When Liz (Hawkins) Haas was a little girl, little did she know a movie she was watching would influence her career path; but it did, and it’s one she has found great reward in.
Haas, a Physical Therapist at Herrin Hospital, learned she would receive the 2015 RIC Strategic Alliance Employee Excellence Award during a program at the Carterville Community Center Thursday evening. She will travel to Chicago next month where she will be recognized during a special program.
She was among eight nominees from SIH facilities throughout southern Illinois. Haas was nominated for the work she did with two of her patients, a double leg amputee and a high school athlete.
The first had received prosthetic legs and was using a power wheelchair. When Haas learned he was living in a motel and couldn’t even afford a wheeled walker, she took action. She purchased him a walker and researched until she could find him an affordable housing program.
In the other case, the athlete she was working with had few clothes or athletic shoes – she provided his caregiver with the money to purchase them for him.
When asked why she chose to be a physical therapist, Haas replied, “I know it sounds silly, but when I was a little girl I watched the movie ‘Regarding Henry’, I saw how much physical therapy helped him – and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” The story is about a lawyer who survived a shooting; however, he lost his memory and had to seek rehabilitation therapy to regain his speech and mobility.
Haas said she was thrilled to receive the award; however, she is humbled by the experience. “I work with such amazing people,” said Haas. “I feel like the whole department should get this award.”
Other nominees include Jennifer Brimm, Physical Therapist Assistant, Rehab Unlimited-Harrisburg; Lori Daine – Rehabilitation Office Specialist, Rehab Unlimited-Logan Park; Zandra Fred, Physical Therapist Assistant, Rehab Unlimited – Murphysboro; Howard Mann, Athletic Trainer , Rehab Unlimited-Marion; Brian McIntosh, Registered Nurse, Acute Rehab; Jay Pardus, Physical Therapist, Rehab Unlimited West Frankfort and McLeansboro and Terra Vineyard, Registered Nurse, Acute Rehab, Herrin.
Jim Osborn, Executive Director of Rehabilitation Services – Southern Illinois Healthcare, said this marks the fourteenth year his department has been a part of the program. “Being nominated shows the character of the people working at our facilities,” said Osborn. “They are not striving to receive an award; they are just doing their jobs.”
Dr. Terrence Glennon, Physiatrist and Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services – Southern Illinois Healthcare said he hears from former patients on the “great” care they received while at SIH- RIC facilities. “We are all so glad to be here,” said Glennon. “We work in a wonderful place, and it’s because of the people in the trenches. Our staffs are hands on people; they are the ones who get it done.”
He also thanked Herrin Hospital Administrator Terence Farrell for always making the staff feel they are valued.