Mary Washington Healthcare recognized three women with the 2012 Spirit of Women awards given each year to unsung heroes in the community.
All three winners were picked from more than 20 nominations and the winners were announced last week at the John F. Fick III Conference Center. All three will be candidates for the National Spirit of Women Awards and could represent Mary Washington Healthcare at a ceremony on July 13 in Boca Raton, Flor.
The 2012 Spirit of Women Awardees are:
Kristen Roth, senior, Riverbend High School – Young Person Role Model
Riverbend Assistant Principal Amber Holloway, who nominated Roth, said she helped many people through her work at Crossroads Vineyard Church, serving the homeless population every month. She is a member of the worship team and serves as a mentor to her age group. She also is a musician who writers songs and performs to youth. She's been on a mission trip to Haiti where she worked at an orphanage and helped rebuild a school destroyed by an earthquake. She has been a friend to students with disabilities, encouraging them and boosting confidence. Holloway wrote that Roth's greatest gift is her kindness.
"I see how the young adults she befriends gain a great deal from her," Holloway wrote. "Those individuals improve their social skills; they increase their self-esteem and confidence as well as bring joy to their lives. However, when you speak with this young lady, she feels that she is the one blessed to have them in her life. It is amazing to see the sparkle in these individuals’ eyes because of the kindness of one person."
In the nomination letter, a message from a teacher who worked with Roth for her high school career was included: "There was a single moment that defined Kristen to me. After she did not win the Miley Cyrus contest, she was truly graceful. She spoke about how lucky she was to be a part of the contest and only mentioned the positives. She handled her loss with so much grace...it so impressed me. She is indeed a role model for young ladies!"
Andrea McConnell, founder of Fairy Godmother Project – Community Hero
The person who nominated McConnell wrote that when her 1-year-old daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, McConnell felt compelled to help.
"She raised money for us for treatment for our daughter through two fundraisers even though she had never fundraised before," the unnamed nominator wrote. "Once our treatment ended, she went ahead to start a non-profit that benefits local families whose children have cancer. She does this all as a mother of three children, 6 and under, and a wife of a husband who travels endlessly for work. (She fundraised for us while he was away in Afghanistan.)"
McConnell helping this family inspired her to found The Fairy Godmother Project, a nonprofit that helps ease the pain of families of children with pediatric cancer. In less than a year, McConnell created a network of 70 volunteers who provide meals, clean, organize homes, do lawn care and professional photographs for families while their children are having cancer treatments. She also works well with out nonprofit groups to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and has strong ties to the media to help her get the message out.
Gail Perkins, RN, Mary Washington Healthcare Forensic Nurse Program- Healthcare Hero
Perkins has dedicated a lot of time to the health and safety of women in the Fredericksburg area for years. She has expertise in women's and children's sexual assault issues and shows great concern for crime victims in her professional and sensitive handling of each case, which led her to found and establish the child advocacy center at Safe Harbor.
"Thanks to her and her influence with people, co-workers, supervisors, administrators, and policymakers, Mary Washington Healthcare not only sustained a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s Program, but she developed it further to expand into Forensic nursing," according to the nomination letter. "What is now called the Forensic Services Department delivers nursing care and sensitive and compassionate crime evidence collection to persons traumatized and injured by crimes of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and child abuse."
Perkins is a leader, coalition builder, trainer and community partner, according to the nomination. She is an active member of the Coalition for a Community Without Violence, an organization of service providers that educates the community on violent crimes, especially child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
"She is inspired by her work as a forensic nurse and nursing supervisor and wants to see an end to the violence perpetrated against women and children," the nomination reads. "She worked with the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence to form a working group to bring a program to the emergency departments in which healthcare professionals screen for intimate partner violence and then call the local domestic violence hotline to seek in-person domestic violence advocacy services to include risk assessment, support, education, case management, and safety planning."