LUMBERTON — UNC Health Southeastern presented awards honoring three employees for distinguished service and leadership, and for length of continuous service during the health care provider’s annual service awards banquet held in a modified format Tuesday in the medical center’s cafeteria.
Care Coordination Manager Stephanie Smith was named the 2020 winner of the John D. Drake Distinguished Service Award. Population Health Director Suzanne Jackson was named the 2020 winner of the W. Reid Caldwell Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award, and Food and Nutrition Services Expeditor Addie Mae Caple was honored for 50 years of continuous service.
“Stephanie’s knowledge and experience has been described as phenomenal and insurmountable,” said Joann Anderson, UNC Health Southeastern president and CEO. “Patient care and outcomes consistently drive her to become familiar with new practices and standards of care to ensure that patients are given the best resources and experiences possible within and outside of our organization. She is self-driven and always has a team mentality.”
Smith, who has been with the organization for 15 years, lives in Lumberton with her husband, Joey, and has two sons, Jordan and Garret. She is the 34th person to be named winner of the Drake Award, which was established by the board of trustees in 1988 to recognize exceptional service by employees. The Drake award was named in honor of the late John D. Drake, who retired as head cook in 1984 after 38 years of service.
To qualify for the Drake award, an employee must demonstrate high standards for personal performance on the job, loyalty and dedication to the organization, an excellent attendance record, respect by fellow workers, leadership skills, and a caring attitude to fellow employees and guests of the organization.
Jackson has worked for the organization for 22 years. Her responsibility areas include Care Coordination, Southeastern Hospice and Southeastern Hospice House, and WoodHaven Nursing, Alzheimer’s, and Rehabilitation Center. She lives in Lumberton with her husband, Derek, and their son, Tanner.
“Suzanne excels in all areas of her professional life, courageously stepping out and accepting new opportunities and new challenges,” Anderson said. “She leads her team with clarity of the goals defined and the passion of a leader trying to achieve excellence. She is tenacious in reaching a goal, supports her team and looks to them to demonstrate the success.”
To qualify for the Caldwell award, which was established in June 2016 in honor of former Vice President and Government Affairs Officer Reid Caldwell, a UNC Health Southeastern leader must serve at the director level or higher with five or more years of service and must exemplify the fulfillment of the mission, vision, values and standards of behavior of the organization while serving as a mentor to other leaders, removing barriers and contributing to a learning and advancing organization.
Smith and Jackson were awarded a framed certificate and an engraved watch as part of their respective awards. Their names will be added to plaques that are permanently displayed in the medical center’s main corridor.
Caple, originally from Pembroke and currently living in Lumberton, first joined the organization in 1957 and worked until 1970, leaving the organization for three months in 1970 before returning with continued service for 50 years since her return. She has worked in the Food and Nutrition Services department throughout her career. Her daughter is Stephanie Caple and her sisters are Gale Blackmon, Aggie Rogers and Dorothy McRae.
“I want to thank you for the last 50 years of serving Southeastern and our community,” Anderson said. “On behalf of the board of trustees, the administrative team and the entire organization, thank you for your dedication and for everything that you have served us over the past 50 years, especially your buttermilk pie!”
Caple joins four other UNC Health Southeastern employees who reached the 50-year milestone: Beatrice Leggett, Hal Stephens, Phyllis Richardson and Jesse Stephens.
Previous winners of the Drake award were: 1988, Julia Harris; 1989, Addie Mae Caple; 1990, Beatrice Leggett and Vashti Pittman; 1991, Thelma Jean Reeves; 1992, Paula McLean; 1993, Shirley Thompson; 1994, Sonya Oxendine; 1995, Terry Carter; 1996, Vera McDowell; 1997, Jimmy Page; 1998, James E. Jones; 1999, JoAnn Falls and Myrtle Oxendine; 2000, Patricia Davis; 2001, Sherri Hayes; 2002, Doris Madden; 2003, Mary Catherine Buie; 2004, Noel Bounds; 2005, Cynthia George; 2006, Rhonda Carter; 2007, Anne Marie Hendren; 2008, Myrtle Wilcox; 2009, Audrey Cox; 2010, Bryan Hilbourn; 2011, Merry Hardin; 2012, Gerard McRae; 2014, Jeff Edge; 2015, Lisa A. Hunt; 2016, Lori Corbett; 2017, Jeanine Lawson; 2018, Phillip Knecht; and 2019, Heather McQueen.
Previous winners of the Caldwell award were Elizabeth Kirschling, 2016; Cynthia George, 2017; Jonathan Everson, 2018; and Steve Elgin, 2019.