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Introducing the Legends Award; First recipient, Tammy Rockafellow

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  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
Introducing the Legends Award; First recipient, Tammy Rockafellow

Recognizing the great work that our employees do every day is important to Campbell County Health, and this year we've announced a great many changes to our employee recognition program:

As you can see, employees of all levels have multiple ways to receive recognition. Now we want to introduce you to the Legends Award. Atop of the internal nomination form sits this description:

Legends are those people who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation for greatness make someone a legend.

As you can read, this is our most prestigious award. The Legends Award honors employees at CCH who demonstrate ongoing exceptional customer service, work ethic and are committed to Campbell County Health's mission, vision and values. And their exceptional service doesn't stop when they walk out our doors at the end of their shift—they are also committed to the health and wellbeing of our community as a volunteer in their church, school, social group or in other ways.

As awards are given, we plan to highlight these legendary staff members for our community to learn about as well. CCH leadership will also spotlight these Legends at our annual banquet held in December.

Today, with great pleasure, we announce our first Legends Award recipient: Tammy Rockafellow, Environmental Services.

woman holding an item

Tammy has been with Campbell County Health for nearly 27 years in Laundry and Environmental Services helping to care for patients by keeping linens and rooms clean. Many of the patients who Tammy interacts with would call her an angel.

CCH Infection Preventionist Baerbel Merrill and her husband were in the Intensive Care Unit this year when Tammy did something that may explain why people consider her an "angel on Earth": she handed Baerbel two crystal angels with a wish for her husband to have a speedy recovery. Touched by the sentiment, Baerbel asked where Tammy picked up the angel and why she received one. What she found out made her want to recognize Tammy for her good deed: See, Tammy hand makes these angels out of beads she purchases herself on her own time and gives them, when appropriate, to patients' and their family members who are in the ICU. She does this for every patient she interacts with or for staff who may just need an extra pick-me-up during the day.

"This meant so much to me at that time and I believe it must also mean a lot to other patients' families," Baerbel said. "Often times the small things that are done go unrecognized, but I think that this show of caring offered by Tammy is what CCH leadership means when we talk about 'Care and Compassion'."

These one-of-a-kind angels that Tammy creates do mean a lot to patients and their families. Jeanie Trudo, CCH Director on Environmental Services, recounted a story of an ICU patient who received an angel from Tammy. While Tammy was on vacation, this patient was transferred to Hospice and her angel pin was unintentionally left on a gown.

"The patient's family contacted me and was very concerned that the angel Tammy had given their mother was lost. And, the patient was very upset that she didn't have her angel to protect her," Jeanie said.

Tammy had found the patient's pin, and brought it home with her for safe keeping until she could give it to the patient when she returned from vacation. Since the patient had formed such an attachment to the pin, she was given a new pin to help keep her calm until Tammy returned.

Tammy's angel pins are also talked about on social media. On March 18, 2015, one patient posted a RAVE on the popular Facebook group Gillette, Wyoming Rants and Raves.

"RAVE to the house keeper at the hospital cleaning my room this morning. She gave me this little angel pin and says that she makes one for everyone she cleans for. How sweet is that? I just wanted to thank this angel again, made my day!"

This rave received 152 likes on the page, and 30 comments—some from patients and family members who also received an angel.

When asked why she hands out these angels to patients, Tammy humbly replied, "The angel will put a smile on their face – that's what it's about for me."


Tammy's angel project began in the fall of 2014 while she was cleaning at the Close to Home Hospice Hospitality House. A patient in the house gave Tammy an angel, and the feeling it gave her inspired her to create angels for patients. She believes she's given out nearly 1,000 angels. She keeps a box of 40-60 pins ready to go at all times, and tries to carry 20 with her every day to give out.

"They (patients) don't want to be sick and in the hospital in the first place. I'm simply trying to put a smile on their face, and give them a good experience while they are here during what may be a bad day for them," Tammy says.

In the past, Tammy cleaned at Pioneer Manor and formed connections with many of the residents. She would often help the Manor's activity department after her shift was over, or come in on the weekend to spend time making the resident's lives better. She's also been quite helpful with the Manor's annual garage sale in the past.

According to colleagues and many CCH employees, Tammy has a positive, caring spirit and she will do whatever it takes to help our patients be comfortable during their stay in the ICU. She is also a mentor and a go-to person for many new employees within Environmental Services.

"She is always thinking ahead. She shares ideas with management on how to improve processes and stream-line the workload," says Jeanie. "Tammy puts the quality of her cleaning at the highest level and always wants her rooms to be 'picture perfect.'"

Tammy's angel pin project has likely touched more than 1,000 patients since it began, and has left a lasting impression on the care she provides in the ICU. Thank you, Tammy, for going the extra mile and putting a smile on the faces of those you interact with every day. We are proud to have you on our team.

Is there a CCH employee who went the extra mile or shows you extraordinary service? Give them a pat on the back by completing an Excellence Every Day card.

  • Category: CCH News, CCMH News, Close to Home Hospice Hospitality House, Employee Recognition, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Patient Care, Legend Award