A Parkridge Medical Center nurse accepted the Tennessee Hospital Association’s 2012 Healthcare Hero Award last week, after being nominated by co-workers for her service during and after the April 27 tornadoes.

Anita Flynn, 58, received the award because of her work with both the Ider Rescue Squad and on her own.

During the day that spring before the storm hit, elective surgeries at Parkridge were canceled, and Flynn was sent home.


However, she soon received a call from the rescue squad, asking for assistance with the injured people in the area, so she began triaging patients, cleaning ambulances and providing other help as it was needed.

After several hours of caring for victims, Flynn was told another tornado was on its way. But, despite the news, Flynn and her colleagues at the rescue center continued helping patients as they came in.

As the surrounding hospitals became overrun with patients injured in the storms, Flynn and her colleagues drove a family of four found to have severe injuries to the closest hospital that could take them, located in Chattanooga, far from their home in Ider, Ala.

After the storms passed, Flynn took a week off of work and helped family, friends and fellow employees recover from the storms. She even moved her in-laws into her own home after theirs was damaged beyond repair by the tornado.

“Anita responded to an unbelievably challenging situation with extraordinary courage and energy,” Darlene Abercrombie, Flynn’s co-worker and an RN, said. “She helped me and so many others in our area to recover from the terrible destruction of the storms. She is our hero, and I am so proud that she was chosen for this award.”