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GINA’s Joyous 5th Annual Nurses Day Celebration

By Mahadev Desai Ranju Varghese and Jennie Mathen

The Georgia Nurses Association (GINA) celebrated its 5th Annual Nurses Day function on April 21st at The Snellville Senior Center, Snellville,Georgia. This year the theme was Nurses – Inspire, Innovate, and Influence. The colorful and joyouscelebration was well attended by GINA members,their families and friends.The Programme was emceed by the poised dynamic duo – Cicily Kanjira and Shirley Parayil.

Sara Gabriel, Dr.Laura Caramanica and Richard Lamphier lighting the lamp.

The evening commenced with a warm welcome by the President of GINA, Vidya Kanagaraj. This was followed by the traditional lightning of the Lamp by the three distinguished guests Sara Gabriel, Dr. Laura Caramanica, Richard Lamphier, the newly enrolled members of GINA and the latest retirees Cicily Kanjira and Leelamma George. This was followed by a beautiful Nurses prayer, and the singing of the American and Indian National anthems.

Vani Manoharan receiving the GINA Nurse of the year award.

The chief guest this year was Sara Gabriel, the inspiration behind GINA and the founder and past President of North American Indian nurses Association (NAINA). During her eloquent and inspiring speech, with the quotes, ‘Dream with your eyes wide open’ and ‘All of us are MDs-Masters of our Destiny’; she spoke about her early days in Nursing and as an Indian nurse in the United States and how far the nurses have come since then in terms of academic advancements and holding key Leadership positions in various Nursing Organizations.

Honoring Abraham Augusthy for his continued support to GINA.

The special guests of honor were Dr. Laura Caramanica, Associate Professor of the Graduate Nursing Program at the University of West Georgia who represented the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition and Richard Lamphier, the Program Manager of the community program Project S.A.V.E. FOR Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who is the President Elect of Georgia Nurses Association (GNA). They represented the ‘Innovate and Influence’ aspect of the evening’s theme. It was wonderful to hear them talk about the importance of forming partnerships and bringing the various Nursing organizations together to strengthen the healthcare system and to do more community outreach for the underserved population in rural Georgia.

After the speeches the nurses joined in the traditional Red Carpet walk to the song “I am a Nurse a Force for Change”. They carried a lamp and at the stage they each received a rose from the Ladies of Honor Sara and Laura. This was followed by a Group picture and joyful cake cutting.
Everyone eagerly awaited announcement of the GINA Nurse of the Year Award. Betsy Augusthy’s announcement that Vani Manoharan was the 2018 GINA Nurse of the Year was greeted with wild applause. Vani was presented with a certificate and the coveted award. Vani works as a nurse clinician in the outpatient unit of the GaCTSA. The GaCTSA is an NIH-funded research entity of Emory University, and their mission is to facilitate clinical research studies. In the words of Vani’s Supervisor Dr. Joy Bailey,“This position requires demonstration of exemplary nursing practice, as executing clinical research protocols requires great attention to detail and precision. Vani consistently demonstrates those attributes. But beyond that, I can honestly affirm that, of all the nurses on my team, Vani is the one who persistently steps forward when we need someone to volunteer for projects, simple or difficult, intense or mundane, or needing immediate attention and always does so with an endearing smile.”

Recognizing Dr.Reddy and Dr.Supriti Balyan (GAPI Clinic) for partnering with GINA to serve the uninsured and under insured people of Georgia.

Jecy Mathew from the Educational Committee recognized achievements and professional advancement of GINA nurses. Agnes Karuveli announced the winner of GINA’s Annual Undergraduate Scholarship award to a Nursing Student in India – Ms.Vismaya, St. Ann’s School of Nursing, Tuticorin, India.
GINA President Vidya Kanagaraj then recognized all the affiliate members of GINA. Dr. Sujatha Reddy,the Founder and driving force behind SAI Health Fairs, received an award for being the most supportive and inspiring friend of GINA.

Mr. Abraham Augusthy CPA was given a plaque in recognition of his selfless support to GINA and being an integral part for GINA receiving the non-Profit status 501(C) 3. Dr. Supriti Balyan and Dr. Sujatha Reddy were presented with a framed certificate on behalf of GAPI clinic for partnering with GINA in serving the uninsured and underinsured people of Georgia.

The gathering was regaled by a beautiful group dance by the kids, a scintillating dance by GINAs own divas and a mellifluous song by Meena Joseph. After the dances and song,indoor games elicited lot of fun and laughter. Throughout the evening there were raffle drawings for door prizes.
The program concluded with a delicious dinner, which was both catered and lovingly prepared by Usha Chandrasekar.
The memorable evening was a celebration of love, laughter and kinship among all the nurses, their families and friends.