Capital Caring Health’s virtual Passion for Caring Gala: Honoring the Heroes Among Us was held October 3, 2020. Thanks to everyone for joining us at this inspirational event honoring the heroes among us making a difference during the COVID-19 crisis, and fighting for social justice in our communities.

Watch the 2020 Passion for Caring video to find out who was honored at the very special event.

Paula Bances

Nominated for Healthcare Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Paula is a soft-spoken gentle woman who is always asking everyone about their health and their family. She dons her hero’s uniform – gloves, a mask, a gown and face shield daily to bravely ensure the safety of all as she cleans every surface of every room with strong cleansers. She quickly follows behind nurses, doctors, CNAs, visitors as they care for/support patients, including those with COVID 19 – to ensure they leave behind no germs. She has a soft kind word of greeting and concern for each patient, each family member – as she makes each room, each area look and smell its very best. Paula embraces her job as a mission to be the strongest possible support to all her colleagues and all those served by Capital Caring Health. With her campaign to keep the Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center free of viruses, bacteria and other germs, all who enter that building are kept safe. With her unending fight for cleanliness and her compassionate approach for all, she is a role model for courage and servant leadership!

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Paula has been a Hero for many years at CCH – even through times of personal illness and personal loss. Her unwavering commitment to her mission that all should have a safe environment is a role model for those of us who might go through discouraging times and challenges in our personal and professional lives. Paula has never shied away from hard work, long hours and demanding physical labor – she bravely starts each day fully committed to making that day the very best one it can be through her work to eradicate germs of all kinds and create beauty!

Nominator — Carolyn Richar


Peggy Leadbetter

Nominated for Healthcare Hero Category, Peggy (right) is a RN and a Capital Caring Health Volunteer

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Peggy answered the call to nursing after becoming a Capital Caring Health Volunteer. Her work as a volunteer showed her the impact one person can have on another at the end of life, she wanted to help more and felt nursing was the way to do so. Capital Caring Health was proud to write a reference for Peggy as she applied to the competitive accelerated nursing program at George Mason University. All during this intense coursework, Peggy continued to volunteer for Capital Caring Health. Upon graduation, she was hired by Inova Mt. Vernon Hospital and completed her shadowing nursing orientation…then Covid 19 hit! Peggy was immersed in the crisis of a true pandemic. She experienced caring for the sickest of the sick, her training as a Hospice volunteer was put to practice. She not only cared for her patients but also their families, calling so families could say last good-byes. In the early days of the pandemic, scrub caps, masks and other needed PPE were scarce. Capital Caring Health was able to provide Peggy and her fellow nurses/doctors with much needed scrub caps. Peggy and Inova felt the support of Capital Caring Health during this intense time. As Peggy worked long hours and witnessed many deaths due to covid 19, her Capital Caring Health team continued to check on her. Offering support during the most trying of times. As a new registered nurse, just completing her orientation, Peggy felt many emotions. It was wonderful for Peggy to feel the love and support of her Capital Caring Health team as she was unwavered in her commitment to help her patients. Fellow volunteers and staff provided phone calls and cards to Peggy. She said those cards and calls, carried her through the darkest of times in the covid battle. Peggy worked long hours but still made sure to call her Capital Caring Health patient each week, when she couldn’t get her patient on the phone, she sent cards and even made a beautiful care basket for her. The basket was full of nail polish and “girl things” that represented all the things Peggy would do with her patient during their normal visits. As a new nurse, I can’t imagine the fear Peggy must have felt as she cared for so many covid patients in the hospital. She handled herself with grace, professionalism, compassion and love. Peggy always puts patients and families first; her work shows this! Peggy is a true Healthcare Hero!

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
One of our Capital Caring Health patients who lives in his residential home, experienced a fall and broke his hip. He went to the hospital where Peggy works. This patient was extremely anxious and worried about paying his bills. He only has an elderly sister out of state so he is used to “getting things done.” The CCH hospital team knew how important it was for this patient to have envelopes and stamps. With the hospital not allowing visitors, Peggy graciously offered to hand deliver stamps and envelopes to this patient. In doing so, this patient was able to visit with Peggy who is a nurse at the same hospital. This act of kindness, provided the patient with great comfort. One might see this as a small act of kindness, but in fact, it was a HUGE act of love. Peggy is an amazing person. Thank you for considering her for this recognition.

Nominator — Katherine Knoble


Rev. Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper III

Nominated for Social Justice Hero Category, he is the Pastor of Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, VA

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Rev. Cooper has been working tirelessly to ensure his congregants are SAFE and supported during this pandemic. He has provided all services virtually and continues to hold prayer calls, bible study and Sunday worship service. He has also been on the front line – leading and supporting protest, marches and walks for social justice and equity. He has provided meals for his parishioners and the community as well – he has been steadfast ensuring folks are feed physically and spiritually. Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper, III, a third-generation of spiritually powerful preachers, is a twice scholar graduate of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and Philosophy and a Master of Divinity Degree from the esteem Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology, graduating Cum Laude. Additionally, he sought to show himself approved, completing post-graduate study at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 2013, received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Richmond Theological Seminary. Richmond-born, reared and educated, his achievements and recognitions are noteworthy throughout the state, country and world in which he has readily and successfully combined his evangelistic duties with the concerns and needs of the community. He is the recipient of numerous honors and rewards as an Outstanding Education Orator, a Prolific Communicator and Leader, Minister of the Year for four consecutive years, and a keynote speaker at the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention USA. Additionally, he has been honored and recognized by the Richmond NAACP, served as a community representative to the Congressional Black Caucus Discussions in Washington, D. C.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Pastor Cooper III is also the current board Chairman of the Henrico County School Board, where is assigned to the Audit Committee, Equity and Diversity Advisory Board, and the Vocational and Technical Education Foundation. He is the past president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Richmond, served on the board of directors of Capital Area Health Network, and is a member of the Religious Advisory Committee of U.S. Senator Mark Warner, and an invited participant in the Educational Seminar in Israel.

Nominator — Altonia Garrett


Mona Negm

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Mona Negm is a faithful Community Leader as President of the American Muslim Senior Society – Diversity and Partnership in Action Supporting CAregivers and Empowering Older Adults. Under her advocacy and leadership, AMSS programs include a CNA program that provides scholarships and education for Muslims to earn certification as CNAs; a Meals on Wheels program serving over 185 senior citizens with halal meals and food staples weekly; an Advance Care Ambassadors program that has trained 20 ambassadors in 2019 and has a new class starting Sept 2020 of 25 future ambassadors with goal of helping connect Muslims with local healthcare systems, with imams, and to help families better understand “End of Life” issues to prepare them to care for family members. AMSS also holds 4 Caregivers Education Outreach Community DIalogues on Advanced care that bring together interfaith discussions with churches, synagogues, temples, and Islamic centers. This work is transformational in a multi-ethnic/multi-faith/multi-lingual metropolitan area to help prevent the spread of misinformation and misunderstandings could lead to conflict.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Mona is a source of positive energy – not letting anything get in her way of creating connections, providing education, complimenting everyone on at least 3-4 things in every conversation – and working to ensure diverse communities work together to meet needs across communities. She has an open door and an open heart for everyone she meets!

Nominator — Carolyn Richar


Shaz Anwar

Nominated for Healthcare Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Social justice and human rights are at the center of COVID-19. Dr. Anwar goes above and beyond to ensure that our patients’ and families’ physical and emotional needs are met, especially during this pandemic. He is compassionate, understanding, empathetic, honest, encouraging, and completely committed to his patients, families, and entire team. He is genuine and truly shows that his heart and mind are in the right place. I work in a nurse on call capacity for Capital Caring and almost every visit that I go to, we discuss Dr. Anwar. Families and patients immediately cheer up when his name is mentioned and they speak of his kindness, his knowledge, his patience, and his willingness to listen to them. The patients, families, and Manassas team consider him a blessing!

Nominator — Gina Doolittle


Reverend Kendrick Curry

Nominated for Social Justice Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Rev. Kendrick Curry has served as Pastor of the Pennsylvania Baptist Church for 13 years. He is active in the faith community and the community at large, seeking to bring a faith-based perspective to the pressing challenges of the day. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania Baptist Church distributes food to thousands every month, holds voting drives, hosts a treatment center for substance addiction, mentors youth,holds health fairs and does work tirelessly to address racial and social inequities in the DC region! In addition to pastoring, Pastor Curry has worked as Research Engineer for Union Carbide Corporation (now Dow Chemical), Program Director of the NASA/Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program of the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation, and Associate Research Director and adjunct faculty member at West Virginia State University. Rev. Curry has also been a small business owner. Rev. Curry serves as a leader on the Mayor’s Interfaith Council (under three mayors), on the Stoddart Baptist Nursing Home Board of Directors where he chairs the Human Resources Committee, as a Board of Trustees member of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the UDC Foundation, and as a Trustee of the Leland Center for Theological Studies. Rev. Curry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Prairie View A&M University, a Master of Science Degree and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Divinity from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry student in Worship and Congregational Formation at Northern Theological Seminary near Chicago.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Rev. Curry is a prophet who speaks of change and love and hope in the same sentence. He opens the doors of his church to community organizations, including Capital CAring Health, to meet with church members and to invite neighborhood residents in providing information, education and services. He speaks truth to the powers that be – whether it be the DC City Government – or the Senate of the United States through his participation in many community and business boards. I am proud he recently agreed to serve as a community leader on the Capital Caring Health Ethics Committee!

Nominator — Carolyn Richar


Gloria Thomas Anderson, PhD, LMSW

Nominated for Social Justice Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Dr. Thomas Anderson, is a national expert on issues involving African Americans and end of life care. She developed a program, The African American Spiritual and Ethical Guide to Advanced Care Planning, that is culturally sensitive to the needs of people who face a history of being neglected, oppressed and treated unjustly by the American healthcare system while raising the opportunity of advanced care planning as a way of being empowered to live one’s life fully and in line with one’s preferences.

Dr. Anderson conducts programs across the USA on this topic, she serves on the Steering Committee of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care’s (CTAC) Interfaith and Diversity Workgroup and is a professor of Social Work at North Carolina State University. Her program and outreach have changed the lives of thousands by opening up the power to name a decision maker and their preferences about medical treatments.


Melody Coleman

Nominated for Community Hero Category, Mel supports her community on the front lines at Trader Joe's

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Melody has been the main Trader Joe’s contact for Capital Caring Health over the last 3 years, providing CCH with beautiful flower “shares” which are then delivered to our patients/family members by dedicated CCH volunteers. The generosity of Trader Joe’s to support the sickest of the sick with these beautiful flowers is a valued part of the CCH volunteer program. Over the last 3 years, several times each week, Mel ensures that our hospice patients receive the generous shared from Trader Joe’s. She always has a smile on her face when we come to pick up the flowers, she loves knowing that these flowers will help others. When the pandemic began, grocery stores were quickly at the center of need for the community. Long waiting lines, limited access to products and uncertainty were found. But, Mel and Trader Joe’s never wavered from their commitment to support hospice patients. In fact, Mel put these frail patients first. Knowing the lines would be long if we arrived at our normal 8:00am pick up time, Mel let us come early to avoid the crowds. Twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:45 am, Mel greets us at the door of Trader Joe’s with the the beautiful flower shares. She has only taken off one day since the pandemic, and she arranged for another associate to meet us at the same time. She didn’t want the adjustment in her schedule to adversely affect our patients receiving the beautiful flowers. Mel has made an incredible impact on her community, especially during the pandemic. Because of Mel’s willingness to put hospice patients and her community first, Capital Caring Health has been able to deliver an average of 50 flower bouquets each week since March. To date, we have been able to deliver over 1200 flower bouquets to patients in the Alexandria region of Capital Caring Health since March. Mel and Trader Joe’s Alexandria (St. Asaph Street) have done an amazing job being a community champion.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Melody could have very easily told Capital Caring Health that continuing to provide the generous flower “shares” were too much at this time during the pandemic. Melody and Trader Joe’s never consider it. They put their community first and take pride in helping our patients. We receive so many rave reviews of thanks and praise for the generous flower and always let everyone know about Melody and Trader Joe’s. We appreciate Mel and Trader Joe’s stepping up more than ever during the pandemic.


Mark Victorson

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Mark is the type of person who makes our world better. After completing his full military career, Mark begin volunteering within his community during his retirement. He gives tirelessly to help others. As a long term Capital Caring Health Volunteer, Mark knows the importance of giving. During the pandemic he increased his volunteer service not only with Capital Caring Health but with other non profits in the community. He always seems to find time to give back Mark provides friendly calls to Capital Caring Health patients and families each week. In addition he helps to sort and organize large bereavement mailings. Mark is one of our dedicated flower delivery volunteers who hand delivery flowers right to the doorsteps of our patients/families. He has never missed a scheduled delivery and in fact during his phone calls will offer this kind service to others. Most recently, Mark stepped in to help a bereaved daughter. Knowing this soon to be 20 year old would soon be celebrating her birthday without her Mother, Mark delivered a lovely cake and balloons to the bereaved daughter. The balloons were a huge “20” that brought a smile to the face of the bereaved daughter. This hand delivered birthday surprise meant a great deal to the daughter. In addition to Mark’s time at Capital Caring Health, he also helps our community at a center supporting chronically homeless people with computer needs. Mark helps with the ACTS Helpline as a trained volunteer. His listening skills are put to work here as people are able to call in for support and resources. The pandemic has causes extra stress on those already at risk, Mark’s work to support suicide prevention and to support those in need have helped many during this pandemic. If that’s weren’t enough, Mark also finds time to fulfill duties as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Court Appointed Special Advocates are specially trained community volunteers appointed by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judges to speak in the best interest of children who are brought before the court for reasons of abuse or neglect. The CASA is an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys, social workers and other professionals. By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA has time to thoroughly explore the history of each assigned case. Mark is on the front lines of our Community, making it better by his good works.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Mark is a person who will never slow down in his willingness to help others. His vast work within our community is testament to Mark’s dedication to help others through the pandemic and always.


Ellen Maland

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Ellen Maland continues to help our patient during this time of COVID by providing Distance Reiki to our patients and/or Caregivers. She has also taken the lead to assign Reiki volunteers to help around our whole organization. Not only is she helping our patients and caregivers, she has also been helping some of our staff members that have been going through a tough time or need an extra boost.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
She has been a volunteer with Capital Caring Health for a long time, about 16 years now and she has been a delight to work with, every since I have come to work for Capital Caring, Ellen has been there to help with what I needed, calling patients, providing reiki, educating staff, patients and caregivers about Reiki, helping during this COVID session to make masks for our staff, and many more things. I would not be able to do what I do without having Ellen on my side.


George Defilipi

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
George is helping making a difference by connecting and helping with honoring our Veterans that are in our services. He is helping by calling patients and/or families and get the biographies of these veterans. He then writes them up and honor these veterans and their families in our Virtual Veteran Ceremonies.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
It is so amazing to have a Veteran as one of our volunteers for so many years. Working with George has been so great because he has a big heart to serve and help others. I thank him very much for his service in the Military (Air Force) and for all the services he has and will provide here at Capital Caring Health.


Michael Murphy

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Michael Murphy is an unsung hero. He is the backbone of Capital Caring Thrift Store and without him the shop would have disappeared. From the start of the Covid lockdown to today, Michael did all that was needed to ensure the shop would reopen to the comfort and safety its customers, most of whom are low-income and its volunteers, most of whom are retirees. Capital Caring Thrift’s safe, welcoming atmosphere is a community service to those socially isolated. It offers a quick, safe interaction with our neighbors and is a godsend to the surrounding low-income community. Michael Murphy, manager of Capital Caring Thrift Store, is truly is an unsung hero.


Angie Pringle

Nominated for Healthcare Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Angela is a phenomenal health care worker! Her work is her passion and it shows. She absolutely loves what she does finding her purpose in the medical community, following in the footsteps of her Grandmother Rosa Lee Pringle who was a nurse at Georgetown hospital for almost 30 years. It’s not just another day at work for Angela – no one has a bigger heart for her patients, her team, and other staff at Doctor’s Hospital. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when everything changed in the medical field – where medical workers became first responders, saving lives while they put their own lives on the line. Angela was there – working through all the fear, stress and anxiety. She was always the best for the patients and her team, exhibiting the perfect balance of professionalism and technical expertise in her field coupled with a loving, soothing, and emphatic bedside manner. I witnessed this first hand when my aunt was admitted to the hospital where Angela works during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Angela fought for PPE for her team, as she calmed and encouraged other staff, as she pitched in to help other medical staff and as she did what she had to keep her team and patients safe putting others first. We are all indebted to her and her selflessness – thank you Angela – you are a true hero for sure!


Kathryn Schram

Nominated for Community Hero Category

How are they making a difference during COVID-19 crisis or how has the person been a champion for social justice?
Members of Floris United Methodist Church immediately stepped in to help provide much needed PPE during the pandemic. Lead by Kathryn Schram of Floris United Methodist Church, the sewing group provided over 100 beautiful isolation gowns made from amazing African fabric designs, over 700 fabric masks, ear-savers and over 700 scrub caps. Kathryn quickly partnered with Sew a Cap which is lead by Yvette and Becky who worked countless hours to help us. These much needed PPE items not only provide protection to our healthcare team but have provided our staff with motivation knowing our community supports them.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about this person?
Kathryn Scram, Yvette and Becky created these groups to help healthcare agencies fight the pandemic. Because of their leadership and dedication to the community, many have been served. The group at Floris United Methodist Church and Sew a Cap have dedicated countless hours to help Capital Caring Health and others in the community. We thank them for all the hard work in supporting our front line healthcare team.