Champions Of Youth Ambitions: Pride In A Pandemic

Los Alamos Medical Center nurse Connie Carruthers is the recipient of a Community Asset Award. Courtesy photo

Executive Director
Champions of Youth Ambitions

Imagine waking up on Christmas Day and feeling so out of sorts that you think a hospital visit is in order. Then shortly after arrival, you learn you are headed for surgery and that if you had waited until the next day, your situation would have been much worse. The hero of that day is one of two Los Alamos Medical Center employees, along with the hospital, nominated for a Community Asset Award. Her name is Dr. Patricia Mahoney.

“I apologized for making her operate on Christmas Day, and she explained that she had driven here with her children in a camper van all the way from Toledo, Ohio for two weeks to stand in for the local surgeon, wow,” said Dr. Mahoney’s nominator. “Later that morning when Dr Mahoney came for her rounds, I told her that I thought she had opened me up due to the large line going down my stomach.”

The pair laughed together when the doctor shared that it was Sharpie.

LAMC CEO John Whiteside is proud of Dr. Mahoney’s dedication in her efforts to cover emergent surgical needs for the community.

“Her bedside manner is what we strive for when taking care of our fellow citizens,” said Whiteside. “We are a small-town hospital but provide care on par with big universities!”

Another story comes from someone that knows Nurse Connie Carruthers as a caregiver in a COVID crisis. It was Carruthers that came to the rescue of a family in fear of an invisible enemy that gripped the nation. Chief Nursing Officer Julie Ward agrees with the nominator of this employee.

“She is recognized often by her physician colleagues as being a stabilizer and very on top of patient changes,” said Ward. “She shares her knowledge with novice nurses and is supportive of their development.”

Carruthers is in her 28th year of her career. When asked what she likes best about her work, Carruthers shared her journey of following in her mother’s footsteps.

“Nursing provides a secure career that allows me to provide for my family” she said. “When I started as a brand-new nurse at UNM Hospital, New Mexico had an outbreak of a new illness. The CDC was there helping to identify and formulate a treatment plan for Hantavirus.”

Now, here she is 28 years later in a different boat but battling a similar storm.

“We will get through this”, she said. “We’ve done this before.”

Champions of Youth Ambitions knows that many people deserve to be recognized throughout the year. They welcome nominations all year long for people that live, work or school in our community. Those that make a difference may impact an individual, their community, the state, the nation or the world. C’YA can be found on Facebook and at