NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- HCA today announced the recipients of the 2007 Frist Humanitarian Award. Laurie Van Damme, RN, BN, a labor and delivery clinical nurse coordinator at Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, Fla. and Wolfgang "Yogi" Behr, a volunteer at St. David's South Austin Hospital in Austin, Texas, were honored today during a ceremony in Nashville.
Established in 1971, the awards honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. The Frist Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the caring spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA. Employees and volunteers who demonstrate commitment and dedication to care giving and humanitarianism are selected from around the country and honorees are recognized at the local level. The two national recipients are selected from more than 175 local honorees.
The highest honor HCA employees and volunteers can receive, the Frist Humanitarian Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient's choice and $5,000 in cash.
Laurie Van Damme, RN, BN, is clinical nurse coordinator, labor and delivery and coordinator for the Perinatal Bereavement Program at Brandon Regional Hospital. She is passionate about helping families who experience the devastation of perinatal loss. Van Damme created a bereavement brochure to educate families and developed a program to produce memorial videos to help initiate the healing process.
Van Damme has been featured as a speaker for the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and an account of her work with new mothers who had been sexually abused was published in the association's journal, Lifelines. She is active in her church and has participated in several mission trips to third-world countries.
"Laurie has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and compassion, dedicating her life to helping families cope during their time of grieving," said Jack O. Bovender, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HCA. "She is a wonderful representative of HCA and our colleagues who make patients lives better everyday."
As a volunteer in the St. David's South Austin Hospital's emergency room for the last 16 years, Wolfgang "Yogi" Behr has demonstrated unwavering commitment to serving others. Behr is known throughout the hospital for his random acts of kindness. He has been known to purchase new scrubs for the nursing staff, treat employees and patients to gifts on their birthdays, cover shifts for his volunteer teammates and work beyond his scheduled time when the ER becomes busier than usual.
Behr's involvement in the community and his church are also examples of his dedication to serving others. A volunteer at Hospice Austin since 2001, he is also a member of Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) and serves at the Marbridge Foundation, where he has been the Special Olympics coach for four years. He makes time to care for elderly friends by taking them to doctors' appointments, helping with chores and occasionally preparing meals. He delivers donated bread items for Project Bread, a ministry of his church, Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian. Behr supports the Capital Area Food Bank, the Salvation Army and the Uniform Services Organization in his community. He sponsors a child in Africa through World Vision and is traveling to a developing country in June with his wife to help build homes for people in need.
"Yogi's generosity brings joy to people wherever he goes, and he is a ray of light and hope," said Bovender. "He is an indispensable member of the South Austin Hospital team and his community, and we are honored to recognize his many contributions."
All references to "Company" and "HCA" as used throughout this document refer to HCA Inc. and its affiliates.