Sparrow Eaton’s 18th annual Fulton awards for excellence

Published: December 22, 2021

CHARLOTTE, MI – Three caregivers have received Sparrow Eaton Hospital’s highest honors for their exceptional contributions to patient care and the hospital’s success.

  • Dawn Layfield, CPhT, pharmacy technician, who received the clinical service award.
  • Kelly Thrush, maintenance technician, who received the non-clinical service award.
  • Suzanne Dezern, MT (ASCP), laboratory supervisor, who received the leadership service award.

The trio were recognized during a December ceremony that included Sparrow Eaton’s executive team, board member Kathie Cook (on behalf of the Fulton family), and Lori Pray, chairwoman of the Sparrow Eaton Board of Directors.

Layfield, who joined Sparrow Eaton in 2016, was nominated for the award after supporting implementation of a recent pharmacy medication labeling project, as well as demonstrating respect, empathy and impeccable reliability at every turn.

Fulton Awards 2020 - Dawn Layfield Clincal Recipient with Helen Johnson

Dawn Layfield, CPhT, pharmacy technician

Fulton Awards 2020 - Kelly Thrush Non-Clincal Recipient with Helen Johnson

Kelly Thrush, maintenance technician

“I was honored just to be nominated with such an exceptional group of caregivers.  2020 was an extremely trying year and to receive this award for my work during a time when so many caregivers went above and beyond, every single day, means so much. I am lucky to work with an amazing pharmacy team at Eaton and share this honor with them.”

Thrush began working at Sparrow Eaton in 2013. She was recognized with the Fulton Award for her knowledge of her profession, proven independence, and dependability to get the job done. According to Thrush’s supervisor Randy Owens, her common words are “got it,” “I’ll take care of that,” and “that’s already done.”

“I was completely surprised that I was even nominated, and even more shocked that I was chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Non-Clinical Fulton Award,” Thrush said. “I’m so honored. Being your best every day is hard, but as long as I read the quote that hangs above my desk – ‘find joy in each day, not because life is always good, but because God is’ – I shall try my hardest.”

Dezern became a member of the Sparrow Eaton team in June 2017. At the onset of the pandemic, she was quickly assigned the responsibility of setting up a COVID collection site for Sparrow Eaton, working tirelessly to train caregivers, securing collection supplies, organizing transportation logistics, and facilitating access to patient orders.  She was recognized for her problem-solving abilities and creative leadership amid numerous staffing challenges, increased outpatient lab demands, and the new trials presented by COVID.

Fulton Awards 2020 - Suzanne Dezern Leadership Recipient with Helen Johnson

Suzanne Dezern, MT (ASCP), laboratory supervisor

“I’m still blown away that I won, and am just honored to be chosen,” Dezern said. “I’m so thankful to represent Laboratory at Sparrow Eaton and the laboratory profession during this time when the lab has been forced into the light from our usual behind-the-scenes place. I couldn’t be the leader that I am without the caregivers on my team who give me the opportunity to learn and grow, and my fellow leaders who support me in that growth.”

Hundreds of caregivers are nominated by peers, patients and leaders annually for the Fulton Awards. The recognition is based on consistent and outstanding customer service skills; innovation and creativity at work; and willingness to go beyond the call of duty.

The Fulton Award is named in honor of Robert Fulton for his many contributions as a member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees. He was well known for helping bring to reality the hospital’s dream of offering quality, local care. He took great pride in the annual award ceremony – not because it was named after him, but because he wanted to honor the nominees and recipients and the “excellence radiating through our community hospital.”

Sparrow Eaton Hospital has been the community’s choice for healthcare for more than 85 years. The hospital is committed to working together in health to provide quality care and enhance the vitality of the community. Learn more at


Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit