Grace Drone, lab aide (South)
For more than two decades, Sophie Gutterman has been taking Coumadin. The anticoagulant drug necessitates that she have her blood drawn on a sometimes weekly basis at the South Site's Laboratory Department to see if the medication is working.
For the last 16 years, Mrs. Gutterman has been a regular patient of lab aide Grace Drone whose calm, professional and friendly demeanor has made their appointments into something special.
"She's good to talk to," said Mrs. Gutterman during a recent visit to the lab. "She's a good listener."
And, she's not the only one who's singing Grace's praises.
Joshua Gutterman, who always accompanies his wife to her blood tests, was so impressed with Grace that he penned a letter to hospital administration.
"She not only does her job thoroughly and efficiently, but you actually look forward to going there," he wrote. Mr. Gutterman's letter earned Grace a Service Excellence Award.
Grace is one of 166 employees to receive the Service Excellence Award, which is given to employees based on letters and emails sent to the hospital from patients and patients' families.
This is the fourth time Grace has won – a testament to her ability to work with a range of patients from a young child fearful of a needle to an elderly patient with compromised veins.
Asked what she likes best about her job, Grace said: "You get to meet people like the Guttermans. It's not a 1-2-3 you're out type of situation. I get to sit down with people and talk."
Over the years, those conversations have revolved around Grace's children (she worked through both her pregnancies), the Gutterman's adult children and grandchildren, and current events.
"I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful she is," said Mr. Gutterman. "She really is like family. "