RALEIGH, N.C. — This year, the winner of a prestigious national award was a Rex Hospital nurse who never saw it coming.
Gaynell Stone thought she was going to a meeting Wednesday to meet the hospital's new president, but instead she received the 2004 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.
"I could tell she was in a state of shock. She really was. She didn't have a clue," said Maggie Stone, Gaynell's mother.
Stone has the Wilkins family to thank for her award. She took care of Lucy Wilkins, who later died. Family members said Stone was there for them and Lucy in their time of need.
"She made everyone feel better. She gave us the love and comfort we needed. She is a very good person," said Molly Wilkins, Lucy's sister.
"Gaynell was like an angel to Lucy. She was like an angel," said Darlene Wilkins, Lucy's mother.
Gaynell was one of 1,600 people nominated for the award. When Gaynell was asked to make a few comments, she said every nurse has a story like hers and Lucy's.