Letter to the Editor: Vorhees honored

On Saturday, July 14, an amazing late afternoon event took place to recognize and honor one of Hendry County’s premier professionals! Joanne Vorhees, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (or ARNP), has served women in the Department of Health’s Women’s Health program in Clewiston, LaBelle and Moore Haven for 50 years! And she’s NOT done yet! The staff and leadership decided it was time to honor this icon serving the community and public health. Joanne has served the community and helped women who are underserved and without the needed resources for health care.

Joanne was hired into the public health arena by Dr. Workman and Margaret Morgan. These names may be recognized by only a few Clewiston folks. Prior to coming to public health, she practiced nursing at Hendry General (Hendry Regional Medical Center) in the emergency room and surgery.

Joanne was a public health nurse for 25 years before pursuing her advanced degree as a nurse practitioner. At that time, she did it all, from epidemiology to prenatal services, immunizations, family planning and more! Joanne has been a great resource to the Health Department and the community.

Joanne continues to serve women but now has served generations of women. “Joanne also performs disaster duties and is one of the most ‘resourceful’ nurse practitioners I have ever met!”, said Jennifer Hood, ARNP, nursing director for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties. “She has the knowledge and skills that have helped many of the people we serve.”

Joanne’s husband, Boyd Jr., and his father, Boyd Sr. (both deceased), worked many years at U.S. Sugar Corp. Her son Craig Davis attended Hendry County schools, lives in West Palm Beach and has two sons and one daughter. Her grandson Cody is a 23-year old corpsman who wants to become a physician’s assistant. The family have been longtime residents of Clewiston, and Joanne says she “would not want to live anywhere else!”

Joseph Pepe, the health officer for the Department of Health in these counties, said: “Joanne has been loved by the community she serves. We hope she never retires! She is amazing and certainly a public health icon!” He read a congratulatory letter from the surgeon general and secretary of health for the State of Florida, Celeste Phillips, M.D.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has started a Joanne Vorhees Nursing Scholarship for those interested in pursuing higher education in nursing. This scholarship is exclusive only to Hendry and Glades counties.

That’s where we all come in! We all can donate to this fund to show our love, respect, sense of community and admiration to this lady. Joanne could have gone anywhere with her skills. She stayed in our rural communities where she quietly made a difference. We need the community to help by donating to the scholarship initiative. No amount is too small (or too large). It’s another way to show love to these rural communities. Please help. Donate. Change a life in Hendry and/or Glades county. The URL is: http://bit.ly/JoanneVorheesScholarship.

Patricia Dobbins

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