For more than 40 years, Tina Lockard has been an instrumental worker for one of Rochelle’s pharmacies, providing care, support and concern for those in front of and behind the pharmacy counter.
On Friday, Lockard, known to many in the community for her personality and infectious smile, was recognized by the Illinois Pharmacists Association as the state’s Pharmacy Technician of the Year.
“Meeting her for the first time was unbelievable. Watching the fire and passion she brought to her work was like looking in a mirror,” said Rupesh Manek of Rochelle Pharmacy. “Working side-by-side [with Tina] for the past 20 years has been a privilege. Not only has she been my technician, she has grown to be my right hand, my trustworthy confidant.”
Manek, who was instrumental in Lockard’s nomination for the award, along with more than 90 letters of support from customers, speaks highly of her and her dedication to the profession.
“My growth could not have been possible without her by my side,” Manek said. “My words may not ever be good enough to show her justice but I am honored by the opportunity to have her as my go-to girl.”
Manek, along with several of Lockard’s coworkers, surprised her this past summer at her and her husband Mike’s home to tell her about her nomination for the award. During that visit, several coworkers read aloud letters of support that were included with her nomination.
“It is overwhelming to think that so many people and customers took the time to write letters to the Illinois Pharmacists Association on my behalf for this award,” Lockard said. “I would like to thank Rupesh Manek for nominating me for this award. I would also like to thank Rupesh and Simple for the past 20 years working together.”
Lockard began a job in 1979 while in high school at what was once known in Rochelle as Barkers Rexall Drugs with Jerry Bumphrey. Forty-one years later, Lockard is still a part of the Rochelle staple.
“This pharmacy has given me the opportunity to work with my sons, Eric and Boone, and help our customers and their families,” Lockard said of her 40-plus-year long career at the pharmacy. “In a small town, you really get to know and appreciate the people that come through the doors. The many lifelong friendships I have made is what kept me working here all these years.”
Having worked for more than 40 years at the pharmacy, Lockard has also seen many changes, mostly in effects on customers.
“The prices of medication have skyrocketed and insurance companies pay less,” she said. “Being a small, independent pharmacy, we take the time to try and save our customers money on their scripts.”
Lockard’s nomination was one of 38,000 for the Illinois Pharmacy Technician of the Year Award. Garth Reynolds, executive director for the Illinois Pharmacy Association, presented Lockard with her award.
“I want to say congratulations on being the 2020 Pharmacy Technician of the Year,” Reynolds said. “In outstanding contributions not only to pharmacy practice and profession and the Illinois Pharamacist’s Association, thank you for being a trusted steward of the profession and helping patients all these years. And I congratulate you on winning this year’s award.”
Lockard’s nomination for the Illinois Pharmacists Association Pharmacy Technician of the Year Award reads:
[She] Started over 40 years ago at the Rochelle Pharmacy when she was still a teenager in high school. While many technicians move on, our recipient has stayed committed to her pharmacy and her community.
From cleaning the shelves to managing daily operations she has set and exceeds standards, always performing above and beyond expectation without question or hesitation. She has been an exemplary leader, managing multiple responsibilities including all pharmacy technician duties and front-end management. Her role in the pharmacy goes far beyond the title on her nametag.
On top of having the opportunity to mold and shape her own boys, she became the official/unofficial mom to every kid she hired. She trains her technicians to work with diligence and common sense. They follow her example both within the pharmacy and their own personal lives. As time goes by it becomes easy to spot the technicians she has impacted – shaping them to take on the challenges with enough confidence to exceed their own expectations.
Her hard work and dependability brings her community something special to look forward to when entering the pharmacy. Her smiling face, signature laugh and loyalty to Rochelle Pharmacy extends to the community she serves.
One patient notes that when he and his wife go on vacation every year in August, our recipient is instrumental in making sure they have all the medications needed for travel.
Her determination that there is a solution for every problem has helped build Rochelle Pharmacy’s loyal customer base. She takes the time to make sure every patient is well served and confident when they leave the pharmacy doors.
Additionally, she has developed a positive working collaboration with healthcare providers in the area.
Even Mayor Bearrows noted that for our recipient, her position is not just a job but truly the implementation of her path in life which she dearly loves.
She is so known for her personality and smiles that are infectious to those around her.