TJ Kreye honored posthumously with first Sunflower Award

West Bend, Wis. — TJ Kreye, critical care technician in the St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency Department, has been posthumously recognized with St. Joseph’s Hospital’s first-ever Sunflower Award. TJ passed away unexpectedly April 18 after a long battle with epilepsy. 

“TJ was a very devoted, compassionate, and enthusiastic co-worker," said an award nominator. "He was always pleasant to the patients and their families. He made them comfortable and kept them knowledgeable of what is going to happen. If there was a change in condition for the patient he would let the MD or RN know. He was a great critical thinker. He could anticipate what the MD or nurse was going to ask! There have been so many times that TJ would cheer us up, especially after a bad day. Everyone in the ED truly enjoyed working with him. Even after a 16-hour shift TJ always had a smile or wanted to make sure you had a good day before he left. TJ said, 'You all are my work family. Why wouldn’t I take care of my work family?' TJ had the biggest heart for not only the patients but for his coworkers also.” 

Accepting the award on TJ's behalf were (seated, L-R) TJ's nephews Nathan, Ethan and John Krucek; sister Katie Kreye (seated with nephews); mother Diane Kreye, and sister Kari Krucek with daughter Chloe Krucek, TJ's niece. Presenting the award to the family were (standing, L-R) Tammy Mack, manager of critical care services; Deb McCann, CHD executive director of patient care services; Shelly Waala, Community Hospital Division vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer; and Patrick McNally, director of ED/ICU/MCU.

The Sunflower Award was created by the hospital’s Nursing Division to honor extraordinary nursing support staff who demonstrate devotion, strength and compassion to ensure the well-being of patients, family and staff. St. Joseph’s Hospital will recognize one nursing support staff member twice a year. Each Sunflower honoree will be recognized at a public ceremony in his/her unit with a certificate, a Sunflower Award pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture titled “Supporting Heart.” The sunflower was chosen as the award theme because the sun symbolizes warmth and strength, and the flower represents devotion, compassion and enthusiasm.

Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and staff may nominate a support staff member by filling out the form available in St. Joseph's Hospital lobby.

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