Heather Lewis, a therapist at the O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center in Goldsboro is among this year’s winners of the North Carolina Governor’s Awards for Excellence, the highest honor a state employee may receive. Lewis won the award in the category of customer service.
She is among 20 nominees submitted to DHHS for consideration. The 11 individuals and three teams from across state government receiving the Governor’s Awards for Excellence this year were honored Nov. 19 during an awards program held at the N.C. Museum of History auditorium during a week set aside as Excellence in State Government week in honor of all nominees for the awards.
The program acknowledges and expresses appreciation for outstanding accomplishments that do not fall entirely within the scope of normal duties, but are in the nature of a major contribution reflecting credit on the person and state service. The meritorious service or accomplishment is so singularly outstanding that special recognition is justified.
Lewis met those criteria by going above and beyond her assigned duties in 2012 when the center announced that its 35-year old outdoor swimming pool would not reopen in the summer of 2013 due to its aged condition. The decision also coincided with the unexpected vacancies of two staff members in the aquatics program. Lewis was concerned about the impact these losses would have on the developmentally disabled adults who enjoy the program. She met with the director of professional services to search for other viable therapeutic options. The two met with other staff members to discuss the logistics of Lewis taking on the role of interim therapeutic care manager for the individuals left without aquatic therapy. Lewis did not hesitate to accept the challenge even though she would have to maintain her full caseload as well as take on the interim role.
Just a month after the last aquatics program vacancy occurred, Lewis had the program back up and running. She has since modified the swimming schedules to suit each individual’s needs.
Lewis, will receive three days of special leave from DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, and the 19 other nominees from DHHS will each receive a full day of special leave from Secretary Wos. All 20 employees will also receive a letter and certificate from the Secretary.
The other nominees and the categories they were nominated for are:
- Customer Service - Doris Alicea, Murdoch Developmental Center; Mary-Allison Bunch, Disability Determination Services; Dorothy Chapin, Cherry Hospital; Dr. Timothy Crawford, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center; Madge Marie Gupton, Central Regional Hospital; and Jean Parrish, Office of the Secretary.
-Outstanding State Government Service – Connie Barnette, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services; David Burton, Central Regional Hospital; Bryan Scott Elliott, Murdoch Developmental Center; Alice Jones, Disability Determination Services; Carolyn McClanahan, Division of Medical Assistance; Belinda Pettiford, Division of Public Health; Sharon Wilder, Division of Aging and Adult Services; and Priscilla Wortham, Murdoch Developmental Center.
- Human Relations – Robin Cohen, Central Regional Hospital; and Kay Daughtry, O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center.
- Efficiency & Innovation – Kandra Cook, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center; and Thomas Jones, O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center.
Other award categories are Public Service, Safety and Heroism, and Spirit of North Carolina.
Employees are nominated for the award by other state employees including their supervisors, co-workers and subordinates. Nominees must be permanent state employees, including managers and administrators, who are subject to the State Personnel Act. State agency educators may also be nominated.
Congratulations to our DHHS winner and nominees!