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Debbie Martin

MADISON — A cherished annual tradition at Boone Memorial Hospital has been recognition of the highly coveted Employee of the Year Award, now known as the Robert L. “Bob” Brown Outstanding Service Award.

“Every employee has gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for our patients throughout the pandemic,” BMH Chief Nursing Officer Terri Castle, RN, said in a news release. “It has been an extraordinary time for all healthcare workers; so, selecting only one winner among our amazing employees was no easy task.”

However, out of over 400 employees, a registered nurse stood out — Debbie Martin.

“Debbie exemplifies the heart of a nurse,” said Castle. “She takes her role as a caregiver seriously. Not only is she excellent with her patients, she is the first to volunteer for any departmental area in need. Even working long hours, during a global pandemic, Debbie remains supportive and positive.”

As the Outpatient Clinical supervisor, Martin oversees daily operations of BMH Clinics, performs monoclonal antibody therapy, as needed, and manages COVID-19 screeners.

Prior to her recent promotion to Outpatient Clinical supervisor, Martin held several important roles at Boone Memorial Hospital, including Registered Nurse in the Emergency Room, Registered Nurse/PAT Nurse in surgery, and house supervisor.

“As house supervisor, I oversaw evening and midnight shifts; filled call-ins, as needed; assisted with vaccine clinics; called in COVID-19 test results; infused monoclonal antibody therapy and scheduled/supervised door screeners,” said Martin, who started her career at Boone Memorial Hospital in 1998 as a nurse extern.

“In 2000, I was a graduate nurse on the floor in the former Boone Memorial Hospital. I was transferred after about a year to the ER, where I worked night shift,” she said. “At that time, there was only one nurse and one doctor on midnight shift, but that was a time when things weren’t quite as busy.”

Martin is a Boone County native. She graduated from Van High School and attended Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, where she earned an associate’s degree in nursing and an associate’s degree in business accounting.

Martin extends her helping nature from the hospital to the community.

“I love to help our schools, churches, etc., any way I can,” she said.

“A few years ago, my friends and I started a program called the ‘Charity Hunt’. We host a haunted house each Halloween in Van and donate all proceeds to the local schools or charities. Last year, funds were used to purchase college text books. It also afforded low-income kids the opportunity to go on field trips. We offer discounted rates if customers bring canned food to the haunted house. The food is donated to local churches for holiday food baskets. It’s our way of giving back to the community,” Martin said.

Martin is a member of the BMH COVID-19 Task force and the BMH DAISY Award Committee.

In her spare time, she enjoys camping, fishing, decorating her home and spending time with her family.

She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Chris, since June 2000.

“We lost touch with each other for a few years, right after high school,” Debbie Martin said. “But later, we reunited. Here we are, 21 years later with two wonderful children: Emma and Blake. Emma just started graduate school at West Virginia University for audiology and Blake is in his second year, also at West Virginia University, where he is a double major in aerospace and mechanical engineering. They make us both proud every day.”

Martin attributes her strong work ethic and caring nature to her parents, Jerry Baire and Kathy Roe.

“They have instilled in me all the positive qualities I have today. I was also lucky to have a stepdad, Rick Roe, who never treated me as a stepchild, but more like his own daughter.”

When asked what Martin thought when her name was announced as the 2021 Boone Memorial Hospital Employee of the Year, she explains she was overjoyed and surprised.

“I knew I had worked really hard over the past year, wearing several different hats, but I was just doing my job. When I realized I had won, I immediately teared up. It’s great knowing that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed. I really felt appreciated.”

Her coworkers agree that Martin goes the extra mile.

“Debbie is an excellent nurse, always willing to help everyone — patients and coworkers alike,” said Michelle Scites, surgery clerk/healthcare screener cupervisor. “She always goes above and beyond what is required of her position no matter what role she is in. Debbie has worn a lot of hats this past year and has excelled in each one. As a friend and coworker, she is someone I look up to and rely on continually.”

Friend and coworker Mary Whitmore, LPN, agreed. “Debbie is a hardworking, dedicated employee and will help any coworker at any time.”

Martin concludes, “Boone Memorial Hospital has always been my home. My coworkers are my family. They treat me like family and stand for every quality I believe in: caring, honesty and integrity.”

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Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at 304-307-2401.

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