Patricia Larrow has been working in Environmental Services (EVS) at Parkland for 13 years and is known for her tireless work ethic combined with relentless advocacy for colleagues and patients. Pat is a leader; she does not hesitate to speak out and stand up for what’s right. She puts her leadership and diplomacy skills to good use not only in her daily responsibilities serving the Emergency Department’s EVS needs, but also as a longtime member of Parkland’s Employee Advisory Group (EAG). Pat also is a two-time winner of the Parkland Pride Award.
These are the reasons I, along with many staff at Parkland know Pat Larrow; but there is so much more to Pat beyond her service excellence. I was curious to find out more after a recent conversation with our current Frist Humanitarian winner, Jill Lacaillade.
In Jill’s second year organizing Parkland’s Operation Warm coat drive for local school children in need, Jill (also an EAG member) mentioned Pat’s response and generous support. Jill relayed Pat’s enthusiasm for Operation Warm sparked by Pat’s own experience as a child. Jill also indicated how much Pat gave of her own resources to support fundraising over the past two years (a significant amount and easily the most donated by a single individual). I was inspired and Pat was gracious enough to sit down and share her story.
Patricia Larrow, Environmental Services Assistant, Employee Advisory Group Member
Originally from Lowell, MA, Pat described a difficult childhood as one of 18 total kids from a blended family. She grew up sharing a house with 10 of those children and in the middle of the pack (age-wise). As one might expect, most of Pat’s possessions were ‘hand-me-downs’ so when she got her first new coat, it was a significant and memorable moment. It wasn’t until Pat was 15 years old when she received that first new coat but she remembers it like yesterday, saying “it felt like a million dollars!” Pat remembers the coat vividly, fondly describing it as beige and plaid with a gold fur collar and gold cuffs.
Naturally, Pat jumped at the chance to support Jill and EAG’s efforts around Operation Warm. She knew firsthand how special she felt that day and wanted to help provide similar joy for area children — many of whom, like Pat, have never known the joyful experience and warm feeling of a new coat.
For the two years Parkland has been raising money to support the coat drive, Pat has sponsored six children each year giving nearly $250 in total! Jill initially hesitated...telling Pat she “couldn’t accept that much.” Pat’s response — “Yes you will!” Nothing stops Pat from doing what is right.
Jill Lacaillade (center) with Pam Richard (left) and Alicia Triplett (Right) from Derry Public Schools and coats purchased from donations. Over $1200 was raised this year-more than double last year’s amount.
Pat Larrow’s moral compass and drive to do what’s right were developed early in life. Faced with adversity she made a conscious choice to rise above her circumstances and be a positive force for good. In Ohio, during her early 20s, Pat worked as a housekeeper for Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home and embraced the opportunity to serve. She showed such compassion and support for the residents that the nursing home director quickly encouraged her to be a nursing aid. But Pat’s service didn’t stop when she clocked out. After getting off around 11 p.m. each night, Pat and a friend would go home and make sandwiches to feed the community’s homeless. Lilies of the Field is what Pat and her colleague called the group and they grew to attract many area volunteers who served the homeless wherever they slept and in local soup kitchens.
Pat relayed a story about a man who was in line to get dinner at the soup kitchen one night. Others thought he had “resources” and expressed concern about him eating. Pat’s response: “You haven’t walked in his shoes. I don’t care if he’s a millionaire — we are going to serve him. If he’s here and in this line he needs us.”
Today, that high level of empathy and compassion continues to drive Pat’s advocacy for our patients and community. When she sees a patient in our emergency room she sees someone’s mother or brother. She knows they have a story and our job...her job...is not to judge but to treat them with respect and kindness – always.
Pat, thank you for sharing your story and for living the holiday spirit every day. We are so proud of what you do and who you are. Merry Christmas!
If anyone is interested in supporting Operation Warm there is still plenty of need. Please contact Jill Lacaillade at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information.
If you need more inspiration, find Pat!