“Well hey, why frown?” Maddy Norvell, November Employee of the Month

November 6, 2013

Salads, hot meals, pie, snacks, coffee, ice cream — there many wonderful things at the Boone Hospital Center cafeteria. But one of the best things about the cafeteria is that Maddy Norvell works there.

Maddy makes sure the staff and visitors who cross her path get a smile with their meal.


Maddy Norvell

“Well hey, why frown?” she said.

Maddy has worked in the cafeteria for 11 years. She loves interacting with hospital staff members and visitors who come to visit each day.

“You see them come back time, after time and they always remember you,” she said.

Maddy grew up in Iowa. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 after graduating from high school. She spent a busy 22 months in the Navy, which included going through boot camp in Maryland before being transferred to San Diego, San Francisco and Hawaii.

During her time in the Navy she married Lawrence, a fellow Navy service member. Maddy received an honorable discharge from the Navy when she became pregnant with the first of their four children, all of whom were born at a military hospital in Hawaii.

“Two of them were born when it was a territory, two when it was a state,” she said.

After 10 years in Hawaii, the family moved regularly with Lawrence’s transfers during his more than 28 years of military service. Maddy enjoyed the moves.

“If you get transferred every two or three years, all your garbage gets cleaned out,” she said with a smile.

When Lawrence retired from the service, the family finally settled in Columbia in 1982.

Maddy worked in finance for the City of Columbia and the Water and Light Department. When it came time to retire, Maddy quickly discovered that lifestyle wasn’t for her. Lawrence had already passed away and Maddy wasn’t happy by herself at home.

“Retirement lasted six months, I couldn’t take it,” she said. “I needed to have to get up in the morning, to have a responsibility to do, and I just like working.”

She chose to come work at Boone Hospital because she had three operations here earlier in life and was always impressed by the service.

“They were always friendly, everyone always took care of me,” she said.

She has great respect for the work done by the hospital’s caregivers, and she’s happy to be here as part of the team. However, she still misses some of the aspects of military life.

“I think I need to get transferred someplace so I can clean out my garage,” she said with a laugh.

Boone Hospital cancer patient named Homecoming honorary captain

October 25, 2013
Lisa Tribble with her family. Her son is a sophomore at Mizzou and her daughter is a Mizzou alumna.

Lisa Tribble with her family. Her son is a sophomore at Mizzou and her daughter is a Mizzou alumna.

A big fan of the Mizzou Tigers, Lisa Tribble of Unionville had long held plans to attend the university’s Homecoming festivities this year.

However, Homecoming is taking on a new significance as Lisa will be named the Homecoming game’s honorary captain, representing cancer patients at Boone Hospital’s Stewart Cancer Center.

A little over a month ago, on Sept. 12, Lisa was diagnosed with plasma cell leukemia.

The diagnosis came after Lisa’s yearly checkup revealed her white blood count was extremely high. At Boone Hospital, further testing determined the problem — cancer.

“Initially, I was stunned,” Lisa said.

With her family by her side and strengthened by her faith, Lisa is working with Oncologist Elangovan Balakrishnan, MD, to defeat her cancer.

“I decided there was no question about this, I will beat this disease!” she said.

Her current treatment plan is to receive three or four cycles of chemotherapy and then have a stem cell transplant.

As she begins her battle, she looks forward to hearing a roar of encouragement from the stands as she is introduced during the first quarter of the Mizzou Homecoming football game.

“What an honor to represent cancer patients and Boone Hospital at Homecoming!” she said. “We are season ticket holders and can feel the electricity in the stands during games and can’t wait to feel that excitement on the field Saturday!”

Nurse strives to take the fear out of surgery

October 4, 2013

Joni Cupp is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for October 2013. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

Coming to the hospital for a surgery creates anxiety for many patients, especially first-timers.

Fortunately, Boone Hospital Center has nurses like Joni Cupp to help make patients feel comfortable and put their fears at ease.

Joni Cupp Oct 2013 EOM“From the moment they walk in the door, if they start off having a good experience from there, you can just tell their anxiety level drops quite a bit,” Joni said.

As a registered nurse who works in Pre-Admitting Surgical Services, Joni helps guide patients through the surgery process. She compiles a medical history and tells patients and their families what to expect before, during and after surgery.

“These patients have received a lot of information from the doctors and then they come to the hospital and get a lot of information here, too. It can almost make your head spin,” Joni said. “So whatever we can do to help them feel better about what they’re coming in for is worth it.”

Joni grew up in Laddonia. After high school, she came to Columbia because she wanted to live in a larger city with more opportunities. She got a job transcribing physicians’ notes at Columbia Surgical Associates. She found that she was very interested in health care and decided to pursue a nursing degree at Central Methodist University.

While at nursing school, she started working part time at Boone Hospital and moved into her current role after graduating.

She is married to Urologist Mike Cupp, MD. They have four children between them, Cari, 19; Lauren, 18; Nathan, 18 and Mason, 17.

Away from the hospital, Joni loves taking outdoors vacations with her family. She also enjoys reading fiction.

She said the best thing about working at Boone is the people she serves alongside.

“It’s the people I work with,” she said. “We have a great group of nurses who work well together as a team.”

A new weight class — Boone employee honored after losing 90 pounds

October 2, 2013

By Jacob Luecke

This story is featured in the Fall 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

One night last year, Aaron Buran had a revelation while watching a UFC fight on television.

It was a heavyweight bout featuring the sport’s strongest hulking fighters. Despite their size, Aaron was surprised to discover he was actually larger than all of them. The weight class tops out at 265 pounds — he weighed 266.

Aaron Buran, after losing 90 pounds.

Aaron Buran, after losing 90 pounds.

“It just hit me one night that I wouldn’t make heavyweight in a UFC fight,” said Aaron, who works as a central services tech at Boone Hospital Center.

He knew it was time for a change.

Buran’s struggles with weight began after reaching adulthood. In high school, he was a talented wrestler who competed in the 130-pound class.

A few years later, he joined the Air Force Reserve. He served at Whiteman Air Force Base where a culture of fitness helped keep him in shape.

But after leaving the Air Force, he stopped working out and started eating fast food.

“That’s when I really started putting on weight,” he said. “You just tend to go and get fast food because it’s so easy.”

Over time, he gradually doubled his high school weight.

Then last year, with support from his wife and coworkers at Boone Hospital, Aaron made a plan to lose the weight. He used an app on his smartphone called MyFitnessPal to track how many calories he was eating. His wife cooked healthy meals for him almost every day.

Aaron also started exercising again.

“I started just jogging in my neighborhood,” he said. “Once I got one mile, I aimed for two.”

Aaron Buran, two years ago.

Aaron Buran, two years ago.

By September, he was ready for his first 5K race. He competed with Boone Hospital’s team during the 2012 Susan G. Komen Mid-Missouri Race for the Cure.

He ran his second 5K on St. Patrick’s Day — in a pouring, frigid rain — and a third this spring.

Along with his running, Aaron has been spending time at Boone Hospital’s WELLAWARE Fitness Center, where he concentrates on cardio exercises.

He said the messages he gets from the WELLAWARE service inspire him to keep on track.

“Just being at WELLAWARE and getting the emails from WELLAWARE about healthy choices—it really makes you start thinking about the choices you make,” he said.

To date, Aaron has lost about 90 pounds. He said he’s comfortable at the weight he’s reached, 172. On the UFC scale, he’d qualify as middleweight, and he’s just off welterweight status.

Aaron, being recognized by the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Aaron, being recognized by the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.

In honor of his amazing weight loss, Aaron was given Boone Hospital’s Health Hall of Fame award this year. The annual award recognizes one employee who has made a personal commitment to improving his or her health and inspiring those around them. Part of the honor included being recognized on field during a St. Louis Cardinals game.

Aaron’s boss said it’s been amazing to watch Aaron’s progress.

“Aaron is a colleague, an advocate for safety, a veteran and a daily reminder that we can make positive change in our personal lives if we keep working and don’t give up when it gets hard,” said Brian Whorley, business and supply chain manager. “An achievement like his is an inspiration for all of us.”

Although Aaron appreciates the recognition, the best thing about the weight loss is how he feels.

“It really has changed the things I could do just on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “I just have so much more energy.”

Employee saves lives through telemetry

August 2, 2013

Cheryl Long is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for August 2013. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

Cheryl Long has a detail-oriented mind and a knack for multitasking.

“I’ve always been a tinkerer and I’ve always loved looking for things to do,” she said.

Cheryl Long 2013 August EOM

Cheryl Long

Those personality traits suit her job perfectly as she watches over the heart rhythms of dozens of patients at once.

As a monitor technician in Boone Hospital’s telemetry lab, Cheryl and her coworkers keep a close eye on heart rhythms across the hospital and quickly alert caregivers if they see a troubling pattern.

In her nine years on the job, she can easily recall times when she’s helped save a life. She remembers one instance when she spotted a patient having a heart attack, an observation that led to him having a life-saving pacemaker implanted.

When Cheryl later met the man, he thanked her personally.

“We have saved people’s lives. It’s remarkable,” she said. “When it happens, it’s like ‘Alright, we did that!’”

Cheryl grew up on a farm in Santa Fe, Mo., northeast of Columbia. She was the twelfth of 13 children. Her job at Boone Hospital is what brought her to Columbia, where she now lives with her partner. She has two stepchildren.

Away from work, she enjoys doing puzzles. She also crafts memory bears.

She loves the friendly, professional atmosphere at Boone Hospital and said she values how everyone is treated as an equal.

Her coworkers staged a surprise announcement to let her know she had been selected as employee of the month. When she got the news, her own heart may have skipped a beat.

“I didn’t flat line, but I could have,” she said. “It was really an honor.”

Kids on Track — These kids are ready to tackle a marathon

August 1, 2013

By KaeLeigh Brown

This story is featured in the Summer 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

Something is moving across Mid-Missouri this summer. Thousands of little feet are counting up the miles as 1,091 kids run, walk, bike and even skip an entire marathon.

2013 Kids on Track participant Amanda Kurukulasuriya, 10, Mill Creek Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Amanda Kurukulasuriya, 10, Mill Creek Elementary.

These kids, ranging in age from two to fourteen, have all set the same goal: to complete a total of 26.2 miles by the summer’s end.

You may be thinking, “this sounds great, but what would motivate so many kids to do something most adults won’t even do?”

Well, thanks to Boone Hospital Center’s WELLAWARE and sponsorships from local businesses around Columbia, the participants have plenty of enticing incentives. As part of the program, the kids keep a log of their miles completed and as they reach certain mile marks along the way they are eligible for prizes.

The prizes are definitely worth the walk. Once the designated number of miles has been completed to redeem a prize, participants present their mile log to the sponsoring business and redeem their reward.

Kids on Track actually began in 2005. After a short hiatus, Boone Hospital decided to bring the program back last year, bigger and better than ever.

2013 Kids on Track participant Bradyn Gruenefeld, 6, Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Bradyn Gruenefeld, 6, Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary.

“We wanted to bring back a youth program for kids that focuses on building good exercise habits through their summer break,” said Erin Wegner, who coordinates Kids on Track.

So far the program has seen promising support from the community. When Kids on Track re-launched in 2012 participation nearly doubled. Then this summer, it nearly doubled again when 1,091 kids pledged to stay active over the summer.

Kids on Track began with a kickoff celebration on May 9 at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia. It was amazing to see hundreds of young kids beginning their 26-mile journey with their families by their sides. Despite the threatening rain everyone was excited about the event.

Tanith Frazier, 6, and her mother, Kristen Frazier, were among the families making memories that evening

2013 Kids on Track participant Tanith Frazier, 6, Shepard Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Tanith Frazier, 6, Shepard Elementary.

When asked if this was her first marathon Tanith answered, “Uh. This is my second one.”

This provoked a curious look and a laugh from her mother who was probably wondering when her daughter thought she ran the first one. After some deliberation Frazier said that she plans on biking the miles to complete her marathon.

Bradyn Gruenefeld, 6, also plans on biking his miles, but not all of them. When asked how he planned to finish his marathon Bradyn said he would, “probably bike, skip and that’s all.” Hopefully Bradyn is a good biker because skipping any number of miles might be a challenge.

Other Kids on Track participants like Abby Hinshaw plan on running

2013 Kids on Track participant Jonas Nazario, 7, Parkade Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Jonas Nazario, 7, Parkade Elementary.

their miles. Abby, 13, has big plans for staying active this summer. She is scheduled to run a half-marathon this month and is using the Kids on Track program as a training method.

While this is her first year participating, Abby really likes the idea of the Kids on Track program: “I think it’s pretty cool. I see all these little kids and I’m like, ‘go kids, go!’”

Erin Wegner shares that enthusiasm for the program. She thinks Kids on Track will be highly beneficial to its participants.

“For me, I feel the biggest benefit is starting their exercise routine young. When you look at adults trying to lose weight, they change their nutrition habits first before starting an exercise routine,” she said. “When exercise habits start younger that’s something they carry with them well into their adult life.”

Kids on Track is not just about exercise, it’s also about fun. The program rewards kids for staying active and they enjoy doing it.

This year’s Kids on Track program will conclude on August 8 with a grand finale at Stephens Lake Park. There the kids will receive t-shirts and trophies for completing their marathons.

You go kids!

2013 Kids on Track participant Jalen Morris, 4, Parkade Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Jalen Morris, 4, Parkade Elementary.

2013 Kids on Track participant Abby Hinshaw, 13, Smithton Middle School.

2013 Kids on Track participant Abby Hinshaw, 13, Smithton Middle School.

Nurse loves serving patients in cardiac rehab

June 6, 2013

As she helps patients recover from heart surgery, registered nurse Marla Jones enjoys watching them regain strength and learn to live healthier lives.

Marla Jones

Marla Jones, RN

Education is a big part of Marla’s job in Cardiac Rehab. She teaches wellness and preventative practices to help patients avoid future heart problems.

“I love working love working in Cardiac Rehab,” she said. “I work for, and with, an amazing group of individuals. I cannot imagine a more perfect career than working here.”

It’s a job that allows her to spend months with her patients and truly get to know them as individuals.

“It’s just really cool,” she said. “Sometimes I get to see them from right after the procedure and then through the end of their rehab. I absolutely love it.”

Marla grew up in southeast Colorado and later attended high school in Iowa. She chose her career after a high school aptitude test determined nursing would be a good fit.

She later graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty. She’s worked at Boone Hospital for the past 11 years.

“I’ve lived in a lot of different places and I’ve worked at a variety of places, so I have a pretty good idea of how Boone compares,” she said. “I think Boone offers excellent patient care and it’s a great place to work.”

When she’s not at Boone Hospital, Marla enjoys spending time with her family and friends, including her husband, Michael, and their two grown children.

She also loves gardening — flowers, vegetables, you name it.

“I just like to dig in the dirt,” she said. “I even like pulling weeds.”


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