ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County Hospice honored Lori Jenkins, a home care nurse for hospice, as employee of the year during a presentation Wednesday at the facility off U.S. Route 1 in Rockingham.
Three others — Peggy Gatewood, a home care nurse, Sinatras Slater, a certified nursing assistant, and Lisa O’Neal, volunteer coordinator — also were nominated. The nominations and votes for the winner all come from hospice employees.
Executive Director Mary Ellen Shea said that the nominations for Jenkins noted her as a very wonderful worker who had the most compassion and care for patients as well as co-workers.
“She is a real asset to our team,” Shea said.
Jenkins has been with Richmond County Hospice for nearly two years, but she has already made an impact on the patients she has helped with.
Shea said that she received a phone call from a caregiver, whose parent was under hospice care, who said that Jenkins was the best nurse he had ever come into contact with.
“I very seldom get those calls,” Shea said. “He was very grateful for all that Lori did for his family.”
Jenkins graduated from Richmond Community College in 1999 with a degree in nursing. Since then she worked for Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg in pediatrics and orthopedics for 13 years before finally moving to hospice.
“My mom was a hospice patient with Scotland County’s hospice, and going through that experience with her is what inspired me to work here,” Jenkins said. “It’s my way of paying her back.”
Jenkins was unable to believe that she had been chosen for the honor.
“I really was caught off guard,” Jenkins said. “I think everyone here is employee of the year.”
Chris Thornton, who oversees the landscaping at hospice haven, has had a personal experience with Jenkins and understands why it was she won.
“Lori worked with my grandma before she died and she became part of the family,” Thornton said. “My grandma loved to laugh and Lori was always there laughing with her, and when my grandma passed my mother leaned on Lori a lot. She was always there for us.”
Jenkins just saw it as part of her job.
“I love my job,” Jenkins said. “I love my patients, and I treat them the way I wanted my mom to be treated. I plan on being here a long time.”