Relatives and friends of longtime Rosecrance employee Donna Gillette spoke fondly of her dedication to nursing and helping teens find recovery on June 12 as a new scholarship created in her honor was awarded to three young alumni.
Donna worked at Rosecrance for more than 20 years as a psychiatric and addiction nurse. She was director of nursing for adolescent services when she retired in 2010.
Cliff Gillette, Donna’s husband, talked about his wife’s passion for her work and that she wanted to do something special to help current and former clients further their education after treatment. Bonnie Kretsos, Donna’s sister, and her husband, Nick, also attended the scholarship presentation.
Donna passed away in November 2014. Cliff said she was instrumental in the development of the scholarship during the final months of her life.
“No matter what happens, it’s a blessing that we’re able to do this for you,” Cliff told the scholarship recipients. “We just hope you have a lot of success in whatever you do.”
Dr. Thomas Wright, Rosecrance’s chief medical officer, told the alumni they have a guardian angel with them in Donna. Chief Operating Officer Dave Gomel described Donna as “straightforward, honest, sarcastic and genuine.”
“This is a lasting legacy of Donna that lives continuously on. Her heart is here (at the Rosecrance adolescent campus), and now her heart is with you guys,” he said. “My challenge to you three young adults is to take a little piece of a remarkable woman who you’ll never know and do something really cool.”