Lisa Robinson, RN, MSN, didn’t set out to be anyone’s hero — she just wanted to make her community a little better for people in need.
A nurse educator at Tanner Health System, Lisa Robinson has served in many nursing roles, from the emergency department and medical-surgical floor to her current position training nursing students and staff.
But it’s what she does beyond the hospital that earned her accolades as one of the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) 2017 Hospital Heroes.
Lisa and her husband started a community service project to deliver hot meals to people in need on Thanksgiving. It has grown from serving about 40 people in 2013 to 500 people in 2016.
“It has been really overwhelming to see something small that Todd and I started grow like this thanks to the outpouring of support from our community,” she said.
Lisa also volunteers with the Community Christian Council in Haralson County, which helps feed needy families through a food bank, meals served on-site twice a week and a Christmas dinner. On Christmas 2016, they fed 800 people on-site, plus delivered 800 meals throughout the community.
It makes for a hectic holiday season for the Robinsons, but Lisa said they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“For Thanksgiving, we reach out to Carroll County and for Christmas, we reach out to Haralson County,” she said. “It’s definitely busy, but I just can’t imagine not doing this.”
Her husband, Todd Robinson, is a paramedic with West Georgia Ambulance. In his work, he regularly encounters real hardships first-hand. Starting the Thanksgiving meal delivery was his way to help.
“We go on a lot of calls where we see sad faces of people in difficult situations with medical problems and no family to help,” he said. “This lets us do something to help them.”
One of those memorable calls was to a 70-year-old woman who had lost her husband and son in the same year. She lived alone and was dependent on dialysis.
“To see her open the door and start crying and hug you because you brought her dinner is pretty amazing,” Todd said. “This meal would be the only gift she’d get during the holiday season and she was as excited as a kid with a new toy.”
Tina Lovvorn, who has been an emergency medical technician (EMT) for more than 20 years in west Georgia, loves volunteering for the project.
“It’s really special when you knock on their door and you’re not there on a medical call; you’re just there to make sure they get something warm to eat,” said Lovvorn. “This actually makes me more proud than responding to a medical call.”
The first year, the Robinsons covered much of the expense themselves, while West Georgia Ambulance pitched in. Paramedics and EMTs volunteered to deliver the meals.
The second year, there was a call that really struck Todd. When helping a 16-year-old boy who had been in an accident, they learned he lived in a small motel room with his grandmother and two siblings.
So they decided to target the motels and extended-stay facilities, serving more than 200 plates that year thanks to more volunteers and new donations.
As word spread, volunteers mobilized, donations poured in and local churches offered up their kitchens. West Georgia Ambulance and Air Evac started donating money to buy all the meat and cook it. Tanner Health System began donating paper products, to-go containers, serving utensils and packaged plastic ware.
“We never imagined it would grow like this,” Lisa said. “We never could have done this without all the wonderful volunteers, donations and blessings from heaven.”
The Robinsons live in Waco, Ga. They have a son, Clinton, who helps every year with the meals.
Lisa has been in her current role as a nurse educator for 12 years. She conducts a variety of education programs, teaches a trauma nursing course and mentors nursing students. She is also working to add a medical clinic to the Community Christian Council.
“She loves teaching and she has a wealth of knowledge that she shares not only with students but also with seasoned employees,” said B.J. Brock, RN, director of nursing at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. “I just don’t know what we’d do without Lisa.”
The GHA Hospital Hero Awards were established in 2005 as a way of recognizing the amazing hospital workers in our state. Each year, 10 individuals are honored with this prestigious award. Over the years, GHA has honored doctors, nurses, volunteers, environmental services staff, dietary aides, social workers, emergency medical services staff, and more. The program awards heroic deeds as well as long-time service to the healthcare field.
This year, Lisa became the fourth member of the Tanner team to earn the accolade. William Waters IV, MD, who now serves as executive vice president and chief medical officer, earned the award in 2006 for his work as an intensivist in the Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton intensive care unit. Nancy Pollard, Ed.S., a patient advocate in the ICU at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, and Wayne Senfeld, Ed.S., LPC, senior vice president for business development and behavioral health, earned the award in 2012.
### PRESS RELEASE