Luncheon To Honor Aiea Nurse, Mother

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - June 17, 2009
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Marsha Graham

Marsha Graham, chief of medical management at Tripler Army Medical Center, is among 10 women to be honored this Friday at the annual YWCA Leader Luncheon at Hilton Hawaiian Village.

“The theme this year is based on the principle that it takes a community to raise a leader,” explained Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui, president and chief executive officer of the YWCA of Oahu.

“In turn, the leader raises the community.”

In addition to 35 years of nursing experience in neurological disorders, surgery and trauma, Graham also has found time to be a wife to neurosurgeon Jon, a certified karate instructor and a soccer mom to children Bradley, who works at Pearl Harbor; Scott, a senior at University of San Francisco; Kayla, a junior at Carnegie Mellon University; and Lara, who enrolled as a freshman this fall at Michigan State.

Graham has been in a key position as the Pacific regional coordinator for the U.S. Army Wounded Warriors program, where her mission is to ensure that each soldier’s well-being and medical rehabilitation needs are met.

“The camaraderie and the team concept are very strong, and I like that,” said the Aiea resident about why she enjoys her work. A UH adjunct professor, she also serves on a local task force that researches and develops legislative solutions for long-term care problems in Hawaii.

Nominated by Col. Suzanne Martin, Graham credits her organized personality for her success.

“I can prioritize because I spent the first 15 years in ICU and trauma,” she explained. “You get organized in trauma, as you never know when something is coming, and you have to learn to re-prioritize on a constant basis.

“I can just change focus and go to the next task required.”

Fellow luncheon honorees are Erlinda Cachola of Cachola Medical Clinic; Suzanne Case, executive director of

Nature Conservancy Hawaii; Anna Elento-Sneed of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing; Signe A. Godfrey of Olsten Staffing Services; Janice Kalanihuia of Molokai General Hospital; Melody MacKenzie, University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law; Diane Plotts of Kamehameha Schools; Dr. Virginia Pressler of Hawaii Pacific Health; and community volunteer Indru Watumull. Former president of Chaminade University, the late Mary Civille “Sue” Wessellkamper, will be memorialized with a lifetime achievement award.

The community is invited to post their experiences and stories about these honorees online at

Susan McHale, a licensed practical nurse who works at Tripler with Graham, already has posted her good wishes, writing: “Your tireless efforts and vast base of knowledge are improving the lives of all our service members past and present. I feel proud to be a part of your staff. You are like The Energizer Bunny!! Thank you for your wonderful example of dedication to duty.”

The public also may attend the luncheon, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 19. Tickets cost $150 general, $100 for YWCA members.

For reservations and more information, call 695-2602 or log on to


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