The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce honored four of the city's medical professionals for their outstanding work Thursday, at the Chamber's 4th Annual Salute to Healthcare Banquet at the Pitser Garrison Civic Center.


As the dinner emcee Dr. Sidney Roberts explained, the Chamber of Commerce started this annual salute to healthcare four years ago to honor the physicians, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists, home health agencies, hospice organizations and other health care professionals who are dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of all Angelina County residents.

With that, Dr. Roberts started naming names and giving out awards, starting with the Nurse of the Year, Doris Weatherford of  Woodland Heights Medical Center.  Weatherford is an RN who worked her way up from switchboard operator to head nurse.  Outside the hospital, Weatherford is actively involved in recruiting and training young nurses.

Don Newland, president of the Volunteer Auxiliary at Memorial Health System of East Texas, was named Individual of Merit. In just five years, Newland has played a big role in growing the Memorial Volunteer Auxiliary to about a hundred members.

Dr. George Fidone, Chief of Pediatrics at Memorial Health System of East Texas, was named Healthcare Professional of the Year. In addition to his work as a pediatrician at the Children's Clinic, Fidone is on the board of the Janelle Grum Family Crisis Center and the advisory board for the Angelina County and Cities Health District.  He was also a founding board member of the Angelina Alliance for Children.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Dr. Dan Spivey, who practiced medicine in Lufkin for more than 40 years till he retired in 1991. Over his long career Dr. Spivey has doctored several generations of Lufkinites, from delivering babies to performing surgery, treating adults and children.  Spivey was also the Lufkin High School team doctor from 1953 through 1972.

Afterwards, emcee Dr. Roberts says it was a fabulous evening.  "Our health care community is so key to the success and future of Angelina County, and for the Chamber to recognize the community is very special."

Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Huffman says they are proud to host this annual salute to health care professionals.  Huffman says it's their way of showing appreciation "not only for what they do every day in providing health services to so many in our region, but also because they represent such an integral part of our economic base.”

Sponsors for the event included Memorial Health System of East Texas, A Compassionate Care Home Health Services, Angelina Rehabilitation Center, Woodland Heights Medical Center, the Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership, Southland Rehabilitation and Healthcare, Blood Center of East Texas, and Urgent Doc.

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