Overbys honored in Love Light Ceremony


Contact: Tammy G. Love

VP of Business Development

Phone: (336) 651-8116

By Frances Hayes
Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff

The Christmas Love Light Tree, located on top of Wilkes Regional Medical Center, was lit last night in honor of John and Barbara Overby of Millers Creek during a ceremony in the doctor’s parking lot at the hospital.

A crowd of between 150-175 attended the ceremony for the 32nd annual Love Light Tree fundraising project, sponsored by the Wilkes Regional Medical Center Auxiliary. Proceeds are used at WRMC for needed equipment at the hospital and more.

Lights on the tree can be purchased in honor or in memory of a loved one and is a fundraiser for WRMC. Each year the tree is lit in honor of an individual or couple who have made contributions to the medical community.

The name of the honoree is kept a secret until the Love Light Tree Ceremony.

John Overby is a medical technologist (MT) at Wilkes Regional and Barbara Overby, a registered nurse, is vice president of Quality Improvement at Wilkes Regional.

The two have worked at Wilkes Regional for 42 years, said Colleen Manolovich, Auxiliary president. Barbara Overby knew her husband was being honored, but did not know she was being honored also, said Manolovich.

“Overby began working when there was no third shift in the lab and everyone was scheduled to take calls from 11 p.m.-7 a.m.,” said Manolovich during the introduction of this year’s honorees.

“John has worked in all areas of the lab, but his current job in pathology is the one he loves. He is passionate about making sure test results are accurate and prompt, even coming in at 5:30 a.m. to have the specimens ready for the doctor when they arrive,” said Manolovich.

John Overby is from Stokes County and attended Surry Community College in cooperation with Northern Surry Hospital. He graduated with a degree in medical technology.

His first job was at Watauga Hospital in Boone, where he met Barbara (Brown) who was working a weekend shift in the emergency room. She is originally from Boone and received her nursing degree from Forsyth Memorial Nursing School in 1973.

Barbara Overby started working at Wilkes General Hospital in 1974 on Second Annex Medical Unit.

“Being a skilled nurse with great expertise, she decided to expand her education and received her bachelor of science in nursing from Winston-Salem State University while working fulltime and being a fulltime mom,” said Manolovich.

After a few years she began working in the Quality Improvement Department and soon became the director and also was in charge of case management. She is currently serving as vice president of Quality Improvement and is a great asset to WRMC, said Manolovich.

Attending the ceremony were the Overby’s two children and their spouses, Josh and Jennifer Overby and Kendall and Brian Huffman. Also attending were their seven grandchildren, Corban, Natalie, Branton, Eli, Micah, Kenan and Sallie.

New tree

During the ceremony, Gene Faile, president of WRMC and Kendall Forester, auxiliary vice president, said the July storm and winds destroyed the plastic and metal tree used for the Love Light project. It remains on the roof throughout the year.

A new 40 ft. tall tree with over 480 lights on the body and 105 lights on the five ft. star replaced the damaged one. Assisting with replacing the tree were Mark Cullison, Eddie Dew, WRMC maintenance department, Clifford Kemp Welding and Sheets Metal Work.

Faile also said there are 780 WRMC employees and a 150 member medical staff. There were over 34,000 emergency room visits last year, 4,000 surgeries and 460 babies were delivered at WRMC, said Faile. Also 64,000 people were seen on an outpatient basis.

Also participating in the ceremony was the Rev. Jim Gore who gave the benediction and Helen Eller, Auxiliary secretary, who recognized past recipients.

They are, John Wesley Bryan Jr., Norma Stevenson Hubbard, Dr. William Lumsden Bundy, Ruth Long Graham, Hugh Durant Stetler, DeLoris H. Porter, Alvin A. Alvin Sturdivant Jr., Fred J. Schilling, Russell G. Pearson, Louis M. Kinney and Annette Kinney, Maintenance Department, Stephen Le Critz Jr., the David Henson Family, Dr. Jack A. Dawson, Dr. T. R. Bryan Jr., Mark Cullison, Sieglinde Duncan, Dr. Duane H. Smith, Barbara Willens, Betty Shelton, Debbie Ferguson, Heather Murphy, Paul Hugger, Dr. John Bond, Arnold Lakey, Dr. John Bennett, Surgical Nursing Staff, Dr. Dariel Rathmell, J. Gene Faile and Dr. and Mrs. Joe Fesperman.

The program concluded at a reception in the WRMC lobby and cafeteria.

Love Light Tree project

Money will be accepted for the Love Light Tree lights until the end of the year. Each light is $5 or $10 for a couple. The star points are $100 each and lights within the star are $25 each.

Names will be placed in a book of honor that will be on display in the lobby of Wilkes Regional Medical Center during November and December.

Manolovich said $2,000 has been raised so far. Typically around $3,000 is raised for Auxiliary projects.

Most recently the Auxiliary bought training mannequins for the WRMC education department, which cost over $10,000 and new medical information boards, said Manolovich.

The Auxiliary has also placed charging stations for iPads and iPhones in three waiting rooms as well as the waiting room for the intensive care unit, the labor and delivery room and the medical floor.

Besides the Love Light Tree project, the Auxiliary raises money through its gift shop at the hospital, as well as jewelry and other sales in the conference room, which is open to the public.

For more information call 336-973-4429.

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