How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
We've lived in Spring Hill since July 2003, when my husband, John, and I relocated from Staten Island. He had just retired as a master chief with the Coast Guard. Years prior, we had lived in St. Petersburg, and we both wanted to return to Florida. Because of John's military career, we relocated every four years, and so we've lived in Corpus Christi, Memphis and Louisville.
Who are the members of your family?
John and I have five children: Michelle, Tonya, Michael, Larry and Justin. Justin is 15 years old and attends Nature Coast Technical High School. Our other children are adults and live in west-central Florida except for Michael, who is in the Coast Guard and stationed in Charleston with his family.
I grew up one of four children in a small farm town in central Illinois called Catlin. My grandfather was a farmer.
Tell us about your career.
I graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College's nursing school with honors. After earning my registered nurse license, I worked at Largo Medical Center.
When we transferred to Corpus Christi, I was employed by Upjohn Healthcare from 1988 to 1990 and worked in a number of areas, including surgery, dialysis and home care. I became director of nursing and helped Upjohn acquire Medicare certification for the home health division.
When John was transferred to Memphis, I felt a calling to work for hospice. I started at Trinity Healthcare Services in 1990, which had its own hospice and home care division. I traveled throughout three counties providing patient care to hospice and home care patients. When an intravenous nursing position opened, I got that job and visited patients throughout midtown Memphis. Later, I became Trinity's assistant director of nursing and assisted the company in becoming a Medicare-certified hospice.
While in Memphis, I passed the first national exam certifying me as a registered hospice nurse. In, 1994 we said goodbye to Memphis and hello to Louisville. We lived across the river in Elizabeth, Ind. I accepted a supervisory position at Hospice of Louisville and was responsible for two adult and one pediatric teams. I played a role in helping acquire joint commission status and became administrator for hospice's inpatient unit.
In 1999, we moved to Staten Island, and that same year I joined Cabrini Hospice in midtown Manhattan, where I had several key roles including being an admission and referral nurse and supervisor for the hospice home team and inpatient care unit.
I've worked for Hernando-Pasco Hospice since 2003 and began my career with the agency on the hospice home team that covers northern Pasco County. I was a fill-in supervisor and later served as supervisor for the home team that cares for patients in eastern Pasco County. I was promoted to supervisor for the agency's Hospice House and Hospice Care Center — two separate facilities on the same campus in Dade City. A few years later, I was asked to serve as interim administrator for HPH's Marliere Hospice Care Center in New Port Richey, and now I am the administrator for the Hernando Hospice Care Center, set to open March 10.
What kinds of other activities are you involved in?
I belong to Nature Coast Technical High's football boosters. I intend to get more involved in Hernando County, but my real focus now is making sure that the new, 24-suite Hospice Care Center operates flawlessly when we begin accepting patients in late March.
Do you have any special hobbies? What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
My hobbies include gardening, reading and family get-togethers where we enjoy barbecues and swimming. I love boating and fishing with my family.
One of my favorite things is to go out of Bayport into the gulf. We also like to take our boat up to Homosassa and down to Madeira Beach. I love watching the sun set and the tranquility of being on the water.
I also enjoy watching Justin at his wrestling matches and football games at school. Our dogs, Bob and Shelly, bring me a lot of joy, too. Bob is a bull mastiff mix, and Shelly is part lab, part border collie.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
There are a couple of things that I feel would benefit Hernando County. One would be more boat ramps and parking. I'd also like to see a major bookstore and athletic equipment store. It would be nice if we had a wider variety of restaurants that delivered, too. I think living in Staten Island spoiled us a bit in that way.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I sing very well in the car by myself with the radio blaring! I also love trying out new recipes and just made a great strawberry shortcake.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at [email protected] or (352) 848-1438.