LRMC personnel recognized for year-long efforts

From managing a Europe-wide $65 million operations and maintenance contract, to meeting the needs of more than 850 personnel, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Civilian of the Year awardees for 2020 were well deserving of their recognition.

From managing a Europe-wide $65 million operations and maintenance contract, to meeting the needs of more than 850 personnel, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Civilian of the Year awardees for 2020 were well deserving of their recognition.

A culmination of their endeavors over the past year was recognized during an awards ceremony for three LRMC civilians including a local national, March 5.

During the recognition ceremony at LRMC, Sibel Lobban, Dr. Joanne Bollhofer-White and Richard Hilger were each presented with the Civilian Service Achievement Medal and a monetary award for their selection as the Category I, II, and III Civilian Employees of the Year, respectively.

The intent of the awards is to recognize three quarterly awards recipients who have made contributions which enhance LRMC’s mission accomplishments, teamwork, or public image; display a professional attitude toward self and others and a willingness to share credit; commit to excellence demonstrated by public service, continuous improvements and stewardship of resources; demonstrate personal initiative, creativity and professionalism; and who are recognized by patrons for their efforts.

“I didn’t realize it was possible for one person to have so much breadth and depth of knowledge on issues that have huge effects on our Soldiers’ lives,” said U.S. Army Capt. Brennan James, commander, Company C, Troop Command, LRMC, who nominated Lobban for the Category I award, open to non-supervisory U.S. civilians and local nationals in entry-level grades.

Lobban, an administrative support assistant at Company C, started in public service while going to school in Heidelberg, Germany. There, she worked at the local U.S. military installation with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service before shifting positions and finding her calling at LRMC. Since 2011, Lobban has proved to be the backbone for Company C, the largest company-sized unit in the U.S. European Command with over 1,850 assigned personnel and family members.

“It makes me happy being able to help them, whatever the situation is,” said Lobban, a native of Berlin. “I enjoy the diversity of the job and it keeps me busy. I definitely appreciate the recognition.”

“(Lobban) could not be as successful as she has been if she didn’t genuinely care about our people. Her inner fire fuels the work and everyone who interacts with her can see that she cares about them and is willing to put in the work to support them,” explains James. “Because they can see it, they trust her and having trust in your support network is key to the success for the team.”

While Lobban contributed to Soldier readiness and administration, clinicians at the largest American medical center overseas relied on Bollhofer-White, a medication safety pharmacist at the Department of Pharmacy, for medication and patient safety.

Although Bollhofer-White, who was recognized with the Category II award, which is open to non-supervisory U.S. civilians and local nationals in mid-level grades, is not new to military medicine after spending two decades as an active-duty pharmacist in the U.S. Air Force. She is, however, new to civil service.

“I started in civil service when I came to LRMC,” explains Bollhofer-White, a medication safety pharmacist with LRMC’s Department of Pharmacy and native of Hicksville, New York.

Over the past 2 ½ years, Bollhofer-White led pharmacy efforts to ensure her department and the hospital was practicing safe and efficient medication management, including leading the team during the triennial Joint Commission survey.

“(Bollhofer-White) has a passion for patient and staff well-being and applies her pharmacy expertise to improve medication use,” said U.S. Army Col. Paul Kassebaum, chief, Department of Pharmacy, LRMC. “Her impact goes way beyond the pharmacy. Through her unique combination of initiative, persistence, and expertise, she has improved medication use for patients throughout the hospital.”

Additionally, Bollhofer-White established medication management champions in each clinical area throughout LRMC, which streamlines any medication-related messages to staff members. She has also trained over 40 staff members to increase patient safety and staff efficiency.

“She is always looking for how to make processes better and will develop solutions proactively,” said Kassebaum. “It is inspiring to get to work with people like her.”

Bollhofer-White’s interest in pharmaceuticals began in junior high school, following a suggestion in the occupation from her school counsellor.

“The more I looked into what a pharmacist does, the more I became interested in this as a profession. Pharmacy gives you an opportunity to help so many people by providing them medication and information to lead healthier lives,” said Bollhofer-White. “LRMC pharmacy is probably the best I’ve ever worked with. We have a mix of Army, Air Force, Department of Defense civilians and contractors, and everyone works as one unit to ensure our patients receive the best pharmacy care.”

The awardees’ impact was also realized well beyond LRMC, the parent organization of six U.S. Army health clinics across Europe, as demonstrated by Hilger, the Category III award recipient, which recognizes higher-level supervisors.

According to William McCarthy, the facilities director for all U.S. Army medical facilities in Europe, Hilger’s contributions during 2020 were beyond what was expected in his position. “Without (Hilger’s) presence, the quality and safety of LRMC and RHCE’s medical facilities would not be at the high level they are now,” McCarthy wrote in Hilger’s nomination.

“A lot of the things that our team does is work that’s behind these walls, which most staff members don’t realize but it helps them do their daily missions whether it’s surgery, urology, or whatever,” said Hilger, a lead quality assurance specialist and Green Bay, Wis., native. “You’re only as strong as your team and we have a very conscientious and proactive facility management team that work really well together.”

Although Hilger is organic to LRMC, his noteworthy efforts led to recruitment as the contracting officer representative at Regional Health Command Europe, LRMC’s parent organization, which manages all U.S. Army medical facilities across Europe. For more than 4 ½ years, Hilger has contributed to the facilities management mission through his ability to manage multiple contracts and understand local maintenance practices, which helps sustain operations.

“What I enjoy most about the job is the relationships,” said Hilger. “We get to do a lot of cross communication with other organizations, departments, have a lot of interactions and I just enjoy it.”

Hilger, who retired from the U.S. Air Force as an electrician, says the recognition isn’t a reflection of his work but one of his team’s efforts.

“Everybody’s here to do a job and they’re all here to support the patients and staff members,” said Hilger. “I’m very honored and surprised but I don’t want to take (the award) as mine, it’s really the team working hard out there.”