WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, CVS/pharmacy, the nation's leading retail pharmacy, celebrates the role of caregivers in America by honoring ten remarkable caregivers for their commitment to others. As part of its For All the Ways You Care contest, a nationwide search for inspirational stories of caring, CVS/pharmacy will present the grand prize winner and nine finalists with over $100,000. The winning stories were selected from over 4,200 submissions.
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Pat Pumphret of Winthrop, Mass., is the For All the Ways You Care grand prize winner and recipient of $25,000. Pat was nominated by a friend with an essay titled, "A Place to Live, A Place to Die," which recounts Pat's 30-plus years as a provider and foster parent for severely disabled and chronically ill children. For these needy children whose parents are unable to care for them due to issues such as addiction or mental illness, Pat offers a place to live and thrive outside of hospitals and nursing homes, ensures they get the care they need from doctors and therapists, and provides the love and warmth of a family.
"Pat's story is one of courage and heart," said Larry Merlo, president of CVS/pharmacy. "Her dedication to these children despite the challenges it may bring to her own life is truly extraordinary. We're proud to honor Pat and the For All the Ways You Care contest finalists, and hope their stories provide inspiration to caregivers across America."
The nine other finalists in the For All the Ways You Care contest include:
-- Jan Churchwell of Burlington, Colorado
-- Tiffany Denyer of Maryville, Tennessee
-- Vernita Garriott of Northport, Alabama
-- Barbara Gilbert of Atlantic Beach, Florida
-- Darlene Hollingsworth of Euless, Texas
-- Jeffery Madewell of West Milton, Ohio
-- Sister Audrey Quinn of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
-- Anthony "Tony" Sipich of Las Vegas, Nevada
-- Jessie Vi of Sarasota, Florida
Lisa Kanode, a CVS/pharmacy lead pharmacy technician from Midlothian, Va., was also named the winner of CVS/pharmacy's For All the Ways You Care employee contest and will receive $10,000.
The Selection Process
The For All The Ways You Care contest winners were selected by an esteemed panel of women participating in the For All the Ways You Care contest: Lee Woodruff, author and wife of ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff; Dr. Roseanna Means, founder of Women of Means, a program of volunteer doctors who provide free medical care to homeless women and children; Tina Sharkey, BabyCenter.com chairman and global president; Rosemary Ellis, Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief and Dr. Lisa Masterson who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology and serves as co-host of the daytime talk show, The Doctors.
"I'm honored to participate in celebrating these amazing individuals," said Lee Woodruff. "From foster and adoptive parents to founders of service organizations that assist children and families affected by autism, homelessness and hunger, these stories remind us of the power of the human spirit and our never ending capacity to care."
Woodruff will offer the keynote address this afternoon at a celebratory luncheon in New York City where CVS/pharmacy will award the finalists and unveil its new online community for caregivers, www.ForAllTheWaysYouCare.com. A robust online social community for caregivers seeking to connect, share stories and inspire others, CVS/pharmacy's believes the site will be a resource for the millions of Americans who care for a family member or friend, or support spouses or children with special needs.
Jan Churchwell (Burlington, Colo.) - Years ago, Jan started a daycare business to help with family finances. Over time, her business grew to include an emergency foster care home. Whether it was a few hours, weeks or permanently, Jan and her husband Bob have found joy and fulfillment in their "forever family" which includes Jan's three biological children and eight foster children. In addition to caring for her own children who range in age from 32 to 4, Jan assists families desiring to adopt in the United States. Through her organization the "Jan's Clan, Adoption Support Group," Jan has placed more than 20 children with loving families in four states.
Tiffany Denyer (Maryville, Tenn.) - A psychiatric nurse by trade, Tiffany founded a nonprofit organization called Wilderwood Service Dogs that assists children with autism and other neurological disorders. Tiffany has helped many children with autism cope by having a canine companion to help them in their daily lives. With a small group of volunteers, she trains and provides approximately 12 service dogs per year to families across the country. Children who were nonverbal and withdrawn find comfort with their new canine companion and often begin to speak and socially interact.
Vernita Garriott (Northport, Ala.) - Vernita is blind but does not know the meaning of "disabled." She was told that she could not teach or adopt because of her disability, yet she completed a degree in Sociology, got her Masters degree in Special Education and adopted nine children with special needs. Over the next 30 years, Vernita served 300 foster children and adults, and at age 50 decided it was time to retire. In her retirement she serves as the "information lady" at University Church of Christ. In her role, she has helped people in need receive low-cost or donated items and services. Vernita was nominated by her husband who serves as the deacon of the University Church of Christ food program: Harvest Hands.
Barbara Gilbert (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) - When listening to the radio one day, Barbara heard about an opportunity to raise money to help build houses for the poor in Jamaica. Despite working three jobs just to keep afloat, Barbara couldn't resist the desire to help and traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to see the project first hand. Inspired by the tremendous need in the community Barbara vowed to build a home a year for the next fifty years. Upon her return, Barbara shared her story with local patrons of the coffee shop where she worked and others in the community eager to hear about the project. Since then, with the support of her community, Barbara has raised more than $50,000, built 50 houses and visited Jamaica six times. Her project is called Barbara's Village.
Darlene Hollingsworth (Euless, Texas) - Darlene has realized that there is no greater satisfaction than taking care of her son, a 16-year-old with Down syndrome. Darlene is the founder of The Clubhouse for Special Needs, Inc. Here, her son and other teens and young adults with mild to moderate mental and physical challenges have the opportunity for education, socialization and independence in a recreational atmosphere. Starting off in her two bedroom apartment, The Clubhouse for Special Needs is now looking for a building with a gymnasium. In a new facility, The Clubhouse will be able to serve more teens and young adults.
Jeffery Madewell (West Milton, Ohio) - Jeff was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when he was 19 and lost his eyesight the week before undergoing surgery. Ten years ago he started a clothing and toy drive to gather items to send to the kids on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in the Dakotas. What started as a few people and a few boxes has become a community-wide effort. Jeff now ships a semi truck loaded with clothes, toys, non-perishable foods, coats, and shoes for people in need. Jeff was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma.
Sister Audrey Quinn (Waynesburg, Pa.) - Sister Audrey works as a foster mother, mentor, confidant, coordinator, sister, teacher, and friend to many in need. She has fostered more than 160 children and has helped many become the first in their families to complete high school. In addition, each year for the past ten years, Sister Audrey has distributed 5,000 new pairs of tennis shoes to children in need. She also stuffs backpacks with goodies for local teens' Christmas gifts and provides Thanksgiving baskets for local families. Furthermore, Sister Audrey finds time every year to sponsor a coat drive. Last year she collected more than 500 coats on behalf of her cause.
Anthony "Tony" Sipich (Las Vegas, Nev.) - Tony is the founder of the nonprofit organization, Homeless Helpers, which provides food and supplies to the homeless. Homeless Helpers serves more than 20 local non-profit agencies including churches, shelters, U.S. veterans, sober houses, the Urban League, food banks and food pantries. Tony has been handing out bagged sandwiches to the poor and homeless in Las Vegas since he was a teenager. Although he works full-time at Homeless Helpers each week, he pays himself no salary at all. To make a living, he owns a pest control business.
Jessie Vi (Sarasota, Fla.) - Jessie is a karate instructor who helped a young boy with autism, epilepsy and left hemiplegia cerebral palsy find confidence and joy by participating in the one activity he desired most -- karate. For Loftin Searcy, karate is a source of inspiration thanks to Jessie who took a chance on a boy many had turned their back on. Because of Jessie and his instruction, Loftin has become confident, independent, and his muscles have become stronger enabling him to walk better. Loftin tested for his black belt in October 2009.
Lisa Kanode (Midlothian, Va.) - Lisa, a pharmacy technician for CVS/pharmacy, is a mother of seven who also finds time to help those in need, whether it is buying meals for the homeless, paying for prescriptions for others who can't afford them, or welcoming people into her home who are going through difficult times and need a place to stay. Lisa dreams of opening up a homeless shelter.