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Reference Lab Outreach Supervisor
NMMC-Tupelo Pathology Department
Melanie Bennett of Fulton joined the Pathology Department at NMMC in January 1996 as a medical technologist working the night shift. In 2007, she transferred into a Lead Medical Technologist position in the Point of Care area. In September 2009 she was named as Reference Lab Outreach Supervisor.
A 1989 graduate of Itawamba Agricultural High School, she attended Itawamba Community College in Fulton and completed the School of Medical Technology at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis in 1993. She earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from MSU in 1994. She is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology.
Bennett was recognized for correcting a mislabeled package at Fed Ex so that a contract sent by the Blood Bank could reach its international destination. When the department was transitioning to a new coding system, she prepared helpful notes for staff. During winter’s inclement weather, Bennett slept at NMMC-Tupelo so she could report for work the next day. When the Hematology Department needed donor blood to perform a survey, she volunteered, which helped the department remain compliant with CAP accreditation.
She was also nominated for going above and beyond for an outpatient who came to NMMC for a fasting glucose tolerance test. When she discovered that the patient had ridden his motorized wheelchair to the hospital, she arranged for transportation back home and provided him a meal ticket once his test was complete.
“What I love most about my job is the people I work with,” Bennett said. “Pathology is one big, crazy family. It is the people who make me get up and clock in to work each day.”
She has been married to Dirk Bennett for 20 years and has two sons—Owen, 15, and Quinn, 13. She is a member of Itawamba Christian Church in Fulton. She is a committee member and merit badge leader of Boy Scout Troop 32 in Fulton and has been active in Boy Scouts of America for 10 years. She also serves as secretary/treasurer of Square 1 Outdoors Inc., a local volunteer, nonprofit organization and National Rifle Association shooting club that supports shooting sports activities for families throughout northeast Mississippi.
Short Stay Surgery
April Cook of Nettleton joined the NMMC staff in 2004. She has held several positions at NMMC, including float pool, acute rehab, Baldwyn Nursing Facility and North Columbus Medical Clinic.
A graduate of Nettleton High School, she received her associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
Cook was recognized for walking a patient’s wife out to her car because the woman was afraid to go alone after dark. She also volunteered to stay overnight during the snow and ice, and took several patients out to their vehicles in wheelchairs through the snow.
“The thing I love about my job is that I can always find someone who makes me feel blessed with my own health or situation,” Cook said. “I care for patients who are fighting much larger obstacles than I am on a daily basis.”
She and her husband, James, have been married for 14 years and have “many furbabies” that they have rescued.
Computer Training Coordinator
Mechelle Crosby joined NMMC in 2003. The Saltillo resident is a graduate of Tupelo High School. She then attended Millsaps College in Jackson.
“The best part of my job is seeing the light bulbs go off in students’ minds as they learn something new about technology, or a new way to implement it that they had never thought of before,” Crosby said.
Crosby was recognized by coworkers for her unselfishness and her willingness to do whatever is needed to get a job done.
Crosby donated a piano to 1 West for rehabilitation patients. On another occasion, she donated greeting cards to help in an effort to get 100 cards signed by employees for a patient’s 100th birthday. She helped the Pastoral Care department come up with new ways to promote its Christmas service. She is also quick to help others in any way she can. Crosby was at a local business when another customer fell in the parking lot. She stayed with the man until an ambulance arrived.
Crosby has a daughter named Willow. Her family also includes brother Gerald Wages, sister-in-law Donna Wages and nephew David Wages. She is a member of St. Luke United Methodist Church, and a member and board secretary for AITP/BINaRE. She is a breeder and shower of CFA registered Siamese cats.
Willie Davis of Tupelo worked at NMMC-Tupelo from 1990-2007, then rejoined the staff in 2009 working PRN at NMMC-Pontotoc. He joined the NMMC-West Point staff full time in May 2012 and continues to work as needed in Pontotoc and Tupelo.
A graduate of Okolona High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Mississippi State University in 1990.
Davis was recognized for picking up reagents from NMMC-Tupelo that were critically needed in the NMMC-West Point Laboratory. He drove to West Point on his day off and on a weekend to help gather 50 specimens needed for a study for some reagents. He was recognized for coming in unscheduled when the department needed help, for cleaning up a spill that he happened upon so that no one would slip, and for teaching a CARES class for someone else so that the class would not be cancelled.
Davis was also honored for his idea to save the lab money and time—and for moving four years of laboratory data to storage so that another refrigerator could be added in the lab.
“The best part of my job is that we have the privilege to meet the needs of many people in the community,” Davis said. “My director and coworkers’ willingness to work together makes this task easier to accomplish on a daily basis. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children—Leah and Sydni. He serves as pastor of Church of Refuge and Restoration in Tupelo.
Jessica Fulgham of Tupelo joined the NMMC staff in 2010 as an admission/discharge specialist with the Family Medicine Residency Center. She transferred to Respiratory Therapy in 2013.
A graduate of Tupelo High School, she attended Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn.
In October 2014, Fulgham was recognized for working many hours off-the-clock to assist with the Mississippi State Respiratory Society annual meeting, which was held at Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus. She was also recognized for working extra hours to assist with sleeping arrangements, food, linens and scrubs for therapists who needed to stay at NMMC when it snowed and iced. She volunteered to test a new Automated Scorecard and offered many recommendations for improvement, and she helped with the publicity campaign for Stars Online, placing posters and easels throughout the hospital campus.
“What I love most about my job is working with the therapists on a day-to-day basis with things they need for the patients,” Fulgham said. “I enjoy talking with patients just to take their mind off what they are in the hospital for. I love the constant contact with the staff, building relationships with co-workers and patients.”
She has two daughters, Elizabeth, 13, and Katelyn, 10. They attend Anchor Church, where she teaches Sunday School for the Women’s Transformation Ministry. She also coaches the U-16 Girls Select Soccer Team of Tupelo. In addition, she trains goal keepers for several select soccer teams.
Kathy Hogan of Saltillo joined the NMMC staff in 2007. She previously worked at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg for 25 years. She attended South Jones High School in Ellisville. She received her associate’s degree in respiratory care from Pearl River Community College, and her bachelor’s degree in health care management from Ottawa University in Kansas. She also attended the 2002 FEMA Emergency Management Institute on Healthcare Leadership. She is a member of the American Association of Respiratory Care, and she serves as president of the Mississippi Society of Respiratory Care. She serves on the Mississippi State Department of Health Council of Advisors – Respiratory Care Professional Licensure Branch.
Hogan was recognized for taking a patient’s blanket home to wash, and for changing linens and requesting more furniture for another patient and his family. She spent time with another patient helping her brush the tangles out of her long hair. During icy weather, she stayed at the hospital from Wednesday through Friday to make sure patients and staff were taken care of. She organized sleep rooms, food for staff and specialty items that would be needed for overnight.
“The best part of my job is making a positive impact on patient care and the patient experience,” she said. “That is my true passion.”
She has one son, Jacob Hogan, who is currently serving overseas in Bagdad, Iraq, and one 10-year-old grandson, Caleb Hogan.
She is a member of First Baptist Church in Tupelo.
Brittney Kelton of Mooreville joined the NMMC staff in July 2014 as a registered nurse on 6 South. She transferred to Emergency Services in May 2015.
A graduate of Tupelo High School, Kelton earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College. She is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
Kelton was recognized for buying a patient and family member a meal from Chick-fil-A after they had been at the hospital all day without food. She also stopped on her way to work one day and bought new clothes for a patient who had nothing clean to wear. In another instance, she purchased meals, snacks and clothes for a patient who had been very aggressive and even violent, and the kind gesture helped build rapport between him and staff.
She was also cited for working overtime when the unit is short-staffed and for coming in to work even in ice and snow.
“The best part of my job is being able to help, comfort and calm my patients,” Kelton said. “I am blessed to have a wonderful job in the Emergency Room where I get to see such a variety of people of all ages and ailments every time I come to work. Plus, the team I have to work with every night is amazing, which makes my job that much better.”
She and her husband, Austin, have one son, Camden.
Charie Kennedy of Baldwyn joined the NMMC staff in 2005. She is a graduate of Baldwyn High School, and received her associate’s degree in nursing from Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville in 2005. She is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician and is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
She was nominated for working more than 12 hours over her shift, and then staying afterward to put a Christmas tree up on her unit. On Easter, she used her personal time and money to make Easter crafts for her patients. She had one patient who was celebrating his 41st wedding anniversary. Because of his diagnosis, she knew it would be their last anniversary, so she went to the gift shop and bought them a gift.
“The greatest thing about my job is helping people,” she said. “Making patients feel better, getting them ready to go home and helping them get their lives back to normal. But helping people isn’t always just the patients or them getting better to go home. At times it is more about helping family and patients prepare for the end of life. My job is informing them on what to expect and helping them accept it. My job is challenging at times but there is nothing better than a family member thanking me for helping their loved one or a patient remembering that I took care of them.”
She is married to Paul Kennedy and has three children – Kaleana, who is married to Cory Lambert; Shawn, who is married to Nikki; and Shawni. She has seven grandchildren – Hunter and Conner Brigman; Colton Lambert; Houston Kennedy; and Shelbie, Sylas and Saxton Jacobs.
She attends Zion Rest Church of Christ and is a member of East Marietta Baptist Church. She is a member of Shared Governance and the Marietta Fire Department, and volunteers with CATCH Kids.
Physical Therapist, Pediatrics
Outpatient Rehabilitation Center
Regina Welch of Tupelo joined the NMMC staff in 2009.
A graduate of Starkville Academy, Welch attended Mississippi State University for two years before earning a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1997. She holds the Assistive Technology Professional Certification and is also certified in Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Treatment.
Welch was recognized for helping make a memorable birthday celebration for another therapist’s patient, complete with dinner out, a homemade birthday cake and a movie for him and his brother. Neither of the children had ever been to a theater or a nice restaurant.
She was also honored for making custom birthday cakes for pediatric rehab staff members, as well as cakes for baby showers, Administrative Professionals Day and other special occasions. She also put her baking skills to use for the annual staff Christmas party, making custom cakes and cupcakes as prizes for game winners.
When a coworker expressed concern over her son’s walking, she volunteered to check him and ease her mind. She was also recognized for representing Pediatric Rehab at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Reunion in August, giving up her Saturday morning to man the obstacle course.
“I love helping my patients to improve their quality of life and to become more independent in motor skills,” Welch said. “Watching the children learn new skills and take pride in their own accomplishments has been meaningful for me.”
Welch has two children—Anna Dale and Ally Franks. She is a member of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo.
Maria Wilson of Nettleton joined the NMMC staff in 2006. She received her associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College in Fulton. She is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basic Trauma Life Support and tuberculosis skin tests.
Wilson was recognized for her dedication to a mentally ill patient who also has a long list of medical issues. Because she knew the patient loves cheeseburgers, she brought him some. In addition, she brought the patient snacks and more for his birthday.
On another occasion, Wilson brought a needy patient who had been on the unit for several weeks some clothes so that he could walk the halls in something other than a hospital gown.
When another patient’s family was unable to find transportation to visit, Wilson’s husband drove to Booneville to pick them up and bring them to the hospital. This gesture was especially appreciated as the patient was rushed to surgery, became critically ill and passed away.
Wilson was nominated by a patient for taking time to explain her diagnosis and even printing additional information for the patient about her illness. She was also recognized for driving through inclement weather to report for work and for coming in on her day off when the unit was short-staffed.
“The best part of my job is teaching and helping people through their disease process,” she said. “The appreciation, hugs and joy I get from this is a bonus. I feel like I have a positive influence on their lives. 6 South is a very challenging environment. I am able to learn something new every day whether from my patients or coworkers. I love knowing I can be there to help those who cannot help themselves.”
She is married to Bill Wilson, and she is the daughter of Linda Cole of Baldwyn. Her siblings are Michael Lee, Brandy Isbell and Amy Floyd. Her children are her multiple rescued animals.