UNC Health Southeastern presents awards, honors workers for 40 years of service
LUMBERTON — Infection Control Manager Sherry Edwards was named the 2021 winner of the John D. Drake Distinguished Service Award and Pharmacy Director Eric Locklear was named the 2021 winner of the W. Reid Caldwell Jr., Distinguished Leadership Award during UNC Health Southeastern’s annual service awards banquet held June 16 in the medical center’s cafeteria.
Six teammates were honored for 40 years of continuous service. They were Pharmacy Tech Martha J. Ammons, Laboratory Manager Elizabeth Ammons, Gibson Cancer Center Secretary Janet Hester, Respiratory Therapist Cathy Jackson, Inpatient Clinical Assistant Alice Richardson, and Patient Access Supervisor Bernice Wilson.
“Sherry’s knowledge and experience in the area of Infection Control as well as general health care is exceptional,” said Dr. Joe Roberts, UNC Health Southeastern vice president and chief medical officer. “She advises health care professionals on all levels and roles as well as speaks and teaches in the community.”
In January, Edwards received recognition from the North Carolina Healthcare Association as a Healthcare Hero. The award recognizes front-line Healthcare Heroes who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, went above and beyond the call of duty and their day-to-day job to make a difference for patients, co-workers or within their communities.
Edwards is the 35th 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.
Edwards resides in Lumberton and has worked for UNC Health Southeastern for 29 years. She has a son, Benjamin.
Locklear has worked for the organization for 32 years. 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.
“On a day-to-day basis, Eric is dependable, honest, and dedicated, but where he truly shines as a leader is during a crisis,” said Renae Taylor, UNC Health Southeastern vice president and chief nurse executive. “John Maxwell states ‘the place to handle a crisis is not from behind a desk but in front of the people.’ This certainly describes Eric’s leadership style during the aftermath of two hurricanes and a global pandemic — in all three situations, he was present every day and contributed to every process. During the hurricanes, his area developed systems even when we had no computer records. During the pandemic, he was the leader in education, acquisition, management and distribution.”
Locklear originally is from Pembroke. He currently lives in Lumberton with his wife, Lenora. He has one son, Hunter.
Edwards and Locklear were presented a framed certificate and an engraved clock as part of their respective awards. Their names also will be added to plaques that are permanently displayed in the medical center’s main corridor.
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; and 2020, Stephanie Smith.
Previous winners of the Caldwell award were Elizabeth Kirschling, 2016; Cynthia George, 2017; Jonathan Everson, 2018; and Steve Elgin, 2019; Suzanne Jackson, 2020.