Kenner Army Health Clinic held a memorial service in the Pharmacy lobby Friday, honoring the life of Gail Hicks, a beloved employee who died April 14 due to suspected complications from COVID-19.
The event was livestreamed via the Soldier and Family Readiness Group Facebook page. Chaplain (Maj.) Benjamin Hines from the garrison’s Religious Support Office led the service, and due to social distancing safeguards, the in-person audience was limited to 10 individuals, mostly family and friends. Facebook reported 900 views of the livestream.
Hicks had worked at Kenner for 38 out of her 39 years as a government employee. The impact of her departure was put into perspective during an emotional eulogy by co-worker and friend Cherly McZeal.
“Gail truly loved everyone, but most of all her family and God,” McZeal said. “She had served in various positions from surgical nurse to her latest position as a lead medical technician in Phlebotomy. Gail was much more to us all… she was a mother, sister and friend. She uplifted everyone’s spirits daily.”
McZeal concluded her message with a wish for her friend. “May God bless you in your eternal resting place with wings of silk and high-heel shoes.”
Jean Ragland, a supervisory clinical laboratory scientist at Kenner, had worked with Hicks since 1999 and was appreciative of how the seasoned veteran of health care took her under her wings.
“Her love for everyone, kindness, encouragement and sage advice is what shaped me into the woman I am today,” Ragland said. “Gail was the first to contribute a kind word of thanks or a word of wisdom when one was called for. She wasn’t the type of person to call attention to herself unless she felt it would help alleviate tension in a room. She touched many lives.”
The other two speakers were her eldest sister Pauline Trisvan and her daughter Velvet Johnson. They both noted how she loved her job and had an eye for excellence. Hicks was here to serve and care for every person she encountered with dignity and respect, they said.
Among the things Hicks appreciated, according to those who knew her, were fashion, shoes, reading, shopping, butterflies and puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku.
The ceremony area was decorated with pictures of Hicks, plants and flowers. Her family was given a butterfly bush to plant in their garden. Also, forget-me-not seeds were put in decorated envelopes with a bookmark for everyone to come by and collect after signing her memorial album for a family keepsake.