Nurses Week and Hospital Week

Each May during Nurses and Hospital Week we celebrate Parkland staff and their daily contributions to patients, the organization and the community. This year’s hospital week theme “Health Care from the Heart” reminds us of the difference our care has made in the lives of patients and families. While each and every one of us plays a vital role in our hospital’s culture of service and clinical excellence, we congratulate Parkland colleagues who earned the following Hospital Week awards:

Clinical Excellence: Jodi Hanley, Social Worker in the Parkland Center for Hematology and Oncology – who fulfilled the dying wishes of a patient by arranging backstage passes to a country music concert.

Leadership Excellence: Heather Gervais, Director of Parkland Rehabilitation Services – a leader with an ear for listening; she is encouraging and appreciative of her staff.

Parkland Pride: Ron Sebastian, ED Tech and Advanced EMT – whose professionalism, compassion and dedication to high standards make him a leader in the Parkland ED and in this community.

Performance Improvement: Jennifer Dekoschak and Maureen Scarfo, Emergency Department, Ashlie Kelleher, Quality and Diane Fleming, Nursing – for improving the Patient Experience in the Emergency Department by decreasing the wait times and improving patient satisfaction.

LNA/Tech Excellence: Ian Moltenbrey, Center for Emotional Wellness – who has a joyful and positive attitude, is respectful and professional and consistently exceeds expectations.

Support Service Excellence: Dylan Owens, Environmental Services – the ultimate team player; “nothing is not his job,” also giving time, talent and donations to improve the lives of those in his community through his work with the Derry Boys’ and Girls’ Club.

Compassionate Nursing Care: Jennifer Johnson whose positive attitude and extensive knowledge inspires her department; she leads the OR team with grace, dignity, fairness and dedication.

Professional Nurse Mentoring: Angela Donohue, who, in her role as MedSurg RN and preceptor models the mission, vision and values of Parkland.

Finally, every one of us plays a vital role in easing the burden of illness and worry with a smile, a kind word, or a healing touch. Our hospital week and nurse week slide presentations showcase the pride we all take in providing clinically excellent care in an environment where we not only care for our patients but for one another as well.

Jodi Hanley, 2016 Clinical Excellence Award winner

Jodi Hanley, 2016 Clinical Excellence Award winner

Heather Gervais, 2016 Leadership Excellence Award winner

Heather Gervais, 2016 Leadership Excellence Award winner










Ron Sebastian, 2016 Parkland Pride Award winner

Ron Sebastian, 2016 Parkland Pride Award winner

Ian Moltenbrey, 2016 LNA/Tech Excellence Award winner

Ian Moltenbrey, 2016 LNA/Tech Excellence Award winner










Dylan Owens, 2016 Support Service Excellence Award winner

Dylan Owens, 2016 Support Service Excellence Award winner

2016 Hospital Week Presentation

“Connected with Chris — Connected to Care”

“A Shot in the Arm — My Intro to Compassionate Care” was the first blog that our former CEO Chris Accashian posted back on October 9, 2013. Since then, he posted 62 blogs that communicated stories about Parkland’s Pillars, especially those of People and Service and focused on care.

In Chris’s first blog, he explained how a specific interaction with a physician at an early age created a lasting impact on his career in healthcare. I think I can speak for Parkland Medical Center when I say that our interaction with Chris has left an indelible mark on Parkland in the way that we will continue to operate in the future.

Every CEO leaves some mark or impact on a facility that lasts for a period of time proportional to how engrained it is to the foundation of the culture of the organization. With everything that Chris established and accomplished while at Parkland, I think it is fair to say that his impact will be felt for years, if not decades to come.

While at Parkland for just shy of three years, Chris was eager to make the connection between the five pillars of success and how we operate at Parkland. Those five pillars — People, Quality, Service, Growth and Finance, were the strategy and focus at Parkland. He used the five Pillars to set the expectations and standards for Parkland. In addition, Chris empowered each employee “To Provide the Perfect Patient Experience” which became the vision statement of Parkland Medical Center. This vision has become the foundation of Parkland’s culture and has contributed to the success of the organization.

Chris was focused on the patient experience and helped drive a culture of putting patients first. In doing so, he lead and grew the Patient Family Advisory Group (PFAC) — a group of patients and family members providing Parkland with guidance and feedback on service initiatives and the patient experience. Chris was an advocate for bringing the voice of the patient into our decision making, and because of that, our PFAC is strong and continues to expand opportunities to ensure the patient perspective comes first.

Chris was also very involved in the community and state of New Hampshire, serving on the Derry Boys and Girls Club Board of Trustees, the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA) Advocacy Task Force and volunteering with the United Way. His work for the NHHA Advocacy Task Force was focused on ensuring that the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP), (also known as Medicaid Expansion), continued coverage to nearly 50,000 low-income New Hampshire residents. The NH Health Protection Program allows many low-income Granite Staters, who don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid, to enroll in a health insurance plan at little or no cost. This is essential for effective healthcare management in our community and to the state.

Chris made connections with the Representatives of the NH House and Senate to educate on and advocate for the continuation of the NH Health Protection Plan. Just this past month, the Senate Finance/HHS committee voted to approve House Bill 1669 extending the NH Health Protection Plan.

Chris understood that access to healthcare was critical for all New Hampshire residents in order for them to be proactive in the management of their health. Chris was connected to the care of the community.

In keeping with the intent of “Connected with Chris,” Parkland will continue this tradition around our connections to care, appropriately titled “Connected to Care.” Moving forward, we will have blogs from members of the leadership team at Parkland focused on our five Pillars and outlining our connections to care and to the community.

Beliefs for a good life

I have been reading Modern Healthcare for as long as I’ve been in the industry and for many years, when Chuck Lauer was the publisher, I would often start on the last page. This was where Mr. Lauer posted his publisher’s note and although the magazine has and continues to tout itself as “The only healthcare business news weekly,” his note was rarely about ‘business.’ Chuck Lauer most often addressed life and leadership on that last page so when I recently came across this post I felt compelled to share:

Chuck Lauer: 32 beliefs for a good life
Written by Chuck Lauer, Former Publisher of Modern Healthcare, Author, Public Speaker and Career Coach | February 25, 2016

I have spent almost 55 years in healthcare. In that time, these are some of the things I have learned and now believe are essential to living a decent and fulfilling life.

Some people may disagree with some of my beliefs, but that is only to be expected. We live in a nation where we are free to live our lives as we choose. What I have come to believe in the allotted time I have been fortunate enough to live on this earth is that we don’t listen to each other enough, and consequently we too often miss gems of wisdom that could benefit us and those we care about. I submit my beliefs to you with humility and hope they may make some sense to you.

  1. I believe it is best to keep all things simple at all times. Life is complicated enough without making things more confusing.
  2. I believe it is best not to show disappointment in your behavior and on your face when things don’t go your way.
  3. I believe your family members are the most important people in your life.
  4. I believe having even one friend is the greatest reward any human being can have.
  5. I believe that a man must treat women always with the utmost respect and courtesy.
  6. I believe forgiving and forgetting are two things all of us should practice every day.
  7. I believe all animals have the right to live free of pain, disruption and bondage.
  8. I believe it is much more rewarding to help others than anything one can do to our fellow inhabitants.
  9. I believe honesty is now and will always be the best policy for any of us to practice.
  10. I believe we should all treat the elderly with the utmost respect and dignity and go out of our way to give them assistance when necessary.
  11. I believe it is essential to never denigrate the character of others.
  12. I believe people are good and well-intended, but I also believe when dealing with others we should do so with caution
  13. I believe marriage is best.
  14. I believe that character fully presents itself when a person is under great pressure.
  15. I believe that everyone should be given a second and third chance, and in some cases, maybe even a fourth one.
  16. I believe holding grudges is the biggest waste of time ever.
  17. I believe that telling someone you love them is the greatest compliment you can pay to anyone.
  18. I believe every day we are on this earth we should smile and say hello to anyone we encounter.
  19. I believe a hand-written letter carries more import than all the emails and texts you could send to another person.
  20. I believe it is essential to remember your wedding anniversary.
  21. I believe it is wrong not to lend money to another human being when they are desperate and you can afford it.
  22. I believe it is essential that you learn as quickly as you can to laugh at yourself.
  23. I believe feeling sorry for yourself is a waste of time and doesn’t get you anywhere.
  24. I believe that the United States of America is the greatest country on this earth.
  25. I believe silence is truly golden.
  26. I believe brevity in writing and speaking should be mandatory.
  27. I believe that the cleanliness of one’s body is a marvelous way to display good manners.
  28. I believe it is good manners when seated to always stand up when approached by a man or woman.
  29. I believe that all of us love to be complimented. Do so with utter abandonment.
  30. I believe it is wrong to laugh at others when they fail.
  31. I believe all of us should give ourselves a break once in a while.
  32. I believe it is essential that we believe in each other.

In life and in business, particularly healthcare, character matters and Chuck always made it a point of emphasis. I’ve never met the man but what he had to say in those old Modern Healthcare articles and what he continues to say today resonates with me.

So in light of #26 I’ll keep it brief and wrap up my thoughts with this. Upon reading his list and as someone who has been intently following the presidential primaries I couldn’t help but think about leadership in the context of our nation’s highest office. I’d offer one more to Chuck’s list:

I believe leaders should represent our best and bring out the best in those they are privileged to lead.

Share your thoughts. What are you beliefs for a good life?

Celebrating our Awards of Distinction Winners

Our annual Awards of Distinction allow us to celebrate those who truly go above and beyond in their daily work at Parkland Medical Center, as well as in the community. We do so by recognizing the unique contributions of individuals through HCA’s Frist Humanitarian and Excellence in Nursing Awards.

The Frist Humanitarian Award was created in 1971 to honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. Named in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. (1910 – 1998), a founder of HCA, this award recognizes individuals who serve their community and whose daily dedication and caregiving epitomize the highest standards of quality and personal commitment. Each year, Parkland Medical Center recognizes one employee, one volunteer, and one physician as Frist Award recipients.  Qualities of Frist Humanitarian Award nominees include those who:

  • Demonstrate remarkable concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and has performed extraordinary acts of kindness.
  • Demonstrate a level of commitment to community service beyond the daily operation of the facility that parallels their involvement in quality patient care.
  • Demonstrate personal modesty and genuine humility that may overshadow their contributions.

Through Parkland’s Excellence in Nursing Awards we recognize the value of nursing practice in accomplishing our mission to provide the highest quality care in the communities we serve. The Excellence in Nursing Awards are designed to celebrate the extraordinary care delivered by our nurses every day. Each year we recognize a nurse in two categories:

  • Professional Mentoring – recognizes a nurse who advances nursing practice in a clinical setting or nursing specialty by guiding or supporting career development for individuals or groups of nurses through advancing evidence-based nursing knowledge.
  • Compassionate Care – recognizes a nurse who demonstrates exceptional nursing knowledge and expert skills, and consistently applies both with compassion and integrity so that the quality of the care experience and the care outcomes are improved for patients in a clinical setting or nursing specialty.

We thank all who attended another standing-room-only ceremony this year. Please join me in celebrating our winners:

Frist Humanitarian Award (Employee): Winner – Patricia Larrow, EVS

2015 Frist Award Winner (Employee)Patricia Larrow (left) with Chris Accashian, CEO

2015 Frist Humanitarian Award (Employee) Winner Patricia Larrow (left) with Chris Accashian, CEO

From Pat’s Director, Diane McNealy:

“Pat’s commitment to Parkland Medical Center is obvious by her commitment to excellence, always striving to get others involved. From something as simple as buying a heart or butterfly to raise money for Relay for Life to bringing in cans for the food drive…this year Pat was determined to ensure that the children of Derry would be warm, so again she took on the challenge not only of getting others to give but also by giving so much herself.  Her passion to get involved is infectious.  Pat is so passionate I often find her at my door with new ideas on how we can better educate staff or improve the patient experience.  In the 13 years that Pat has been the housekeeper in the Emergency Room I can’t tell you how many patients, visitors and staff she has made a difference to.”

Frist Humanitarian Award (Volunteer): Winner – Jennifer Dabrowski

2015 Frist Award (Volunteer) Winner Jennifer Dabrowski (left) with Chris Accashian, CEO

2015 Frist Humanitarian Award (Volunteer) Winner Jennifer Dabrowski (left) with Chris Accashian, CEO

From staff in the department where Jen volunteers:

“Jen is a wonderful person who always brings her smile and joyous energy to the department. She never has anything negative to say and is always willing to help to the best of her abilities.  She is a true asset to the team.”

“Jen has been a volunteer for Parkland Medical Center for five years and demonstrates as much enthusiasm now as she did the day I met her. She is always eager to do any task given to her.  We love having her in Cardiology!”

“Jen is someone who unselfishly gives to others with everything she does and is truly deserving of this award.”

Frist Humanitarian Award (Provider): Winner – Dr. William Graff, Cardiology

2015 Frist Humanitarian Award (Physician) Winner William Graff, MD (right) with Chris Accashian, CEO

2015 Frist Humanitarian Award (Physician) Winner William Graff, MD (right) with Chris Accashian, CEO

From staff who work with Dr. Graff:

“Dr. Graff is a compassionate, hardworking and dedicated physician…he provides outstanding patient care and his loyal patients will attest to that.”

“Dr. Graff is an incredible person. He has been to South America to give aid to people who would never have been able to get the care they needed.”

“Dr. Graff is a true humanitarian. He has traveled to Ecuador five times with a group of physicians providing free primary care to many.  He has a big heart that is felt by many.  He often stays very late to ensure all patients are seen and given thorough, quality care.  I can’t think of a more deserving physician.”

HCA Excellence in Nursing Award (Professional Mentoring): Winner – Angela Donahue, RN – Med Surg

2015 From left: Eileen Keefe, CNO; Angela Donahue, RN; Chris Accashian, CEO

2015 HCA Excellence in Nursing Award (Professional Mentoring) Winner Angela Donahue, RN (center) with Eileen Keefe, CNO (left) and Chris Accashian, CEO (right)

From those who work with Angela:

“Angela is a critical thinker and problem solver. There is no situation she can’t figure out.  Angela is patient and calm and I am so lucky to have her as my peer.”

“As a mentor and preceptor Angela is warm, caring, patient and a wonderful role model to new nurses. She takes the time to teach proper techniques and include new nurses to feel part of the team.”

“She models the mission, vision and values of Parkland in every interaction with colleagues, patients and their families.”

“Angela was a fabulous mentor to me throughout my orientation. She has provided me a solid foundation as I begin my career here at Parkland.  I idolize her genuine compassion for the patients and soothing personality.  Her patience and kind personality has made my orientation and working with her the best experience.”

HCA Excellence in Nursing Award (Compassionate Care): Winner – Jennifer Johnson, RN – O.R.

2015 HCA Nursing Excellence

2015 HCA Excellence in Nursing Award (Compassionate Care) Winner Jennifer Johnson, RN-O.R. (left) with Chris Accashian, CEO


From those who work with Jenn:

“Jenn is the most dedicated, compassionate person professionally and personally. Her goal is always to provide the best patient care and always considers other’ concerns for work/life balance (ahead of her own, sometimes!)”

“She is an exceptional nurse that goes above and beyond consistently. Her positive attitude, coupled with her extensive knowledge inspires the other members of our department to do better and be better.”

“She has elevated her knowledge base to head the O.R. team with grace, dignity, fairness, knowledge, dedication and with the utmost concern for her colleagues and with great humility.  I am in awe of her!”


Congratulations again to all the winners and nominees.  Thank you to all who took the time to acknowledge the excellence around you every day.


Dr. Alphonse Baluta

Dr. Alphonse Baluta

Dr. Alphonse Baluta

Born in Syracuse, NY as the first of five children, Dr. Alphonse Baluta tells the story about how he got his name. Dr. Baluta’s father, a WWII veteran and silver star recipient, also named Alphonse, was the youngest of eight kids whose father immigrated from what is now Poland. Dr. Baluta relayed how his grandfather traveled through Europe and was ultimately helped by a Frenchman named Alphonse who secured his travel to America. His grandfather was so indebted to this man that both his son and grandson got the name Alphonse. Dr. Baluta can tell a great story and it’s no wonder as I learned that this physician of 35+ years actually majored in English Literature at Columbia University!

It is daunting to write about a man so skilled with words (fortunately, Dr. Baluta allowed me to share his own through this post). But before we get to Dr. Baluta’s parting words, I want to say “thank you, Dr. Baluta,” for spending quality time with me this week to share your story — more importantly, thank you for spending more than 33 years in this community, serving thousands of families with an unwavering commitment to compassionate and patient-centered care.

As Dr. Baluta writes in his farewell letter to patients below, he embraced medicine as an opportunity live a life where he was invited into the lives of others. He was attracted to the notion of being a small town doctor and raising a family near his hometown; ultimately, that town became Londonderry/Derry because he met a young woman during medical school that had family in Nashua. They were married on April 23, 1977 — a date he could never forget because it was the same as Shakespeare’s birthday (and, as Dr. Baluta points, also the same date as his death).

The English literature degree from Columbia came in handy, but how did it lead him to a career in medicine? Although naturally adept at math and science growing up, Dr. Baluta points to a high school teacher for stimulating his fascination with literature. That teacher, also a Columbia grad, influenced young Alphonse enough to follow in his footsteps. After graduating from Columbia, Dr. Baluta spent a couple years teaching in the south Bronx. Funding was soon cut and he needed a new direction. He wanted a career worthy of honor, and with the guidance of a physician uncle, Dr. Baluta found his way to medical school.

The rest of the story is full of ups and downs, but after talking with Dr. Baluta, it’s easy to see what so many of his patients and colleagues admire. Quotes from patients include:

“It is hard to find a caring, knowledgeable doctor and that is exactly what I had in Dr. Baluta.”

“Dr. Baluta is a fantastic doctor and a better person.”

“Dr. Baluta is a thorough, intelligent, kind and caring doctor. He takes whatever time is needed to answer my questions and get an accurate update about my conditions.”

Dr. Baluta is spending this last week on a well-deserved farewell tour and with his permission I wanted to share this letter he sent out to patients:

When I first came to Londonderry in August 1982, I had much anticipation about future events. First, my young family of three was about to welcome a fourth in two months. Second, I was about to embark on the challenge of establishing a solo practice of medicine in a community where I was a complete newcomer. And, in both instances, in the roles of family man and local physician I had but the experience of only five years. I hoped that I could satisfy the expectations of the three who already depended on me and those whom I did not yet know but would work for the privilege and responsibility to serve as their doctor in the years to come. My goal was to have something of a life where I could be a part of other lives and somehow add some value to them.

Over the years I have worked diligently and consistently to achieve these modest goals. I measure my success not so much in the gratitude and accolades of family, friends, colleagues and patients but more in the treasure of myriad memories and shared experiences in dealing with both prosperity and adversity. In trying to be a teacher and a healer, I have found that I have in turn been taught much and in my own particular challenges healed by the kindness and appreciation of all who have let me be a part of their lives for these last 33 and ½ years. 

Yours Truly

Alphonse J. Baluta, MD, FACP

From left: Dr. Ed Schiavoni, Dr. Alphonse Baluta Dr. Theodore Brooks, Dr. Joe Cuniff, Dr. Richard Lafleur

At the retirement party with friends.  From left: Dr. Ed Schiavoni, Dr. Alphonse Baluta, Dr. Theodore Brooks, Dr. Joe Cuniff, Dr. Richard Lafleur


As part of that farewell tour we had the opportunity to gather with many of Dr. Baluta’s friends, family, colleagues and patients. Among Dr. Baluta’s many talents he revealed during his speech (at least to a few of us) that he was a poet. He recited a poem he had written. The poem’s origins are from a hike Dr. Baluta and a few friends made together back in college but it was written around the time he lost his wife to ovarian cancer — about 10 years ago.


There always are some things one can’t yet do,
Loose ends someone bedside at end attends,
Plans once planned out but never gotten to,
Remembered like lost unforgotten friends,
Who when youths shared one nearly perfect day
On a cloudless, windless mountain at noon;
And, pledged to reassemble the same way
Come some next sunny summer’s day in June,
Before they departed their separate routes;
Before they saw the years trudge by;
Before they would unlace their hiking boots;
Before the time had come for one to die.
Life gives us all so many things. It’s true.
We sometimes must let others see them through.

Naturally, as he retires and moves onto the next phase Dr. Baluta intends to catch up on a lot of loose ends, read, write and reconnect with lost but unforgotten friends.

Good luck Dr. Baluta and thank you!

Awards of Distinction

As we forge ahead into the New Year, many of us have thought about resolutions — big things we want to achieve or change in 2016. As I look ahead, I can’t help but reflect on 2015 and be grateful for what we already have and for what we achieved. I have touched on many aspects of 2015’s success in previous posts highlighting Parkland’s pillars of excellence (People, Quality, Service, Finance, Growth, Community) … starting with people.  Our people are Parkland Medical Center and without them there wouldn’t be much to write about!

Now is a great time to reflect on what (who) we have and resolve to be grateful for the people we work with each day. Every day there is an opportunity to say thank you, write a note or fill out an ICARE ballot to recognize a colleague or caregiver. Additionally, each year provides us with a special opportunity to recognize truly exceptional people through our Awards of Distinction.  What better way to meet a resolution of gratitude than by writing down who we are grateful to work with and why.


Parkland Medical Center is now accepting nominations for the 2015 HCA Awards of Distinction, which includes the Frist Humanitarian Award, the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award and the HCA Innovators Award. This is the first step in naming the recipient of the nationwide Frist Humanitarian Award and Nursing Excellence Award, the highest honors given to an employee, nurse, volunteer and physician at HCA.

The Frist Humanitarian Awards recognizes three HCA-affiliated individuals: an employee, a volunteer and a physician at each facility who demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their community. These awards are given annually in recognition of the humanitarian spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA.

The HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes the intrinsic value of nursing practice in accomplishing the company mission of providing the highest quality of care to the patients and communities we serve. The Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes two individuals: a compassionate nurse demonstrating exceptional knowledge and skill and a mentoring nurse who advances nursing practice in a clinical setting.

If you are reading this, I’m sure you know someone worthy of a nomination at Parkland Medical Center. As a family member, friend, colleague or patient you know better than anyone who is deserving of either the Frist or Nursing Excellence nomination (or both!).  Please take some time to nominate someone you know and respect who goes above and beyond serving our patients and community. Links to nomination forms are below. Nominations should be submitted to Parkland Medical Center Human Resources or emailed to by January 22nd.

Frist Award Nomination Form

Nursing Excellence Award Nomination Form

Additionally, The HCA Innovators Award recognizes that at HCA, “Even the Smallest idea can make a big impact.” Any full-time employee can submit ideas to one of three categories: Quality and Patient Safety, Service Excellence and Financial Impact. Parkland employees can submit ideas in consideration for the HCA Innovators Award at by January 22nd.

Thank you to those employees taking the time to submit an innovative idea and to everyone taking the time to nominate a deserving individual for either the Frist or Nursing Excellence award this year.

The “Holiday Spirit” Embodied All Year Long

Patricia Larrow has been working in Environmental Services (EVS) at Parkland for 13 years and is known for her tireless work ethic combined with relentless advocacy for colleagues and patients. Pat is a leader; she does not hesitate to speak out and stand up for what’s right. She puts her leadership and diplomacy skills to good use not only in her daily responsibilities serving the Emergency Department’s EVS needs, but also as a longtime member of Parkland’s Employee Advisory Group (EAG). Pat also is a two-time winner of the Parkland Pride Award.

These are the reasons I, along with many staff at Parkland know Pat Larrow; but there is so much more to Pat beyond her service excellence. I was curious to find out more after a recent conversation with our current Frist Humanitarian winner, Jill Lacaillade.

In Jill’s second year organizing Parkland’s Operation Warm coat drive for local school children in need, Jill (also an EAG member) mentioned Pat’s response and generous support. Jill relayed Pat’s enthusiasm for Operation Warm sparked by Pat’s own experience as a child. Jill also indicated how much Pat gave of her own resources to support fundraising over the past two years (a significant amount and easily the most donated by a single individual). I was inspired and Pat was gracious enough to sit down and share her story.

Patricia Larrow, Environmental Services Assistant, Employee Advisory Group Member

Patricia Larrow, Environmental Services Assistant, Employee Advisory Group Member

Originally from Lowell, MA, Pat described a difficult childhood as one of 18 total kids from a blended family. She grew up sharing a house with 10 of those children and in the middle of the pack (age-wise). As one might expect, most of Pat’s possessions were ‘hand-me-downs’ so when she got her first new coat, it was a significant and memorable moment. It wasn’t until Pat was 15 years old when she received that first new coat but she remembers it like yesterday, saying “it felt like a million dollars!” Pat remembers the coat vividly, fondly describing it as beige and plaid with a gold fur collar and gold cuffs.

Naturally, Pat jumped at the chance to support Jill and EAG’s efforts around Operation Warm. She knew firsthand how special she felt that day and wanted to help provide similar joy for area children — many of whom, like Pat, have never known the joyful experience and warm feeling of a new coat.

For the two years Parkland has been raising money to support the coat drive, Pat has sponsored six children each year giving nearly $250 in total! Jill initially hesitated . . . telling Pat she “couldn’t accept that much.” Pat’s response — “Yes you will!” Nothing stops Pat from doing what is right.

Jill Lacaillade (center) with group members and coats purchased from donations.

Jill Lacaillade (center) with Pam Richard (left) and Alicia Triplett (Right) from Derry Public Schools and coats purchased from donations.  Over $1200 was raised this year-more than double last year’s amount.

Pat Larrow’s moral compass and drive to do what’s right were developed early in life. Faced with adversity she made a conscious choice to rise above her circumstances and be a positive force for good. In Ohio, during her early 20s, Pat worked as a housekeeper for Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home and embraced the opportunity to serve. She showed such compassion and support for the residents that the nursing home director quickly encouraged her to be a nursing aid. But Pat’s service didn’t stop when she clocked out. After getting off around 11 p.m. each night, Pat and a friend would go home and make sandwiches to feed the community’s homeless. Lilies of the Field is what Pat and her colleague called the group and they grew to attract many area volunteers who served the homeless wherever they slept and in local soup kitchens.

Pat relayed a story about a man who was in line to get dinner at the soup kitchen one night. Others thought he had “resources” and expressed concern about him eating. Pat’s response: “You haven’t walked in his shoes. I don’t care if he’s a millionaire — we are going to serve him. If he’s here and in this line he needs us.”

Today, that high level of empathy and compassion continues to drive Pat’s advocacy for our patients and community. When she sees a patient in our emergency room she sees someone’s mother or brother. She knows they have a story and our job . . . her job . . . is not to judge but to treat them with respect and kindness – always.

Pat, thank you for sharing your story and for living the holiday spirit every day.  We are so proud of what you do and who you are. Merry Christmas!

If anyone is interested in supporting Operation Warm there is still plenty of need. Please contact Jill Lacaillade at if you want more information.

If you need more inspiration, find Pat!