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White balloons are launched at Southampton Memorial Hospital Friday to honor Sandy Joyner, former SMH employee, and her husband Joe. April 26 is the anniversary of the Joyners deaths and employees organized a walk in their honor. -- Submitted
White balloons are launched at Southampton Memorial Hospital Friday to honor Sandy Joyner, former SMH employee, and her husband Joe. April 26 is the anniversary of the Joyners deaths and employees organized a walk in their honor. -- Submitted

Archived Story

Inaugural walk to honor Sandy and Joe Joyner held

Published 11:48am Saturday, April 27, 2013
Family and friends of Joe and Sandy Joyner helped kick-off the First Annual Walk in memory of the Joyners at SMH Friday. Here are, from left, Vickie Joyner, Glenn Joyner, David Joyner, Chrissy Joyner, Lindsay Joyner, Jeana B. Thompson and Betty Butler. -- SUBMITTED
Family and friends of Joe and Sandy Joyner helped kick-off the First Annual Walk in memory of the Joyners at SMH Friday. Here are, from left, Vickie Joyner, Glenn Joyner, David Joyner, Chrissy Joyner, Lindsay Joyner, Jeana B. Thompson and Betty Butler. — SUBMITTED

FRANKLIN—One year to the day after Sandy and Joe Joyner were murdered by Joe’s son, Southampton Memorial Hospital honored the victims.

Sandy Joyner was employed at SMH for 35 years.

“All the employees knew her,” said SMH Pulmonary Services Receptionist Judy Avent. “Sandy had to do all the physicals and give flu shots. There wasn’t one (employee) she didn’t see.”

Thinking of a way to honor their co-worker, a committee came together and worked out details for the First Annual Walk for Domestic Violence — to honor Sandy and her husband Joe.

Committee members included: Esther Francis, East Pavilion Administrator; Kim Marks, Assistant CEO; Judy Avent, Pulmonary Services Receptionist; Carolyn Bunn, Administrative Secretary; Katie Cobb, East Pavilion Activities Coordinator; Loretha Ricks, Human Resources; Sharon Lee, East Pavilion Accounts Manager; and Lucy Drewry, Director of Quality Management.

Committee member Francis said the group planned the walk but for the first one, “just wanted it to be for the hospital family.”

She added, “We plan to do this every year from now on and next year we will open it up to the entire community. This has been a part of healing for us.”

Francis said next year donations would be collected to go toward domestic violence prevention.

On hand Friday with domestic violence literature was Ruth Whitley, a neighbor of the Joyners, and social worker at Southampton County Department of Social Services. “I think of them every morning when I leave my drive-way,” said Whitley. She said the walk Friday focused on domestic violence because of the family-on-family act of violence that led to their deaths.

The walk began at 11:30 a.m. and culminated with a white balloon launch and closing ceremony at 2 p.m. The walkers who signed up were given the opportunity to participate during their lunch breaks. Approximately 78 employees participated, each carrying a purple balloon. They began at the SMH entrance and walked around the parking lot.

At the ceremony SMH CEO Phil White offered remarks in memory of Sandy Joyner. Beth Pulley, Care Management Director, also spoke. She said Sandy hired her fresh out of nursing school. She remembered Joyner as professional responsible, honest and a leader and always encouraged others around her.

“We were so fortunate for the opportunity to work under Sandy’s leadership,” she offered, adding she thinks about Sandy’s laughter all the time.

Members of the Joyner family were on-hand to officially start the walk, including Vickie Joyner (sister-in-law), Glenn Joyner (Joe’s brother), Chrissy Joyner (sister-in-law), David Joyner (brother), Lindsay Joyner (niece and SMH employee), Jeana B. Thompson (special family friend) and Betty Butler (neighbor and friend).

The Joyners were murdered April 26, 2012, by Joe Joyner’s son, Joe Charles “Jay” Joyner, who was convicted in February and sentenced to four life terms in prison.

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