Late social worker to be honored

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Nancy Grigsby died on Nov. 10 after a 14-year battle with colon cancer. She was a social worker and patient educator at Fresenius Medical Care.

JENNIE McKEON @JennieMnwfdn

NICEVILLE — This year’s social work appreciation luncheon will honor a local woman who worked tirelessly to better other people’s lives.

Nancy Grigsby died on Nov. 10 after a 14-year battle with colon cancer. She was a social worker and patient educator at Fresenius Medical Care. She also dedicated time to the First Baptist Church of Niceville, where she taught Bible study classes and led mission trips to Guatemala as well as The Florida Baptist Children’s Home.

“She had a service heart,” said Nancy’s husband, Bill Grigsby. “She loved working with patients and often went far beyond the normal social work criteria. If she saw a need, she would find a way to help a patient out.”

At the Fresenius clinic where she worked, she set up a patient emergency fund to help any clients who were behind on their utility bills or needed a place to live. She made sure to celebrate birthdays, provided Christmas stockings for more than 200 patients and created a kidney support group.

“I don’t think any of that is in the social work handbook,” Bill said. “She loved the patients and they loved her back.”

Even when she was fighting cancer, Grigsby worked up until a week before she passed. She would work around her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Many patients didn’t even know she had cancer, Bill said.

“She couldn’t imagine not working,” he added. “She just said, ‘Cancer’s going to have to learn to live with me.’ Sometimes she would go to the office after hours carrying her oxygen tank.”

It’s because of Grigsby’s dedication and kind heart that the Northwest Florida chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has created the Nancy Grigsby Award for its annual appreciation luncheon.

“She was a huge advocate in her community for children and her patients,” said Monica Koetters, one of the co-chairs for the Northwest Florida NASW. “She was an educator and an advocate. She immersed herself in the community.”

Nancy never did the work for recognition. In fact, Bill said she would likely be ” a little bit embarrassed” by the attention, but he also likes the fact that her legacy will continue.

“Anything that can honor Nancy and the work she’s done is a great award,” he said. “Her name won’t be forgotten. She’s never really gone.”

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