By Lauren Riebs
LaMetra Atkins had a gift for helping people. She began working at UC Davis Shared Services Center (SSC) in September 2013 and quickly became known for her positivity and warmth that shone through her dedication to her work. One customer specifically noted that she always wanted to have the “LaMetra Atkins” experience because it was so focused on customer satisfaction.
“LaMetra’s caring and nurturing spirit manifested in many ways, both in her professional and private life,” shared Mertianna Georgia, Human Resource Generalist, “One of her great delights was to cook scrumptious meals for her family and friends. We shared recipes and most of hers have become my own family favorites.”
When LaMetra was suddenly diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2015, her coworkers at the SSC wanted to do something for her, such as make her something that she could use going through her treatments. Michael Bunt, Human Resources Operations and Interim Generalist Supervisor, suggested a home-made quilt, with the help of his mother, Ellie Bunt, and Dawn Schwab, who make quilts for other cancer fighters.
Everyone got behind the idea. Staff from Human Resources and Leaves teams in the SSC collected and donated fabrics that reminded each of them of LaMetra in their own unique way. The variety of fabrics were sewn together into a vibrant and colorful quilt with an assortment of patterns. Ellie Bunt and Dawn Schwab were able to produce one large quilt just in time to deliver to LaMetra and her family, in addition to a generous monetary donation from Central Human Resources. She was able to wrap herself in the colorful and warm patterns, resembling her own personality, for her final week. LaMetra passed away on November 11th 2015.
As everyone was so generous in contributing fabric for the quilt, there ended up being a substantial amount left over. Ellie Bunt decided to create three additional quilts out of the spare fabric, and gave them to the SSC HR team earlier this year.
“We decided to donate the spare quilts to the UC Davis Cancer Center in LaMetra’s honor, where they will continue to be used by others still battling,” shared Michael Bunt.
In addition, the Shared Services Center has launched a Customer Service Award to honor Atkins’ remarkable customer service and contributions to the SSC. The inaugural LaMetra Atkins Customer Service Award is currently accepting nominations.
Lauren Riebs is a student news editor for the UC Davis Division of Finance, Operations and Administration.