BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by Anish Mathen
Atlanta, GA: The Georgia Indian Nurses Association (GINA) celebrated Nurses’ Week at St. Thomas Orthodox Church with a glitzy dinner and fun-filled entertainment on Friday May 2, 2014.
The well attended event was emceed with great verve and composure by Shereen Xavier and Monisha Mammen. After a silent prayer, Jasmine Anickat sang the U S National Anthem. Mary Jose, the founder and current President of GINA welcomed all and recognized the guests of honor, Dr. Sujatha Reddy, Rev Fr. Mathew Elayadathamadam, and the chief guest and speaker, Dr. Rebecca Wheeler, RN MA PhD. She then gave a special message in keeping with the theme, ‘Nurses leading the way’ saying, “We are called to step out of our comfort zones and step into our roles as leaders. As John C. Maxwell said, a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. No matter what area of nursing you come from you too are a leader. Our actions and words can influence, motivate and inspire all around us.”
Rev Fr. Mathew Elayadathamadam blessed the nurses with a prayer and kind words speaking to the nurses of their work as angels. A red carpet was rolled at the end of the blessing, and all the nurses were invited to come forward lighting a candle representing “The Lady with The Lamp”, Florence Nightingale, while Dr. Rebecca Wheeler and Rev Fr. Mathew gave out red and white roses to each nurse and then the nurses holding lighted candles walked through gracefully for recognition, to the uplifting songs ‘Lead kindly light’ and ‘These Hands’. During recognition, an inspiring video,’ Tribute to Nurses ‘was also shown to the attendees.
After this beautiful ceremony honoring the nurses, Dr. Rebecca Wheeler gave an enthusiastic and inspirational speech about “Nurses leading the way.” She encouraged each to be the member of the legislative part of nursing association.
SAI Health Fair’s well-known founder, Dr.Sujatha Reddy, who has successfully organized over 30 SAI Health Fairs to help uninsured or under-insured and under-privileged community members, talked about spirit of volunteerism, quoting United Nations Secretary Gen. Ban Ki Moon, “Volunteerism is a two-way street. Even as volunteers help generate positive change for others, their own lives are often transformed by the act of volunteering itself. ”She told the nurses not to hesitate but act, drawing inspiration from Mother Teresa who said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” She discussed the nurse’s role in the free community health services. She also spoke to the fulfillment behind volunteerism and motivated the nurses to devote time to serving others in their free time as well, quoting President, Obama, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Dr.Sujatha implored.” Look around you. There is so much one can do to help the needy.One can feed homeless,help orphans,help sick or disabled,lend a hand to senior citizens to face old age and loneliness,and so on.As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
The Executive Director of Gandhi Foundation of USA, Antony Thaliath and his wife Dr. Lizy Thaliath recognized nurses for their excellence and support in the community. Nurses who had received awards, earned their degrees, and progressed in their careers during the year were recognized and presented with Certificates of achievement. GINA’s executive vice president, Lilly Anickat was bestowed with the GINA Nurse of the Year award for 2014.
Robin Jacob regaled the audience with a scintillating dance. More was in treat for the audience as Sneha Cletus; Gabriella Thomas and Jasmine Anickat performed a riveting group dance. A few games added to the fun and gaiety of the evening.
Cicily Kanjira gave the vote of thanks for the support and generosity of those who had participated in the celebration and the performers for providing the evening’s rich medley of dances and games. She also thanked St. Thomas Orthodox Church Committee for accommodation and facilities for the event.
The GINA nurse’s week celebration was concluded with India’s National anthem sung by members of the Executive Committee and a sumptuous dinner.
Mary Jose requested members to attend upcoming events during the year including the Biennial Education Conference by NAINA (National Association of Indian Nurses of America) in the cruise from July 31-aug 4th,2014 from New York to Canada. (For registration: www.nainausa.com), the Independence Day celebration with an education seminar on August16th (venue to be announced) and a health fair at St Alphonse Catholic Church , Loganville on September 14th.
GINA was started in 2013 and was founded to empower Indian nurses to strive for more than just average and reach their highest potential in their professional practice. The organization is for all Georgia professional nurses and nursing students of Indian origin/heritage that creates a community of excellence in nursing practice not only in in the healthcare industry but in the community at large. Please visit www.gina.org.