Citrus Memorial Hospital recently presented Awards of Distinction including the Frist Humanitarian Award and the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award. The Frist Humanitarian Award recognizes the highest achievements in serving others and the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes accomplishments in the field of nursing.


The Frist Humanitarian Award was founded in 1971 and honors outstanding individuals for humanitarian and volunteer services. Named in honor of the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., founder of HCA and renowned humanitarian, this award recognizes individuals whose daily dedication and caregiving epitomizes the highest standard of quality and personal commitment.

The awards are given annually at each HCA hospital. One recognizes an employee who goes above and beyond day-to-day responsibilities and their overall service to the community. Another recognizes a volunteer who gives unselfishly to patients within the facility and the community. The third award recognizes a physician who best displays concern for the well-being of others beyond his or her day-to-day physician responsibilities.

The Citrus Memorial Hospital award winners are submitted for consideration for the national level Frist Awards. If selected, the honorees receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice and $5,000 in cash for the employee and volunteer. The physician honoree receives a $10,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice.

Recipients of the Frist Humanitarian Award are: SONIA TRIBBLE, Supervisor of Sterile Processing; GLENN RHINESMITH, a volunteer in the Citrus Memorial gift shop; and DR. JOHN GELIN, a family practice physician at Citrus Primary Care in Floral City.

SONIA TRIBBLE, the employee recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award, has worked at Citrus Memorial Hospital for 12 years and is actively involved with efforts to help the hungry and homeless in Citrus County. She was a founder of the Citrus County Hunger and Homeless Coalition, Co-organizer of the Annual Citrus County Thanksgiving Feeding Alliance food drive and giveaway, Co-organizer of the Annual Homeless and Needy Christmas Dinner and Toy Drive and has served as a Youth Minister with a focus on outreach to runaway and homeless youth living in the woods. “Sonia’s compassion for others is one of her most valuable assets,” said Citrus Memorial CEO Ralph Aleman. “She has made it her mission to care for the less fortunate and downtrodden among us. And, this extends far beyond putting in a few volunteer hours during the holidays. She is the embodiment of selflessness, always looking out for others and seeking ways to help those around her feel the same empathy for the hungry and homeless that she does. We are so lucky to work with her.”

GLENN RHINESMITH, the volunteer recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award, is a hospital gift shop volunteer where she focuses on raising funds for nursing scholarships and charitable causes. She has served as the President of the Citrus Memorial Volunteer Program four times, has managed the gift shop for four years and created the Pre-Operative Testing volunteer program. “If you calculate the impressive number of hours Glenn Rhinesmith has donated to Citrus Memorial, you’ll see that she has worked here for 30 years, for free, at the equivalent of a part-time job,” said Manager of Volunteer Services, Penny Zaphel. “Because of her benevolence she has earned the respect and gratitude of her peers, hospital staff and visitors.”

DR. JOHN GELIN, the physician recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award, has over 40 years of service at Citrus Memorial Hospital. He has also focused his volunteer efforts on providing care for throughout his career. Gelin has served Citrus High School as the sports team doctor since 1972 for football, softball, baseball and wrestling and is the announcer for Varsity Softball games. He served as an umpire and sports team doctor for Citrus County Little League for 42 years, as a coach with Citrus United soccer and also serves as the sports team doctor for all sports at Inverness. Middle School. “Decades ago, Dr. Gelin saw a need and quietly stepped in to ensure that student-athletes in our community received the best medical care possible on and off the field,” said Aleman. “In doing so, he has touched the lives of many.”


Citrus Memorial Hospital’s knowledgeable and compassionate nurses are on the front line of patient care, every day. The Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes the intrinsic value of the nursing practice in accomplishing the company mission of providing the highest quality of care to patients and communities.

The award winner is submitted for consideration for the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award. If chosen, the prize includes a $5,000 donation to the nurse’s charity of choice and $5,000 in cash.

CHRISTINE LIBENGOOD, RN received the Excellence in Nursing Award in the compassionate care category. Libengood is a night shift charge nurse in the NeuroTelemetry Unit where she serves as a caregiver to patients and staff alike. Recognizing that nurses often become emotionally attached to the patients they care for, she ensures counseling is readily available for nurses on her unit. “The life of a nurse can be very trying on our emotions and our bodies,” said Mary Jo Barnett, Director of the NeuroTelemetry Unit. “This team is very fortunate to have such a strong leader to support and watch over them during challenging times.”