August 20, 2004

Matthews named Medical Center’s 2004 Commodore Award recipient

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Wilson Matthews, chief flight nurse for Vanderbilt LifeFlight. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Matthews named Medical Center’s 2004 Commodore Award recipient

by Jerry Jones

Wilson Matthews, chief flight nurse for Vanderbilt LifeFlight, has been selected to receive the 2004 Commodore Award for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Calling his work “detailed and stellar,” Kevin Myatt, associate vice chancellor and chief human resource officer, made the announcement on Monday, to a very surprised Matthews, surrounded by some 15 of his co-workers.

Danny Anglin, a radiation safety officer in the department of Environmental Health and Safety, was selected to receive the 2004 Commodore Award for Vanderbilt University.

The Commodore Award is awarded to two people each year, one from the Medical Center, and one from the University, to recognize and reward significant staff achievements in Vanderbilt’s pursuit of excellence in education, health care, research and community service.

Matthews was nominated by Jeanne Yeatman, program director of Vanderbilt LifeFlight, and fellow flight nurses Neil Worf and Kevin High.

It was Matthews' leadership, dedication and passion in directing the purchase and development of three new helicopters for Vanderbilt LifeFlight that caught the attention of the Commodore Award committee.

“I have the honor of sitting on the committee and I was just so impressed with Wilson’s passion and diligence to make sure we have the safest flight program anywhere,” said Marilyn Dubree, director of patient care services and chief nursing officer.

Yeatman praised Matthews initiative and said the purchase of the new helicopters would actually save VUMC millions of dollars.

“We estimate that by purchasing these aircraft, VUMC will save several million dollars over a 10-year period and get superior service from them,” Yeatman said. “Wilson’s performance on this project has been exemplary. He developed and simplified a complex process and brought together internal LifeFlight customers, partners and stakeholders to carry out this mission. His contribution to LifeFlight as a leader is outstanding and far exceeds expectations. He has created a legacy to leave not only for his LifeFlight team, the VU Medical Community, the patients served in the Middle Tennessee areas, but also for the air medical community by creating this state-of-the-art aircraft that future programs will be modeled after.”

Matthews joined VUMC in 1997 as one of a group of nurses hired to staff Vanderbilt’s first expansion of the LifeFlight helicopter program, when LifeFlight Two was added.

“I am honored,” Matthews said. “But the most rewarding part of this is knowing that our crews have the most state-of-the-art aircraft to work in. Every day they come to work, they do so knowing that VUMC has provided them with the best and safest helicopter that there is to offer.”

A formal presentation will be made to Matthews on Sept. 9 at the Medical Center service award ceremony, and on Oct. 9 during halftime at the Vanderbilt/Rutgers football game.