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National 'Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award' Winners Announced

Cherokee Uniforms recognizes healthcare professionals for service,

sacrifice and innovation

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Now celebrating five years of honoring the nation's healthcare heroes, Cherokee Uniforms announced today 10 winners of the 2007 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Selected from over 1,000 nominations nationwide, the winners represent a cross-section of healthcare facilities, from VA medical centers and regional cancer centers to community hospitals and home hospice providers. Although each winner has their own distinct story about caring for others, all of them share the same mission day after day -- to provide the best care possible to those in need.

"Cherokee Uniforms is proud to honor these 10 outstanding individuals for their dedication, skill, compassion and devotion. This award was created to acknowledge healthcare professionals who often sacrifice their own desires to fulfill the needs of others," said Michael Singer, president and CEO of Cherokee Uniforms. "We hope the winners' stories will inspire all healthcare workers to continue giving their best. We also hope they encourage others to consider careers in this rewarding industry."

A panel of nurse leaders, former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients and Cherokee Uniforms professionals selected the honorees who were nominated for their exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation by colleagues, friends and family. Nominations were received in five categories: Advanced Practice Nurse, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional.

This year's Grand Prize, Top National and National Winners are:

Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs)

Grand Prize Winner -- Margaret Talley, RN, CNS, CWCN-AP -- Palomar

Pomerado Health, Escondido, California

Upon discovering a much higher rate of pressure ulcer prevalence than the national benchmark, Talley took an existing wound care program to the next level by first initiating a one-on-one mentoring process with the RN skin team. With Talley leading the team's outreach activity, the percentage of medical patients with hospital-acquired pressure ulcers dropped from 10 percent to three percent.

Top National Winner -- Robyn Anderson, APRN, BC-PC -- James J. Peters VA

Medical Center, Bronx, New York

Anderson uses her kindness and compassion to reach and treat veterans besieged by aggression, personality disorders and mental illnesses. She is admired for her ability to develop personal connections with her patients, often by providing a comforting ear and giving them hope and encouragement at a time when they need it most.

Registered Nurses (RNs)

Grand Prize Winner -- Joan Delk, RN, BSN, COHN-S -- Moses Cone Regional

Cancer Center, Greensboro, North Carolina

Delk formed a strong bond with a female patient from Sudan who was being treated for Acute Leukemia. Discovering the woman had no family in the United States, Delk took it upon herself to create a comfortable place for the patient to stay by inviting the woman into her own home. Additionally, Delk worked with government officials to have the patient's brother brought to the U.S. to serve as a bone marrow donor for his sister.

Top National Winner -- Brenda Spurling, RN, BSN -- Veterans Administration

Healthcare System, Batavia, New York

Spurling understands the need to feel connected to home while in a medical facility. As nurse manager of the Veteran's Administration Healthcare System's dementia unit, Spurling transformed the once medically-modeled facility into a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for the patients who reside there. Now called "Pine Lodge," the colorful unit has a lounge area, mock fireplace and offers plenty of activities for residents.

National Winner -- Tracy Mauro, RN, BSN -- Medical Center of Plano, Plano,


After encountering a traumatic car accident on a freeway, she risked death by rushing to check for survivors. As she waited for emergency personnel to arrive, she comforted and encouraged the lone survivor, making sure he concentrated on her instead of the horrible scene around him. Today he lives.

National Winner -- Gary Dean Parker, Ph.D, MS, BSN -- Mercy Health Center,

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

After a young woman died in his ER from self-inflicted wounds, he became a crusader against suicide, the second leading cause of death for young Oklahomans. Through extensive research, Parker became an instrumental part of the training process for youth suicide prevention and intervention programs in place by the state and has taught more than 2,200 doctors, nurses, teachers and school counselors. Mercy Health Center adopted his program and one of the state's premier nursing schools now includes it in their curriculum. He has presented his findings on a state level and at an international health conference in China.

Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses (LPNs/LVNs)

Grand Prize Winner -- Fawn Fitz, LPN -- Community Memorial Healthcenter,

South Hill, Virginia

Rushing through a crowded airport, Fitz encountered a man lying on the floor, seemingly lifeless. With the ability to stay calm in a life-threatening situation, Fitz began administering CPR. After learning that the airport had an Automatic External Defibrillator, she used the device to shock the man twice. He finally began to regain his heart rhythm before paramedics arrived.

Top National Winner -- Margaret Stewart, LPN -- Barberton Citizens

Hospital, Barberton, Ohio

When a colleague's husband experienced renal failure, Stewart contacted a transplant coordinator and had herself tested as a possible donor. She was a match and donated her kidney. During her complicated 13-month recovery, Stewart still managed to extend her sincere compassion and encouragement to others with her invention of "comfort blankets." Stewart makes the blankets by hand and embroiders them with inspirational messages. She has never turned down a blanket request, some as far away as Florida.

Student Nurses

Grand Prize Winner -- Stephen Moulton, Student Nurse -- Louisiana State

University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Moulton impressed his instructor the most with his commitment to patients, particularly with a young woman and her newborn son who had just been born at 19 weeks gestation. When Moulton was told that the baby still had a beating heart, he requested to care for him. Since every room was occupied, he rolled the baby's crib into the utility room and wrapped the infant in a warm blanket. While the instructor went to find the mother, Moulton stayed behind swaddling the baby, not allowing the child to die alone. Shortly after, Moulton took the infant to his mother so that she could see her child one last time.

Non-Physician Healthcare Professionals

Grand Prize Winner -- Marie Coleman, CHHA, CNA -- Homeside Hospice, East

Brunswick, New Jersey

Coleman's patients consider her as more than a caregiver; in fact, most of them would call her a friend. As a home health aide, Coleman cared for a 92-year-old woman who was experiencing a significant decline in health. By spending time to find out about the woman's life before her illness, Coleman was able to bring the patient out of her depression, giving her hope for improvement. Shortly after, the patient made amazing progress.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two. Additional prize winners in each category will each receive an all-expense-paid trip to a 2008 U.S. medical conference of his or her choice and an annual membership to a preferred clinical association. Additionally, top national winners will receive a donation of $500 to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice. All award winners will receive a trophy, a medical wardrobe of Cherokee scrubs and Rockers footwear, and will be included in the nationally distributed Cherokee 2008 Inspired Comfort Award calendar.

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 5,300 healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of nursing professionals and Cherokee representatives evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination received in 2007, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to national health-centered charities. The total amount was divided equally among the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Alzheimer's Association. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated over $3,300. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an annual calendar and the A Nurse I Am Film and Scholarship Program. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2008 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2008 through May 31, 2008. For further information on the award, please visit

About Cherokee

Cherokee Uniforms, Tooniforms and Rockers Footwear are leading brands in healthcare apparel, recognized for helping to foster a warmer, friendlier, more comfortable environment for healthcare workers and their patients. For more information, visit

SOURCE Cherokee Uniforms
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