This summer, Texas Nurses Association headquarters in Austin, TX, installed an outdoor bench in honor of former staffer Cheryl Kee, who passed away in 2017 shortly after retiring from her 29-year career as TNA receptionist.
For those who knew Kee, her legacy stands as a small woman with a big heart who greeted both guests and colleagues with kindness and selflessness—almost to a fault. Staff and members donated to the memorial fund for the bench after her passing, a fitting tribute for Cheryl, who often sat in the common area or just outside the office.
Staff who worked with Cheryl in the past wanted to share their memories:
“Cheryl was TNA’s welcome to the world! She was the first face and voice everyone encountered when contacting TNA, and she provided excellent customer service. Literally from my first day, she was nothing but sweet to me. She called all the women who worked at TNA ‘girlie-pie.’ She would go out of her way to help anyone that asked her.”
Cathy White, TNA Government Affairs Coordinator
“Cheryl was the first person who greeted me on my first day working with TPAPN—she made me feel welcomed and like I was in the right place. She was one of the kindest individuals I’ve known, and she always went out of her way to help me. She would always ask me how I was doing and greet me with a big smile when we passed each other in the hall. It was truly an honor to have known and worked with Cheryl Kee.”
Roland Rodriguez, LCDC, TPAPN Case Management Team Lead
“Cheryl was a happy person. Didn’t matter what was going on in her life, what difficulties she was facing, she always had a smile and a nice word for everyone. She remembered everyone’s birthday, gave Christmas cards and did little things to make everyone’s life a little brighter. She wanted to help everyone lighten their burdens. Members loved to hear her voice when she answered the phone.”
Belinda Richey, Member ServicesDirector
“In my time working with Cheryl, I was fortunate enough to get to know her professionally and personally, and she always made me feel like she truly cared. She was loving, selfless, genuinely kind and had an infectious smile! She was a hard worker and always willing to help if needed. I think about her often. I was upset to see her leave TNA in June of 2017, but I was devastated when I heard she passed away. It made my heart happy when I heard about the memorial bench outside being dedicated to her.”
Katy Davila, TPAPN Program Operations Coordinator
Cheryl pictured with Cathy White (left) on her last day with TNA.
As a very long and involved member of TNA, I was often on the phone needing to track down someone to help with whatever the project of the day. Cheryl always was the cheerful and very helpful initial contact for this. She was critical to the goals of members, board and staff of TNA and certainly one whose memory we cherish.