Ben Hayden Award Nominees

The Ben Hayden Award

In 1974, a 12-year-old boy with his entire life ahead of him was hit by a car and subsequently died from his injuries.  His death while certainly tragic was the impetus of starting a brain injury rehabilitation which has positively impacted thousands of lives since that day in October.  His name was Ben Hayden. 

Our founder, Dr. Mary Ellen Hayden, while a PhD candidate in neuropsychology, learned there weren’t any options for rehabilitation for her son Ben and has dedicated her life in making sure there was a place for others to go to heal after their brain injury.  From this tragedy, sprang hope, compassion and care that has touched thousands of lives since that day.

Like Ben, our employees who touch the countless lives deserve recognition for the work they do.  In 2015, we created the Ben Hayden Award, in his honor, to recognize the one employee, nominated by their peers, that symbolizes our core values of Relationship, Respect, Integrity, Innovation, Compassion, and Empowerment on a daily and consistence basis.

Since 2015, we have awarded 5 individuals the highest company honor and we are pleased to announce and recognize, Alexandria Howard as the 2018 recipient of the Ben Hayden Award.


Alexandria, or Alex as she is known, is a tremendous asset to Pate and a humble, caring and innovative Occupational Therapist at our Whitley Place treatment facility Watauga.  She strongly exhibits our core values daily and immediately creates a strong bond with her patients that both comforts them as well as motivates them to excel during their rehabilitation.

Respecting the individual, using compassion, humor and radiating joy are some of the many attributes that her peers used to describe why Alex was deserving of the award.  When announced, Alex said, “I treat our patients like I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes; with love, humor and motivation, to help me regain what I had lost.  That’s what I try to do daily & I love my job!”

We would also like to recognize the other two 2018 nominees, Gail Darden & Danny White.


Gail, a Speech Language Pathologist at our Villa Creek location, greets patients and families with a smile and a reassuring look that everything will be OK.   She takes time to listen to patients, allowing them the freedom and the comfort to ask any question no matter the situation.  Often referred to as “Mom” by her peers because of the humility, warmth, patience and confidence she has in providing therapy to her patients and suggestions to her peers.  She is a natural leader and showcases our core values by leading by example.


Danny, not to be confused with the other Danny White of Cowboys fame, has one attitude and direction when it comes to providing support as Facilities Manager for the entire company: “Yes, we’ll take care of it.”  His attitude and sense of humor is infectious.  He lives and breathes our core values and exemplifies an acute understanding of what it means to be a servant leader: he puts the needs of our patients, families and employees first.  He can often be found engaging our patients and supported living residents, playing cards or just sitting and chatting with them.