board Chair; Sandra Turnquest, Palm Healthcare Foundation board member

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Healthcare Foundation’s Ninth Annual Nursing Celebration Dinner honored Palm Beach County‘s top nurses with the 2011 Distinction Awards recently, at The Breakers, Palm Beach. More than 500 attendees gathered for a dramatic and exciting evening that paid tribute to all the nurses that have served as pioneers in our community and are a true inspiration through their compassion and courageous work.

Eight winners in different categories were recognized for their contributions and work serving patients and their community throughout Palm Beach County. The event, which celebrated “An Enchanted Evening…Nurses Celebrating Nurses,” emphasized gratitude. This special evening honored registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse educators, nursing assistants, nursing students, and leaders of the nursing community.

A committee of 30 selected the eight honorees from over 100 nominations submitted by healthcare professionals and patients/families. Winners were chosen on the basis of dedication to excellence in an area of expertise beyond the scope of their jobs, commitment to the profession of nursing, and a sense of community. Steve Weagle, WPTV Chief Meteorologist was Master of Ceremonies and Randy Marsh from Sunny 104.3 FM had the honor of handing out the awards to the deserving honorees along with Anna Kiger, Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, Andrew Cutler, General Manager from VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, Christine Stapelton from the Palm Beach Post and Lew Crippen from Gunster.

“This event is about honoring and celebrating heroes,” said John Lacy, Palm Healthcare Foundation Board Chair. “Each of our Nursing Distinction Award winners has a story about being a champion to a patient, a family or a co-worker that rises far above the call of duty. We are privileged to have the opportunity to recognize their significant contributions to their organizations and to our community.”

The Palm Healthcare Foundation’s and The Palm Beach Post‘s 2011 Nursing Distinction Award winners are:

Nurse of the Year – Eugenia Millender, ICU nurse, St. Mary’s Medical Center. Ms. Millender also received the Extra Mile Award which recognizes a nurse who goes above and beyond to foster professional growth in others, (West Palm Beach resident).

Registered Nurse of the Year – Roseanne Armstrong, Delray Medical Center, (Wilton Manors resident).

Leadership Award – Anne Hedges, Health Care District of Palm Beach County, (Wellington resident).

Nursing Student of the Year – Jenny-Lyn Buster , Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, (Delray Beach resident).

Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year – Cecil Wilson, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, (Coral Springs resident).

Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year – Terry Jeanne Malgeri, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Jupiter resident).

The Hands and Heart Award (recognizes a nurse who exemplifies compassion and caring in his/her practice of nursing) – Angelica Ligas, Good Samaritan Medical Center, (West Palm Beach resident).

Educator of the Year Award- Kelly Campbell, Good Samaritan Medical Center, (Palm Beach Gardens resident).

The Nurse of the Year won a $1000 grand prize and a spa weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Additionally, each category winner will receive in addition to their award, a special celebration provided by Panera Bread at his or her place of employment, and a professional portrait.

As part of the evening’s festivities, Dr. Anne Boykin was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Boykin is the Dean of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University and one of the founding board members at Palm Healthcare Foundation, (Boca Raton resident). Former recipients include Christine Lynn, who also presented this award to Dr. Boykin.

Major sponsors for the 2011 Nursing Distinction Awards were Tenet, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, , The Palm Beach Post and Sunny 104.3 FM. Pre-event sponsor: GUNSTER, Florida’s law firm for business.

About Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. chartered in 2001, is Palm Beach County’s leading public healthcare foundation. Believing that, “Together we can do more,” the foundation’s mission is to inspire and fund solutions to improve health in Palm Beach County. Since 2001, the foundation has distributed more than $40 million to over 95 non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County operating over 130 programs. For more information, please visit

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2 responses

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