Marreel Excellence in Service Awards - 2019

The Marreel Awards are named after Julia and Tom Marreel, long-time supporters of the Dignity Health Foundation – East Valley. Julia’s father was a physician leader at Chandler Regional and her mother was a surgical nurse. For 10 years, the Marreel Excellence in Service Awards have recognized individuals who provide outstanding service and care to patients and their families. The winners are chosen by the Marreel family. 

Congratulations to the following East Valley staff and volunteers who recently received the esteemed Marreel Excellence in Service Awards, for going above and beyond their daily job to bring humankindness and service excellence to our patients and their families.

Click on each recipient’s name to read their bio and watch a short video.

Dr. David Salvatore
Stroke Program Director 

    Patti Cronin
Nutrition Services, Retail Manager

Terry Peterson 
Stroke Coordinator 

    Chuck Murray
Material Supply Coordinator, Surgery

Euly Smith
Stroke Coordinator
    Lois Shugarr
Volunteer Services

Laurie Bell, RN
Intensive Care Unit
    Jim Kern 
Volunteer Services

Dr. David Salvatore, Stroke Program Director
Mercy Gilbert and Chandler Regional Medical Centers 

Dr. Salvatore is beloved by patients and staff alike. He was nominated by stroke team members who claim he gives the true meaning of their slogan “hope, joy and the new normal” to every stroke patient he treats. A recent patient said, “Everyone here has gone above and beyond because they listen to me and really care. I especially like that Dr. Salvatore has bonded with me; we may actually go golfing some afternoon.” There are dozens of quotes about Dr. Salvatore, another favorite coming from a patient who said, “Dr. Salvatore was very knowledgeable, and he has a terrific sense of humor which was a great comfort to the family.”

The entire stroke team is impressed with how much of his own time he gives to support them and the patients. This year he even became a volunteer and featured speaker at stroke camp. Dr. Salvatore was so enthralling they had to pretty much cut him off from speaking as people could have interacted with him all night. “He did not have to volunteer outside the hospital,” one attendee mentioned, “he gave up his personal time to come make our camp more meaningful.” Dr. Salvatore, however, said that giving to these patients gives more to him in return. And, when he found out his kids truly didn’t understand what he did, he brought them along to stroke camp to gain perspective on what he does for a living, and to demonstrate the difference he makes in people’s lives.  

Thank you Dr. Salvatore for all the hope and joy you bring! 


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Terry Peterson, Stroke Coordinator, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Euly Smith, Stroke Coordinator, Chandler Regional Medical Center 

These two amazingly dynamic women exhibit passion and professionalism in all their undertakings. Both are respectful and compassionate to everyone they encounter on a daily basis, and demonstrate having tireless energy towards meeting the needs of stroke survivors and their caregivers. The survivors nominated them, saying, “We have been directly impacted by these two through hospital stays, emergency room visits, stroke education, stroke camps and stroke support programs. In addition to their duties in the hospital and stroke programs they are actively involved in fundraising to support our Dignity Health East Valley post-stroke programs. While a stroke is a life changing event in the lives of families, we believe Terry and Euly are difference makers and a real blessing to our community and in our lives.”

“Terry is so passionate,” one survivor says, “she always goes above and beyond  - even calling the insurance companies or rehab centers – whatever it takes! She always has this extra sensory perception to see that someone is in need.” While recently walking through the lobby she spotted an older man and woman, the latter utilizing a walker. Terry identified her as a possible stroke survivor and asked if she could be of assistance. The man replied that he was trying to help her get to the restroom, so Terry volunteered to help. But, true to her ESP she stayed and spoke with the man, and as it turned out the woman had locked herself in stall but could not get back up from the seat. Terry, demonstrating her usual care and compassion – crawled under the stall and aided the man in coming into the bathroom to care for his wife.  

Marvin, a stroke patient, says Terry even came and visited his wife when she went septic from another surgery and had to be in the hospital. “The passion she lives her life with is just amazing,” Marvin and Shirley say, “Terry was born to help others and born for this position” 

Euly also demonstrates this same “above and beyond attitude” in her daily work. When an employee reported a family was terribly upset and wanted to be transferred out of the emergency department {ED}, Euly went to the ED herself - forgoing all other work and staying for several hours to make sure they were comfortable in our “home.” She never wants anyone to be anything but comfortable at our hospital. When one of our stroke patients, Jimmie, was at Chandler Regional with his wife Joy, who had been admitted for an infection, Euly gave of her own time, gowned up, and went in to visit Joy and Jimmie bringing them whatever they needed, just like she would her own family members.   

Thank you Euly and Terry for giving so much of yourselves and your personal time to take care of stroke survivors just like family and to make our post-acute care programs some of the very best in the nation. 


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Laurie Bell, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit 

Laurie received a special nomination from a Dignity Health patient by the name of Alexis. Alexis has been a type 1 diabetic since 2010 and has encountered multiple hospitalizations due to her health. Alexis was seen by nurse Laurie at St. Joseph’s facility throughout the years. Alexis reports that Laurie always stressed the importance of taking good care of her health. “At the time,” Alexis remembers, “I was 19 and constantly experiencing severe complications related to my diabetes. I was stubborn and selfish but after many heart-to-heart conversations Laurie helped open my eyes and get through to me. I’ve never forgotten our conversations, how big her heart is and the dedication, love and support she gives to her patients.”

Laurie never gave up and she got through to Alexis. This is also how the Mercy Gilbert team sees Laurie as tenacious yet compassionate. Alexis credits her with saving her life by getting her off the bad path of self-neglect. Alexis went over two and a half years without being hospitalized. By coincidence, Laurie was able to see her when she came into the ICU area when her mother-in-law was Laurie’s patient. It was very fulfilling to see how well she is doing.  

Thank you Laurie for going “above and beyond” in treating all patient and for creating positive changes and positive vibes for all who know you. 


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Patti Cronin, Nutrition Services, Retail Manager 

A patient came into the cafeteria at Mercy Gilbert asking for breakfast. He was wearing an armband so Patti, asked about his status. She discovered the patient had been discharged; and his armband had not been removed. So, Patti thought about it and decided to provide him with a meal. When the patient showed up the next day requesting a meal again, after some conversation he explained to Patti that he was homeless. Patti went ahead and put together a meal and some healthy snacks. At this point, she also brought the situation to the attention of leadership and asked what could be done. As the team talked with the patient, they learned to their surprise that he had been staying in the second floor waiting area. Patti felt he was a good person and was determined to help him get back up on his feet.

A few weeks later, the patient came back to thank Patti. He had just received a job at a local fast food restaurant and said the help from Patti was just what he needed to get back on his feet. The genuine concern for this young man was beautiful. 

This genuine care is given to ALL her employees and patients, visitors and customers that she interacts with each day in the cafeteria at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.  Thank you Patti! 


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Chuck Murray, Material Supply Coordinator in Surgery  

Coworkers describe Charles as an advocate, a resource and a guy who knows a LOT about where medical supplies might be found. Approach him with a question and he will make time to help any patient, nurse, doctor or coworker, anytime. Although Chuck is usually under a great deal of pressure, you would never know it by looking at or talking with him. He is the epitome of “calm, cool and collected.” Chuck will go out of his way to help anyone in his circle who might need a helping hand. He deals with everyone with the utmost compassion and humankindness, never brushing them off or rerouting them to someone else.

A specific example of his compassion and tenacity was when Puerto Rico was greatly impacted by Hurricane Maria and many vendors of surgical supplies and life-saving solutions were devastated. This resulted in the inability to secure the consistent supply of their products. Chuck and his team worked tirelessly to place orders everywhere they could to ensure that surgeries would not be cancelled. This work went on for more that year. Chuck is so resourceful and tenacious he would swiftly identify alternate products and suppliers and share them with other Dignity Health personnel.   

Thank you Chuck for all of your daily contributions and the difference you make in all of our lives and in the lives of patients and families. 


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Lois Shugarr, Volunteer Services 

Lois is a volunteer with our “Let Humankindness Blossom” service area and has recently started training to volunteer in the Gift Shop as well. And if that’s not enough, she is a seamstress and embroiderer and makes heart pillows and port support pillows, and crochets baby graduation hats for infants who leave the Intensive Care for the regular Nursery. However, there is one story about her going really above and beyond after she had left her volunteer shift for the day.

Lois was driving home and noticed there was a man on a bike near the hospital and he looked to be in distress. Without a hesitation, Lois stopped her car and got out to help. The man had contacted a friend when he began to feel ill and she had walked to meet him. As it appeared he was having a seizure, Lois called 911 and waited with them until the ambulance arrived. The ambulance could not accommodate the bicycle, so Lois called her husband and together they took the bike to the patient’s mother’s home. While there, they found out that the mother had no way to get to her son. So, of course they took her to the hospital and made sure she had a ride home, before finally leaving the hospital for the day.  

A quick-witted and humble lady who goes above and beyond every day, we thank you Lois! 


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Jim Kern, Volunteer Services 

Jim is a retired aerospace engineer and has been an outstanding volunteer with our program for almost six years. During this time, Jim has dedicated over 2,100 volunteer service hours to several areas. Jim leads our Surgery Waiting team of volunteers, has participated in the Emergency Room preparedness drills, and has been a dedicated member of our Community Grants Committee. He cares deeply for how Dignity Health funds are used to further our mission of advocacy and access for all. He also helps to make our Volunteen program fun and successful, by delivering courses to teenagers on basic meditation.

A real problem-solver, Jim saw two different patient needs. First, he created a computerized map of the entire surgery area to assist patients and visitors in navigating the hospital and connecting with their loved ones after surgery. This map was so popular with the staff they have requested a map for our orthopedic patients as a resource when coming in for joint replacement surgery. Second, Jim was a driving force in implementing our tracking board in the surgery waiting area because he knew this would provide the families with the most up to date status of their loved ones during the surgical process. He also found a need in the gift shop and created a step-by-step guide to assist with managing the register systems. It seems that no matter what needs to be done Jim is always there to lend a helping hand. 

A quiet leader who exemplifies excellence, kindness, and compassion in all that he is and all that he does, we thank you Jim for the difference you have made in so many lives.


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