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Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Valerie Mooney

Valerie Mooney

As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it’s essential to recognize individuals like Valerie Mooney, whose heritage is not just a part of her identity but also shapes her approach to life and work. Valerie, a dedicated Patient Placement Nurse at Memorial, embodies the rich cultural tapestry of her Hawaiian, Filipino, and Irish roots.

Valerie was nominated by a fellow employee, who shared, “Valerie cares about her team. She always offers words of encouragement and inspiration to others when times are tough. She helps out her team in any way she can, and she never complains. Valerie always sees the humor in every situation and the silver lining of every cloud. She improves nursing morale and happier, uplifted nurses provide better care to patients which promotes Memorial’s Mission to heal, inspire, and transform the health of our community.”

Nurturing Traditions

Valerie’s journey at Memorial spans over a decade, during which she has served in dual roles with unwavering dedication. “I love bedside nursing and my admin RN role,” she shares. “Admin RN entails working very closely with all floor leads, room control, ER and ICU leads, their management/director teams as well as my own. These men and women help make placement a seamless process to facilitate safe, fast, efficient patient placement and I’m grateful to each of them for that.” Her commitment extends beyond her immediate responsibilities; she deeply appreciates the collaboration among various units to ensure seamless patient care.

Born into a multicultural family, Valerie treasures the diverse influences that have shaped her upbringing. “I am Hawaiian, Filipino, and Irish. Three halves of a whole,” she chuckles, reminiscing about her childhood. Raised in a household steeped in tradition and faith, Valerie fondly remembers her parents’ wisdom and guidance. ”

I am the youngest of eight. My Apo, Henry, immigrated from the Philippines to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1940 to work the pineapple plantations and met my Tutu Harriet. She worked at the pineapple cannery in Hawaii. They married and had my mom, Eleanor. She was just days old when she made the trip back to Hawaii to complete the immigration process started by her dad. My mom met my dad, a United States Marine, when he was stationed in Honolulu. My mom’s the oldest living descendant out of nine children. She’s the matriarch of the Sotelo/Oclit/Harp/Nihi families. That’s how my heritage has shaped me. I raise my children based on many of her principles,” she says, referring to her mother. “I make the same soups she did when we were little and weren’t feeling well. I remind them where they come from, who it is they are descended from, so that they are given the same gift I was given – the knowledge of our family history and the strength of the people we come from. It brings both pride and sadness as she gets older.”

Valerie and her family

Heritage of Strength and Unity

For Valerie, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is an opportunity to educate and inspire others. “It means an opportunity for others to learn,” she explains. “Learn the history of Hawaii, how we became part of the United States, who the people are that helped shaped the place that people want to visit every year, and most importantly, how you can leave it better than you found it.” Through her advocacy, she seeks to foster a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity and its contributions to society.

Impact Beyond the Workplace

Beyond her professional endeavors, Valerie finds solace in nature and reflection. An avid reader and hunter, she cherishes the quiet moments spent hunting with her father. “It’s my quiet time and my peace,” she reflects. Her eclectic interests, including collecting old Bibles, reflect her curiosity and reverence for knowledge.

In Valerie, we find a remarkable blend of heritage, resilience, and compassion. As she continues her journey as a Patient Placement Nurse and keeper of her family’s legacy, she embodies the spirit of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Through her story, we are reminded of the power of embracing diversity, cherishing tradition, and striving for a brighter future.

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