When one considers the Spirit of Service Award, there is no one that typifies this award better than our 2017 recipient, Jayne Voyles. Jayne grew up in California and moved to Pensacola as a teenager. She always wanted to be an OB nurse! She volunteered as a candy-striper then earned an Associate degree and began working locally on an obstetrics floor. She continued her education and earned a BSN degree, then certification and fellowship as a ASPO certified childbirth educator. She earned her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant credential in 1994.
During her independently obtained training in lactation, she was privileged to learn under the lactation education guru, Kittie Frantz and was taught Kittie’s innovative breastfeeding support and management techniques!!!!! Jayne learned that babies are already hardwired to seek and find the breast! They are capable, IF WE JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY and stop the practices and behaviors that interfere and sabotage the process!!!
In 1989, Jayne was recruited by Baptist Hospital to develop and implement a comprehensive inpatient and outpatient lactation management program. This was truly a labor of love. The outpatient facility was christened “The Mother’s Place” for breastfeeding management! This was the first and only of its kind in Pensacola! She used to joke that she couldn’t believe that they paid her to live out her dream!!!! After almost ten years at Baptist, Jayne resigned her prenatal education and lactation positions due to the birth of her third child and her own mother’s failing health.
A few years later, Jayne returned to the work force and quickly returned to her home at Baptist Health Care. While working as a house supervisor and nurse manager, Jayne maintained a seventeen-year private practice as a Lactation Consultant, often donating her time and expertise to fuel her passion for helping moms achieve breastfeeding success! Since 2013, Jayne has been blessed to be back in the OB department, work as the hospital’s full time Lactation Consultant and teach weekly childbirth and Breastfeeding classes.
For over 35 years, she has tirelessly advocated for breastfeeding moms and babies with physicians, nurses and administrators, even when it was not the most accepted or popular stance. Even when not working in Lactation for employment, she has assisted numerous new mothers in many ways and is well known in all three hospitals and this community as a champion for breastfeeding! When you think of Jayne Voyles, that is what defines her. Many friends, colleagues, and former patients came to celebrate this award, which has been long overdue.
Judi is a labor & delivery nurse. Judy has been a long time supporter of breastfeeding in our community. With her years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse, she has promoted breastfeeding to new parents before and after delivery. Her skills with moms and babies have made her a role model to nursing students as well as nursing staff. Judy has continued to provide expertise in her current role.
Judi and her family moved to Pensacola in 1990. Judi has worked in obstetrics for 28 years and has been certified in Inpatient Obstetrics since 1989. She worked 6 years at West Florida Hospital in the Family Care Center. She then moved to Baptist Hospital where she worked for 12 years in nursery and postpartum as well as assisting with lactation call. During this time, she earned certification as an IBCLC and certified childbirth educator. She has been employed in Labor & Delivery at Sacred Heart Hospital for the past nine years. Judi has promoted breastfeeding as a nursery nurse as well as labor and delivery nurse. She was one of the first nurses at Sacred to embrace the Baby Friendly Initiative. She promotes skin to skin with parents and staff.
Judi has been married to Matt for 35 years. They have 2 sons, Matt, who is 32 and married to Sarah, and Brett, who is 28 and married to KIm. Matt and Sarah have adorable twin girls: Olivia and Emma who were born in May of this year and are exclusively breastfed. Judi believes the experiences and education she has received have culminated in the ability to encourage her son and daughter-in-law in the care of her two grandbabies. She says, “I seem to always return to the bedside on Labor and Delivery. I have been an advocate for couplet care since 1990. I have worked really hard in keeping the baby with the Mom and start breastfeeding education before the baby is born. Thank you again for this recognition. I often have felt like a salmon swimming up stream trying to make changes for the overall wellbeing of mom and baby.”
Christy is an RN and IBCLC. After falling in love with the Gulf Coast and vacationing here for many years, she and her family moved here for her to work at Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast as a lactation consultant in December 2012.
Christy didn’t receive any assistance or education with breastfeeding her first child from the hospital staff, doctor, or child’s pediatrician. This spurred her to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become an RN and make a difference in people’s lives. She also went on to successfully nurse all 4 of her daughters past a year. Prior to coming to Destin, she was a maternal-child staff nurse for approximately 15 years in Alabama. She always encouraged and aided in moms and babies breastfeeding.
Christy and her husband, Byron, have four daughters: Catherine (24), Summer (22), Audrey (20), and Becca (18) as well as a 5 year old granddaughter, Charlotte.
“Christy finally took the step to become a lactation consultant after seeing the lack of breastfeeding support provided in her community of Huntsville, Alabama. She went on to spearhead the lactation program at a brand new hospital and educate not only her patients but staff as well. Christy has faced many challenges with staff and patient education but never gives up. The feeling of accomplishment I hear in her voice every day from helping a new mom overcome the same obstacles that she faced is remarkable. She is passionate about her hospital becoming baby friendly and giving every baby the best start to life.”
“I can attest to her knowledge and care as she helped my daughter and I 5 years ago. Because of her perseverance when she was nursing me 20 years before I knew I couldn’t give up. I’m thankful she is giving that support to women all over the Emerald Coast now. It is her goal to give every woman the tools necessary to be successful at breastfeeding on their own and not with someone else running the show. She empowers women every day to listen to their bodies and their babies. I can’t wait to see where this journey leads her.
“Christy is leading Sacred Heart Emerald Coast through the baby friendly journey to help promote breastfeeding in the community. Christy is also educating women and staff every day that formula is not the first line of defense when there is difficulty nursing. She is always right there to help even after moms and babies go home. Christy has been working tirelessly and is away from her family on this journey. I want her to know that her good work has not gone unnoticed. She needs to keep fighting the good fight to eradicate misconceptions among nurses, doctors, and patients regarding what’s normal with breastfeeding. If I know her she won’t ever give up.”
Elaine is an RN and IBCLC who worked for Baptist Hospital in Pensacola for many years until recently. She is originally from Northern England where she spent her early childhood. Before becoming an IBCLC Elaine was an RN and CLC. She worked in the newborn nursery at Baptist. She was an advocate for breastfeeding with her patients and was called upon to assist with breastfeeding mothers in the absence of the LCs. She encouraged her patients to breastfeed and was very knowledgeable in her teaching. After becoming an IBCLC, Elaine began teaching breastfeeding classes. She has been a member of ECABS since its early conception and has worked to promote breastfeeding in the community by working at the breastfeeding booth at the fair and numerous other venues. She currently has a private practice in the Pensacola Community.
Elaine and her husband, Daryl, have two children: Joshua (37) and Leah (32) as well as a 14 year old grandson, Gage.
“I have known Elaine for about 15 years and have observed her working with moms even before she became a part of the lactation dept. She was in a unique position long ago to be with the moms at delivery and be the first to put the baby to breast. I observed on many occasions her convincing a formula feeding mother to breastfeed her baby. After the unfortunate closing of the Lactation Department at Baptist Hospital, Elaine continues to assist mothers by opening her own practice and offering breastfeeding support groups as well as breastfeeding education.”
When asked about her motivation to support breastfeeding, Elaine said, “My children were nursed prior to my being board certified in lactation and without any other help for that matter. It was from that point that I knew there was a need for supporting mothers and families to become more aware of breastfeeding as the biological norm.”
Christina has lived in the Niceville area since 1999. She worked initially for Dr. Jennifer Esses, a local obstetrician, as a receptionist. After a break when her children, Nicklaus and Makena, were very young, she returned to that position. She had both great and challenging breastfeeding experiences with her children and found support from her employer as well as from the local La Leche League, where she found the warm, loving environment that she needed at the time. During this time she realized the need for more breastfeeding support in her local area and after a while, she decided to become a LLL leader with the encouragement of Sarah Leatherman and other LLL leaders. Dr. Esses helped her to become credentialed as a Certified lactation Educator and Christina began teaching breastfeeding classes at the clinic, which eventually led to an opportunity to teach breastfeeding classes at Gentle Birth Options as well.
Christina began working exclusively at Gentle Birth Options last October with a weekly breastfeeding support group, scheduled breastfeeding classes, and working as a medical and birth assistant. She is planning to sit for her IBCLC certification next year (2014). She is still semi-active as a LLL leader as well, taking calls and emails from mothers seeking help. Christina is debating how to further extend her education in a way that will help her continue to improve with her counseling skills and possibly add the ability to work with moms who are struggling with postpartum depression
“Christina is an amazing woman! So caring and willing to help Moms and baby’s have a successful breastfeeding relationship! She does private consults in the hospital or where ever Moms need her to go. She will have Moms in need of help come to her home so that she can help. She goes above and beyond! Gives out her cell phone so Moms can always get in touch with her if needed.”
“Christina gives moms support and guidance to nurture and develop a thriving breast feeding relationship between mom and baby. She offers her support from her job from 8-5pm. And even late nights when there are night feedings and mom needs help or encouragement. She leads a breast feeding support group every Friday for any mom in the area that needs support and guidance on latch, supply or many other issues.”
There were two recipients of the 2012 Frankie Mims Spirit of Service Award.
Karen has worked as a nurse in Maternal Child nursing for 16 years. After a rewarding time as a mother to her two daughters: Katherine and Tamara, she went back to school to be a nurse. After graduation, she sought a position in Maternal Child care and worked as a nurse for 16 years. She became an IBCLC 11 years ago and has been the Lactation Supervisor at SHH for the past 10 years. She has led the department from a staff of 2 IBCLCs to now having 6 lactation consultants as well as an outpatient facility in the Nesting Place. Karen and her husband, Mike Shelton, live in Gulf Breeze.
Karen has worked long hours teaching Lactation courses as well as Infant Safety/Shaken Baby sessions. She has volunteered time to teach Breastfeeding sessions for the Centering Program of the University of Florida OB/Gyn Clinic for the past two years. Recently Karen spearheaded SHH’s application for a NICHQ grant for the Best Fed Beginnings Project. She has been an advocate for SHH becoming Baby-Friendly for years. SHH was awarded the grant and is preparing to start the two year training and support process toward the Baby-Friendly designation.
Karen has been a supporter of ECABS since its founding in 2009. She was a participant in the previous Escambia County Breastfeeding Task Force. She has received numerous heartfelt responses from mothers she has helped both inpatient and outpatient at SHH.
Rachel has lived for almost 7 years with her husband, Joshua, a native Pensacolian, in downtown Pensacola. Her daughters, Zella and Emerson, are 3 and 1. Rachel has degrees in chemistry and medical anthropology, but quit her research career at the Center for Health Disparities in Mobile, AL when her first daughter was born. Rachel always knew she wanted to breastfeed her children, but she had no idea the possible challenges that could arise. La Leche League of Pensacola and the leader at that time, Lauren Jockimo, were instrumental to her breastfeeding success after the birth of her first daughter. Rachel had been considering LLL leadership for awhile, but when she learned that the group, the longest continually running La Leche League group in all of Florida, might close, she began the accreditation process. She became a La Leche League Leader at a time when her participation was essential for the continuation of the group but was an extreme hardship for her. She has been a LLL Leader for almost 2 years and has scaled mountains to keep the group alive. During the period of fall, 2010 through the end of 2011, Rachel selflessly dedicated herself to keeping the LLL of Pensacola group afloat. She brought in Leaders from other groups to lead the meetings and help mothers while she was still becoming accredited. She dealt with bank problems as a lone Leader, carting her newborn and toddler to the bank with her. She maintained an on-call schedule as most Leaders do, helping mothers whenever they called her. She led monthly support meetings of more than 20 mothers by herself with her very young children in tow.
“Rachel has spent her time supporting and encouraging woman who are trying to breastfeed. She, herself, supported me after my son had a difficult beginning. She stayed on the phone as long as I needed her to and followed up to make sure we were doing well. She also fought against great adversity to keep LLL of Pensacola going when all other leaders were moving. And you would have never even known it. She remained poised and dedicated at meetings, keeping her focus on helping mothers to care for their babies.”
“Her dedication to helping mothers breastfeed is phenomenal. I am continually learning new things from her grasp of technical breastfeeding information. What she has done is a Herculean task; she deserves a medal.”
The 2011 Frankie Mims Spirit of Service Award recipient is Michelle Winston. Michelle came to the Panhandle area of Florida in 2009 with her husband and three beautiful daughters from Oak Harbor, Michigan. Michelle had already been a La Leche League Leader in Washington so was eager to get started here once she was able. Since relocating here, Michelle has become a birth assistant for Gentle Birth Options of Niceville.
Michelle was nominated for the Spirit of Service award by Cindy Denbow, the nurse midwife owner of Gentle Birth Options. Michelle says “I became a (LLL) leader to help Moms get correct information about breastfeeding. While in Washington I lead a breastfeeding support group for the hospital on base for a little over a year. I’ve also done breastfeeding classes for WIC… (As a birth assistant,) it has been my goal for every birth that I attend to get the baby latched on and breastfeeding within twenty minutes of birth. I really love working with Moms and helping them to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. I love that I’m bringing up my daughters, my nieces and my daughters’ friends to have a healthy view of breastfeeding.” Some of her nomination citation reads “Michelle arranges home visits to help with breastfeeding and provides her cell number to new moms for them to call her directly with any breastfeeding concerns.”
Other comments received about Michelle were that she has been “more than passionate about breastfeeding. It is her goal in life to help any mother give their baby the best through breastfeeding. She is always willing to help a scared or frustrated mother get through any tough times.” “She has a true passion for moms and babies and what is best for both of them.”