North Santa Rosa

Baptist Health Care recognizes Legend winners

PENSACOLA, Fla. (March 14, 2013) – Baptist Health Care recently recognized seven employees for exceptional service by honoring them with the organization’s highest achievement, the 2012 Legend award. These team members work at BHC facilities across the two-county area, and they went above and beyond to help others in our community.

Annually, a handful of employees are selected as BHC Legends for their inspiring stories that leave positive long-term memories in the minds of co-workers, patients and community members. Their stories stir a similar measure of passion and dedication in those around them. Legends exemplify the mission of the only locally owned, not-for-profit health care organization by offering superior service, whether they are on or off the clock. They give selflessly.

Baptist Health Care Legends for 2012 include:

·        Working to help children find safe, comforting and happy homes is demanding and can be heart-wrenching. It requires effort on behalf of a very large team. Each person plays a key role, but in some cases, a special person will take on more to make a memorable impact on a child’s life.

As a foster parent liaison, Caroline Klagesis that person who goes to extraordinary lengths to help her clients and the children under the care of Families First Network. Her exceptional efforts have come to be so frequent that her supervisors describe them as “just being Caroline.”
One example is the compassion and thoughtfulness she showed to a child whose complex needs failed to fit any specialized foster care program. It was difficult to find a home for her, but Caroline recruited a family and personally conducted the pre-service training.

In another instance, Caroline convinced someone to donate a violin to a child whose instrument had been sold by a family member. Another time, she found an optometrist willing to help a child who came into foster care wearing her grandfather’s glasses so she could see. Caroline is a very giving person and her caring nature supersedes her regular job role. She touches lives.
Caroline Klages is a Good Samaritan for the families and children she serves. For Lakeview Center and Families First network, she is a Legend for “just being Caroline.”

·        One summer, J.R. Lee stepped up to help a co-worker who was on vacation when tragedy struck at home.

The department where J.R. and his co-worker work received a frantic call from the co-worker’s neighbor who urgently needed to talk to her. The neighbor explained to a team member that the co-worker’s grandmother had been found unresponsive at her home.

After a telephone conversation to calm and discuss the situation with his co-worker, J.R. sprung into action on her behalf. He clocked out and drove to the grandmother’s home. The co-worker’s son was staying with his grandparents while his mother was out of town, and when J.R. arrived he found the son and grandfather in utter shock. Both had gone to the store for less than an hour and returned to find the grandmother collapsed and unable to be resuscitated.
The scene was chaotic. Due to the nature of her death, several agencies had been summoned to the scene adding to the stress and trauma for the family.

J.R. stayed with the family and consoled them as best he could while keeping in contact with his co-worker who was frantically trying to return home. J.R. knew the son and grandfather needed to eat so he bought them dinner. The co-worker’s son left to stay with friends for the evening and J.R. didn’t want to leave the grandfather alone until other family members arrived from out of town. J.R. spent the night on the couch which gave the grandfather a tremendous sense of comfort.

J.R.’s support continued after his co-worker returned. He covered her shifts at work so that she could attend to her grandmother’s arrangements and care for her family. J.R. stays in touch with the grandfather to this day. The man has taken quite a liking to J.R. and appreciates his compassion and kindness very much.

·        A patient at Gulf Breeze Hospital was ready for discharge so she called her husband to let him know. The husband said he would be right there, but first he was going to drop off their dog at the pet groomer. Two hours later the patient’s husband had not shown up at the hospital. Concerned,Kathy Linkous spoke with the patient, got the name of the groomer and attempted to track down the husband. The groomer said the man dropped off the dog sometime earlier. As Kathy continued talking with the patient, she learned that her husband had mild Alzeheimer’s. Kathy immediately kicked into full motion. The police were notified of the situation and came to the hospital to gather information on the missing man, his vehicle and other helpful details.

By early evening the patient was tired, worried and just wanted to go home, but she didn’t have keys to her home nor did she have family members who lived nearby to drive her. Kathy assured the patient that everything would be OK, and then she arranged to have a locksmith meet them at the patient’s house to let them in. Kathy also contacted the pet groomer and asked her to stay open late so she could pick up the patient’s dog. That way the patient would at least have her pet to comfort her.

Thirty-six hours later, the patient’s husband drove up in the driveway. He had gotten lost, but purchased a map and finally found his way home. The patient was overwhelmed with gratitude for Kathy’s warm and helpful nature. Kathy is a hero in the patient’s mind and a true Legend for Baptist Health Care.

·        John Matson helped a difficult patient who presented to the emergency department and made a difference in the entire family’s life. When the man passed away, his family wrote a letter sharing their extreme gratitude for John’s help on behalf of their father. The son who wrote the letter shared that John “was given a very big assignment” taking on his dad. The man had medical and mental health issues and would not follow doctor’s orders.

John worked with the father and developed a good relationship, got him to take his medications, eat properly and face his mental health issues. He often didn’t like what John had to say, but he listened and grew to show great respect for John.

The father was admitted several times through the ED for a variety of issues from head injury to heart problems. When he saw John, it gave him an added level of comfort. After the father passed away, John attended the memorial service and even prepared a meal for the family. They couldn’t believe that anyone would show such personal attention and care.

John is an exceptional team member and wonderful human being. The family and Baptist team members are grateful for people like John. He is truly a              Legend for Baptist Health Care.

·        An elderly gentleman was admitted to Gulf Breeze Hospital after a fall. He needed to transition to a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy upon discharge from the hospital. Rita Potomski learned that the man lived alone with several pets and had no one to help care for his animals. He was very distressed and refusing to go where he needed to be to heal. He placed more importance on his pets’ well-being than his own.

Rita knew there was a high probability of injury and possible readmission to the hospital if he went straight home. She knew the patient needed to focus on getting well so he could remain independent. The only way to convince him to go to the skilled nursing facility was for someone to ensure care for his pets. Rita made him a promise that she would come to his aid.

She went to the patient’s home, packed a few essentials for him, and cared for his animals and home until he could leave the skilled nursing facility. She cleaned his home, purchased pet food and visited each day to care for his four-legged family. Rita’s reassurance was exactly what this patient needed to improve his health. 

The patient couldn’t believe that someone cared and could be that committed to helping him. Rita is a patient-advocate and gives of herself for their benefit – regardless of what it takes. She is a role model for her department and Legend for our health care system. She makes us all want to become better persons.

·        It is not unusual to hear that Peter Rozendale has gone above and beyond to care for a patient. He did so when one patient was admitted to Baptist Hospital following a traumatic accident between a vehicle and bicycle. The patient sustained multiple injuries and was in our care for months. Eventually, he was discharged to Baptist Manor.

On Labor Day weekend, Peter surprised the patient with a trip to see the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Peter purchased the tickets, went to Baptist Manor and picked up the man who is confined to a wheelchair and on oxygen. The pair went to the ballgame and then out to dinner. Beyond the walls of a health care facility they were free to enjoy an All-American day!

Peter continues to visit the patient and even keeps him supplied with his favorite treats. They exchanged cell phone numbers and keep in touch on a regular basis.

This is not the only instance of Peter giving of himself or going the extra mile to brighten a patient’s life. Many acts of kindness are common for Peter. He is a true hero of Baptist Health Care.

·        When a recurring transfusion patient returned to live in the rural area of Atmore, Alabama, he was no longer able to drive. He lives alone with no family members nearby. Often, he paid for the services of public transportation to bring him to the hospital for blood draws and transfusions.

Patrice Smith noticed that the man needed a helping hand, so she offered to help. She used her own resources to make sure he made it to his health care appointments.

Recently, he was admitted to another facility for a temporary rehabilitation, and on her day off, Patrice drove him from the hospital to the facility. She also helped him complete admission paperwork. She checked on him often and visited him during his stay. 

Patrice’s kindness didn’t stop there. She recognized that he could benefit from the Meals on Wheels program and contacted the program coordinators to expedite the enrollment process. 

Patrice continues to check on the patient often and drives him to his physician appointments and other places where he needs to go. She cares for people from the heart. We are proud to call her a colleague and a Legend of Baptist Health Care.

View a video of the Baptist Health Care 2012 Legends, at

Posted by on Mar 15 2013. Filed under Happenings, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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