The Healthcare Hero Award is presented annually to honor exceptional Wabash County healthcare workers and volunteers. The award provides the opportunity to celebrate the inspiration these "heroes" generate through their dedication and commitment in care giving.
This year, Jan Mattern was honored as the 2013 Healthcare Hero. Mattern is the Safety Administrator and Company Nurse at Ford Meter Box in Wabash and a dedicated volunteer in the community.
Mattern's nominators are the Wabash County Health Department nurses Lori Foust and Taisha Moore. Their letter of nomination clearly expresses a sincere respect and admiration for Mattern. They write that Mattern "serves as a living example of dedication and commitment to true patient advocacy, delivering personalized care to all patients…She serves as an important reminder that patient care is about people first. Mattern is a leader among leaders, with grace and generosity. She is highly skilled, compassionate, and consistently displays the highest ethical standards. Mattern is able to establish a level of trust and cooperation that facilitates mutually agreed upon and improved outcomes."
In 1984, Mattern was married to J.P. Mattern and had three sons at home when she decided to return to college on a part-time basis to become a registered nurse. Seven years later, she graduated from IU Kokomo and was hired as Nursing Director for Wabash County Hospital's former Addiction CareCenter. When that unit closed in 1995, Mattern was approached by Ford Meter Box's HR Director Nate Eppley.
For the last 18 years, Mattern has served Ford Meter Box employees and their families as the company's primary healthcare professional. President Steve Ford states that Mattern's duties include running Ford's safety program, managing wellness initiatives and an onsite fitness center, handling first aid and emergency situations, facilitating employee access to local caregivers, and generally assisting the employees with health related matters.
Ford writes, "Mattern's credentials, vocational responsibilities and professional affiliations speak for themselves, but it would be her dedication to individuals and causes-both inside and outside the workplace- that prompt this endorsement."
She remains alert to observe employees with medical challenges. She is one to offer encouragement to an employee who may work all day, only to get up nightly with a spouse battling cancer or the effects of a stroke. She keeps track of those who have elderly parents or disabled children and struggle to manage a home and job.
In the community, Mattern is has served on Wabash's Relay for Life Steering Committee for 17 years. She is a leader in the fundraising and planning of the event and is a deeply committed to benefiting cancer research and prevention. Mattern also serves as a director on the Board of Trustees for Parkview Huntington Hospital and the Board of Trustees of Christ United Methodist Church. Over the past 18 years, she has positively influenced the lives and health of 500-plus Ford Meter Box employees and their families with an enthusiasm that fosters an environment where employees agreeably contribute to healthier, safer and more productive lives. It is Mattern's unique balance of professionalism, volunteer accomplishments and genuine interest in people that distinguishes her in her profession and earns her the deserving award as Healthcare Hero.