Simone Wheeler, RN, MSEd, MHRD, MSML, has been selected to receive the “Faith in the Marketplace Award” given by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville. The award recognizes individuals in our community who display their faith throughout every aspect of their life.
With over 26 years of health care experience, Simone is well known for her passion to serve others—giving selflessly and tirelessly at work. Currently she serves as director of operations, Decatur, Illinois, for HSHS Medical Group.
Simone explains how she takes her faith to work with her every day. “At HSHS Medical Group, I believe in our core values of respect, care, competence and joy. When times are challenging on the job, I think about these values and how I can show love to others versus frustration or unhappiness. I will stop and pray for my colleagues if I sense they are down or lonely. I seek out those who are hurting so that I can be the shoulder to carry some of their pain. I also practice gratitude daily by either writing 10 things I am grateful for or saying out loud items that bring me gratitude.”
Outside of work, Simone has been a parishioner at St. Clare of Assisi, in O’Fallon, IL, for more than 14 years. In that time she has served as lector, Eucharistic minister, choir member, cantor and 7th & 8th grade Sunday school teacher—preparing students for sacrament of confirmation.
“Father Jim Deiters is always encouraging us to give of our time, talents and treasures,” said Simone. “God has blessed me in so many ways and my gifts are from God. They are not mine to keep, but to share with others. How do you receive when you give of yourself through faith at work and outside of work? I am filled with joy when I can help others. I enjoy talking to people and simply listening to their stories. When people open up, there is something so profound that occurs. I can see God’s face in each person I encounter and this is a wonderful feeling.”
Simone is deeply involved with volunteer opportunities on behalf of the parish. She has served as chair for the Giving Tree Committee during Christmas, soup kitchen volunteer, Confirmation sponsor, chair for the Just Faith Program for adult formation, board member of Caritas Family Solutions— a child welfare and family services agency, and baked 40+ cakes for the church’s annual Oktoberfest Festival.
Given by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, the criteria for the “Faith in the Marketplace Award” includes recognition of those who display their faith throughout every aspect of their life, stand up for those who cannot, and are not afraid to pray and praise God anytime and anywhere. This is the 12th year of the recognition program.
“We believe gospel values must be lived all day every day – not just on weekend liturgies or in an individual’s own personal comfort zone,” said Chris Orlet, editor/general manager of The Messenger, a newspaper for the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, which serves 108 parishes in 28 southern Illinois counties. “The recipients are being honored for taking their faith out of the pews, into the marketplace and the lives of the working men and women for our dioceses. The recipients are ‘walking the talk’ of faith in everyday life.”
“Simone is a shining example of serving others both at work and at home in the communities we serve,” said Melinda Clark, chief executive officer at HSHS Medical Group. “This award is a testament to her skill, compassion and ability to truly live our core values of respect, care, competence and joy.”
Simone concludes, “I was shocked and amazed I was being recognized. I am so humbled to be acknowledged for my faith. To me this is the highest honor I could ever receive. My faith and church keep me grounded so that I can be effective on the job. I love working for a faith-based organization that acknowledges the importance of a higher power. We begin each meeting with either a reflection and/or prayer. This action sets the tone for our meetings and reminds us to be respectful of each other. I am grateful for this award because it is a representation of how I am living in Christ and following His way.”
Simone, along with other award recipients will be recognized at a reception and dinner, Saturday, September 15, 2018 at Bellecourt Manor, 225 East “A” Street, Belleville. Please consider attending this event to honor the individuals being recognized. Reservations are required. Please call 618-722-5045 to reserve your seat. Cost of dinner: $40.