STAR Awards

Our STAR (Special Thanks and Recognition) program recognizes employees for their outstanding work and commitment to safety, excellent outcomes and an unmatched patient experience.

2020 STAR Award Winners 


Michelle Garduno - February STAR Winner

February 2020
Michelle Garduno | Access Services

Michelle was nominated by a patient: "It was New Year’s Eve and I broke my ankle. I came in with an order for a CT scan but the prior authorization hadn't gone through and the doctor’s office had closed. Michelle was an angel and sprang into action for me. She was talking on my cell with the doctor and on the hospital phone to the underwriter at the same time. Swedish Hospital was closing at 4 p.m. for New Year’s Eve and my insurance was changing on Jan. 1 so the clock was ticking. It was amazing! I am forever grateful to her for going above and beyond for me in my literal time of need!”

Michelle has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

January 2020 STAR Winner

January 2020
Thor Arlt | Public Safety

Thor was nominated by a patient’s son-in-law: "I came into the ER with my soon-to-be mother-in-law on a very busy day. She traveled two hours to come here because of a specialist and was nervous being in a new hospital and felt absolutely terrible. She was having a very bad attack and couldn't relax or stop shaking and was beginning to panic. I went out to see if there was any way she could lie down. 

Officer Arlt went out of his way to see if we could squeeze a recliner into the waiting room so she could lie down. He got her warm blankets and made a pillow for her head. As if that wasn’t enough, he stayed there and talked with her until she felt better. 

Officer Arlt should be recognized because of his heartwarming actions. Thank you so much for making her experience at Swedish Hospital enjoyable.”

Thor has been at Swedish Hospital since 2018.

2019 STAR Award Winners 


November STAR Winner Cheryl Rodriguez

November 2019
Cheryl Rodriguez | Emergency Department

Cheryl was nominated by her co-worker: “A patient came in by ambulance because of sore feet. The patient was barefoot and a very tall man with very large feet and just wanted to rest. Cheryl was going off duty and went to the closest Salvation Army and found two pairs of gym shoes. The patient was so grateful and could not stop thanking the nurses and Cheryl for the gift. Later that evening the patient was seen walking down the street with his new kicks on, a pep in his step, a few dance moves and smiling and staring down at his feet.

Cheryl is known in the department for gestures like this. She comes into work every day with a smile on her face for her co-workers and her patients. Cheryl treats everyone, patients, staff and family members, with kindness, compassion and patience and demonstrates our values every day."

Cheryl has been at Swedish Hospital since 2005.

Hortencia Aspurez

October 2019
Hortencia Aspurez | Environmental Services

Hortencia was nominated by staff: “Hortencia well exceeds her role as a housekeeper. She is kind to all patients and has even been known to sing with the families. Her ability to translate for and speak to our Spanish-speaking families has proven to be invaluable. She often brings flowers, not only to brighten the unit, but also for the patients. Hortencia is an important asset to Swedish Hospital and Seasons and exemplifies all of the values of a STAR employee."

Hortencia has been at Swedish Hospital since 2013.

Yoon STAR Winner

September 2019
Kwang Yoon | Pharmacy

Kwang was nominated by an employee and ED physician: “A patient came to the ED and upon arrival went into cardiac arrest. The cardiologist came and determined R Ventricular collapse suggesting a major, central PE. Kwang remembered a couple of case reports where a double bolus of TPA resolved such a clot. The cardiologist and myself trust her knowledge base implicitly and gave it a try. As a result of her constant hunger for knowledge, she saved this man’s life with her suggestion.”

Kwang has been at Swedish Hospital since 2005.

July 2019
Cindy Karl | 4North

Cindy was nominated by a charge nurse: “Cindy recently had a patient who had foot surgery and was to be discharged that night. The patient's car was parked over a block away and he didn't have anyone to help him get home. After Cindy confirmed that the patient was stable to drive his car home, she personally wheeled the patient to his car to ensure he would be able to get in without difficulty. Not only did she show kindness and compassion to this patient, but she ensured their safety. We are very blessed to have her on our team and she is an inspiration to us all.”

Cindy has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

June STAR Winner

June 2019
Jennifer Ledesma | Emergency Department

Jennifer was nominated by a patient’s family member: “Recently, my grandfather was being cared for on your hospice unit and I received a frantic call from my mother telling me to hurry because my grandfather was still coherent and talking but we didn't know for how much longer. I ran to the ED very flustered. An ED staff member immediately recognized that I needed help and pointed me in the direction of public safety. After public safety verbally gave me directions, I began to cry because I was lost and afraid of losing precious time realizing how far away I was from the unit. Jennifer stepped in, comforted me and told security she would guide me to my destination. Because of her, I was able to say my "final goodbyes." I will forever be grateful for her because I can cherish the final moments I was able to spend with my grandfather. Swedish Hospital should be extremely proud to have such a valuable team member who went above and beyond her role and saw me as a concerned family member, not just as a patient or number.”

Jennifer has been at Swedish Hospital since 2017.

Dana Andersen - May STAR WinnerMay 2019
Dana Andersen | Social Worker

Dana was nominated by an employee: “One Friday afternoon, a complicated request came to a physician that had potentially volatile social concerns. In spite of the fact that it was after 4:00 pm, Dana fielded the call, contacted the key person who would know best how to deal with the situation and returned to the floor to be able to speak with the physician in person. She provided the relevant background information, contact numbers and advised the physician on next steps. She contributed to the safety of the patient and the staff with an expertise that only a social worker could bring. The circumstances and timing of this situation were not ideal, but she refused to let that prohibit her from providing the best possible care and outcome for this patient in the way that she could. She showed professionalism and dedication and did this all without complaint. Thank you for being an inspiration to your fellow employees."

Dana has been at Swedish Hospital since 2018.

Margareth April STAR WinnerApril 2019
Margareth Mohar | Emergency Department

Margareth was nominated by a patient: “I brought my daughter late in the evening and I was given medicine but I did not have money and didn’t know where to get it. I am a refugee, and my nurse Margareth talked to me in my language (Swahili). She made me comfortable. She called the pharmacy for me. She showed me how to give medicine to my daughter who does not like medicine. She even watched my daughter when I went to the bathroom and called the clinic to make a follow-up appointment. On top of that, she called a taxi and helped me carry all my stuff. The next day she even called me to check if my daughter was ok. Margareth truly made me feel at home.”

Margareth has been at Swedish Hospital since 2008.

Melanie STAR WinnerMarch 2019
Melanie Sempio | ICU

Melanie was nominated by an employee: “Melanie cared for a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest and was admitted to the ICU with a very grave prognosis. Efforts made by staff and social workers to locate their family were unsuccessful. The patient unfortunately passed and preparations for organ donation began. Melanie made time to search the patient's belongings and in doing so, found a cell phone. The phone battery had died so Melanie searched for a compatible charger but was unable to find one among her coworkers. She thought to try the charger for the unit camera, and it worked. Thanks to Melanie's compassion and quick thinking, their family was notified of their loved one's passing, they were given time to be with them to say goodbye.”

Melanie has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

Paul Ibanez STAR WinnerFebruary 2019
Paul Ibanez | Inpatient Rehab Services

Paul was nominated by numerous employees: “Paul is a great example of a non-clinical employee who demonstrates care and compassion towards all employees, patients and visitors. He always has a smile on his face and gives you his all without any complaints. Whether you are a doctor, nurse, CNA, front line employee, housekeeper or visitor, he will treat you the same and help you however he can without any hesitation.”

Paul has been at Swedish Hospital since 2003. 

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