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Community Hospital Corporation Selects 2021 Dan Wilford Award Winner: Ruth Dela Cruz of Geary Community Hospital

Plano, Texas (June 8, 2021) – Community Hospital Corporation (CHC) is proud to announce Ruth M. Dela Cruz of Geary Community Hospital as the winner of the 2021 Dan Wilford Award for Compassion and Community Service. Dela Cruz is the Laboratory Director for Geary Community Hospital, a 49-bed hospital located in Junction City, Kansas, and managed by CHC.

“During this unprecedented pandemic year when many healthcare professional heroes stood out, Ruth demonstrated steadfast dedication and spearheaded COVID testing for their entire community,” said Jim Kendrick, president and CEO for CHC. “Ruth’s level of commitment to community service and the hospital, beyond daily concerns and ongoing operations, has been truly outstanding.” She was chosen among 15 nominees. The award, named after Dan Wilford, a founding CHC board member and retired CEO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System of Houston, Texas, represents outstanding care and remarkable concern for a community and its local hospital.

Dela Cruz was nominated for this prestigious, annual award by Kaye Marantette, MSN, RN, HACP, Chief Nursing Officer for Geary Community Hospital. Marantette shared, ”Ruth often forsakes her own needs to help make our hospital and community a healthier and safer place to live and work. During this challenging year when we were all faced with more distractions, anxieties and stressors than usual, she demonstrated exemplary leadership, motivational skills, and implemented extraordinary solutions.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dela Cruz accepted oversight of the laboratory’s response for detecting COVID-19 infections. In March of 2020, the hospital collected its first COVID-19 specimen. In April of 2020, the hospital had a telephone hotline, drive-through testing, and multiple testing platforms. Throughout the pandemic, the hospital had ample testing supplies, reagents, testing platforms and personal protective equipment.

When several employees were absent, Dela Cruz personally prepared and delivered fresh meals for their families that often were large enough to last several days. She also assisted the Health Department, local businesses, detention facilities, nursing homes and pharmacies in their COVID-19 testing efforts.

Dela Cruz has served at Geary Community Hospital for 19 years and holds certification in Medical Technology (MT) through American Medical Technologists, a professional association.

Final nominees for the national 2021 Dan Wilford Award include diverse and highly qualified healthcare leaders:

  • Sheila Schoolfield, Director of Medical Records, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, Texas
  • Amy Efird, Discharge Coordinator, Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital at Pineville, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Linda Fox, Unit Secretary, ContinueCARE Hospital at Baptist Health Corbin, Corbin, Kentucky
  • John Jones, RN, CEO/CNO, ContinueCARE Hospital at Baptist Health Madisonville, Madisonville, Kentucky
  • Mindy Holster, RRT, Director of Quality Management, ContinueCARE Hospital at Hendrick Medical Center, Abilene, Texas
  • Sanjuanna Barrios, RN, Registered Nurse, ContinueCARE Hospital at Medical Center, Odessa, Texas
  • Sharmeen Hussain, Certified Surgical Technologist Operating Room, Huntsville Memorial Hospital, Huntsville, Texas
  • Leeann Theel, RN, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department, Montrose Memorial Hospital, Montrose, Colorado
  • Stacie Miller, RN, Registered Nurse, ICU, North Texas Medical Center, Gainesville, Texas
  • Kelsey Gilbert, PharmD, Pharmacist, Southwest Health System, Cortez, New Mexico
  • Ashley Havel, R.T. (R)(N)(CT)(ARRT), Director of Imaging, St. Mark’s Medical Center, La Grange, Texas
  • Jocelynn Carroll, RN, Registered Nurse, Charge Nurse, Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital, Tyler, Texas
  • Holly Haas, RN, APRN, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner, Yoakum Family Practice, Yoakum Community Hospital, Yoakum, Texas
  • Stephanie Lerch, RN, BSN, Program Director, New Horizons, Yoakum Community Hospital, Yoakum, Texas

About Community Hospital Corporation – HELP WHERE HOSPITALS NEED IT®
Community Hospital Corporation owns, manages and consults with hospitals through CHC Hospitals, CHC Consulting and CHC ContinueCARE, with the purpose to guide, support and enhance the mission of community hospitals and healthcare providers. Based in Plano, Texas, CHC provides the resources and experience community hospitals need to improve quality outcomes, patient satisfaction and financial performance.

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