A local nurse is being recognized for his work in the hospice care world by the owners of three local funeral homes.

Chad McGill, a nurse and case assistant with Compassus, a hospice and palliative care business in Tullahoma, was recently named the recipient of this year’s Caregiver Award, sponsored Coffee County Funeral Chapel, Manchester Funeral Home and Tullahoma Funeral Home.

The award, which is the brainchild of Kaitlyn McAdams, managing partner of all three funeral homes, is designed to recognize the largely unnoticed work that home caregivers provide to families long before they ever reach a funeral home.

 “We have so many wonderful people in the Coffee County community with a passion to serve others in need by caring for people during a difficult time,” Kaitlyn McAdams said, “and most of their efforts go unnoticed.”

Though McAdams works in the funeral industry, she said recognizing the work of people before families meet with her staff is just as important as helping them through the loss of a loved one.

“I began to realize the importance of the care these families have received prior to having to meet with us,” she said.

McGill is only the second person to receive the award, with the inaugural award going to Dr. Jay Trussler and his Manchester office staff, who received the distinction last year.

McGill was the embodiment of the care and compassion the award was designed to recognize, McAdams said.

“Chad exemplifies comfort and compassion while helping individuals who are under hospice care and their family,” she said.

The volunteer coordinator of Compassus, Julia Logan-Mays, said she wasn’t surprised to see McGill be named as this year’s recipient.

“Chad’s a very compassionate and down-to-earth person,” she said. “We are grateful to have him on our hospice team.  It seems everyone is here for a reason and this is his.”

When he was told he was receiving this year’s award, McGill said he was touched to know his efforts are making a difference for his patients and their families.

“It’s an honor to know I must have made a difference in someone’s life, as that’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “To be recognized like this just blew me away. It’s hard to put into words.”

Despite the difficulty putting the feeling into words, McGill said all he wanted to do was help people in the same way he would want his own family members to be treated.

“I try to treat each family as if it were my own – my own mother, father, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt,” he said.

In treating his patients like family, he said, he tries to become a part of their families.

McGill, a registered nurse, also said he likes to allow his patients to retain “their own life and dignity” by following their lead with the care he provides for them.

“I want to give them control of this experience,” he said. “I don’t want to go into their home telling them what to do; I want to give them options.”

By allowing his patients to give him direction, he said, he is treating them like he would want any of his family members to be treated.

“I feel like it’s very important to have self-control and dignity until the end and advise them of options, as that would be how I would like to be treated or how I would want my own family to be treated,” he said. “That’s just how I work every day relating to our patients and their families.”

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.