Two local hospital employees honored

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Ten area hospital employees were honored for their dedication to the health care industry Jan. 14 at a luncheon in Decatur hosted by the North Alabama Regional Hospital Council of the Alabama Hospital Association (AlaHA).
The luncheon is one of seven regional awards presentations being held in January as part of the association’s seventh-annual statewide “Hospital Heroes” contest, an effort to recognize the great accomplishments and compassion of hospital employees and to highlight health careers.
The contest will culminate with a banquet in February where up to 10 of the regional winners will be honored as statewide heroes.
North Alabama honorees included: Cary J. Payne, MHA, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Athens-Limestone Hospital, Athens; Tina Jones, Laboratory Assistant and Phlebotomist, Cullman Regional Medical Center, Cullman; Allyson Baker, RN, Care Coordinator, Kerry Bradford, RN, BSN, Medical Necessity Coordinator, and Toueria Morris, Charge Capture Analyst, Decatur General Hospital, Decatur; Emily Broussard, RN, Staff Nurse, and Lila S. Gray, CDM, BA, Director of Food Services, Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, Florence; Lori Moore, RN, BSN, Charge Nurse, Helen Keller Hospital, Sheffield; Belinda Johnson, RN, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer, and Beth Pirtle, RRT, Respiratory Therapist, Russellville Hospital, Russellville.
Belinda Johnson, RN, BSN, the chief nursing officer at Russellville Hospital, has spent more than 24 years in health care. During this time, she has developed a reputation as a leader who is committed to continuously improving patient care and encouraging others to do the same.
Her caring and compassion were strengthened during her own recent challenge, a battle with breast cancer. Not only did Johnson defeat the disease and finish in the top 10 of breast cancer survivors in a Susan G. Komen 5K, but she dedicated herself to increasing awareness and early detection of breast cancer in the community.
Johnson has been recognized as a “Hero of Hope” by the American Cancer Society and has held a number of leadership positions with the organization, including serving as an advocate for cancer research on the state and national level. She is known to spend many weekends participating in fundraisers or writing encouraging notes.
A fellow Cancer Society advocate said, “Her infectious message of hope has served as a beacon of light to so many individuals battling this terrible disease we call cancer.”
Another Russellville Hospital employee to be honored was Beth Pirtle.
Colleagues say her tenacity is matched only by her compassion and competency. Physicians trust her care and often seek her opinion on treatment plans.
She works hard to stay current on the industry and to better know her patients’ needs.
The White House recognized Pirtle as a Business Woman of the Year, and she currently serves as president of the Boys and Girls Club, chairman of Rape Response, and a member of the Westway Board and the Greater Shoals Rotary Club.
She is known for the cakes she bakes for friends and co-workers, always delivered with a smile.