Brentwood, Tennessee (September 10, 2021) – LifePoint Health, a leading healthcare company dedicated to Making Communities Healthier®, has named Jessica Smith from Southern Tennessee Regional Health System in Pulaski, Tennessee (STRHS-Pulaski), the recipient of its 2021 companywide Mercy Award. Smith, who serves as a respiratory therapist at STRHS-Pulaski, was honored for her tireless dedication to compassionate care and the extraordinary grace and mercy she has extended to COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic.
LifePoint’s companywide Mercy Award is given annually to one of more than 47,000 LifePoint employees who has profoundly touched the lives of others and embodies the spirit and values upon which the company was founded. It was established in 2001 to honor the life and legacy of the late Scott Mercy, LifePoint’s founding chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), and is the highest honor a LifePoint employee can receive.
“Jessica was already a steady and welcome presence for patients and colleagues alike, but her positive impact took on even more significance and meaning after the pandemic began,” says David Dill, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of LifePoint Health. “The grace, kindness and fortitude she lives out within and beyond her hospital’s walls is needed more than ever. Jessica is a living embodiment of our mission of Making Communities Healthier and the legacy on which this company was founded.”
Jessica’s days begin with a 70-mile commute to the STRHS-Pulaski campus from her home, where she cares for her mother – a long-term cancer patient – and patiently works with her seven-year-old son, who has autism and only recently began speaking. During her shifts at the hospital as a respiratory therapist, she works tirelessly to comfort patients in both body and spirit.
Over the course of the pandemic, Jessica has been helping to change lives one act of mercy at a time. From providing small but impactful gifts for patients and being a comforting presence to those isolated from loved ones, to helping a patient regain the will to continue his fight against COVID-19 after the devastating news of his wife’s death from the virus, Jessica has been a calming beacon in the eye of the storm for so many. Beyond her hospital’s walls, stories of her kindness include a particularly poignant instance where she purchased clothing for two developmentally disabled and homeless brothers and helped them secure housing after they were discharged from the hospital.
“Wherever she is, Jessica’s strength, compassion and humility serve as a shining light and source of hope for those who cross her path,” says Jim Edmondson, CEO of STRHS-Pulaski. “She inspires me and lifts me up. We are so proud she is a part of our STRHS-Pulaski family, and we are thrilled that she has been honored with the 2021 LifePoint Health companywide Mercy Award.”
Smith was formally honored during a special awards celebration held virtually on August 26.