Voters picked Robin Anne Palmer as the newest member of the Val Verde County Hospital District Board of Trustees.
Palmer defeated the incumbent, Raul Alatorre, and a third candidate, Juan C. Onofre, in the Nov. 3 General Election for the Trustee At-Large seat on the hospital board.
“I’m ecstatic about it. I’m really happy, especially about the number of voters that turned out, actually. I know there were a lot more voters because of the general election, but usually in the hospital elections, there aren’t a lot of voters,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Palmer came out of the election with an unofficial total of 5,903 votes, 47.54 percent of the ballots cast in the race. Alatorre, the incumbent, had an unofficial total of 4,989 votes, or 40.18 percent. Juan C. Onofre had an unofficial total of 1,525 votes, or 12.28 percent.
Palmer, a lifelong resident of Del Rio, is a political neophyte, the hospital board win representing her first run for and election to public office.
“Like I said, I’m ecstatic about it, but also very humbled by it. Of course, I know a lot of people, and a lot of people know me and what I stand for. They know what kind of person I am, so I really feel humbled by the whole experience,” Palmer said.
Palmer said she has spent her career at Val Verde Regional Medical Center after graduating from Del Rio High School in 1973 and subsequently from Angelo State University.
“I first started working at Val Verde Memorial Hospital as an orderly each summer starting in 1975 until I graduated from Angelo State University. I earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and psychology with a secondary teaching certification with additional teaching fields in history and health education in December 1980,” Palmer said.
She then returned to Del Rio and attended the Del Rio School of Vocational Nursing in 1980 and 1981 and was awarded the Physicians Scholarship.
“That meant I had to work another year to pay off my education. That one-year commitment continued on for the next 38 years, as a licensed vocational nurse,” Palmer said.
She retired from her career at the hospital in June 2019.
“During those years, I was a staff nurse on the medical-surgical, geriatric and pediatric floors, the medication team, which meant I gave medications to all the patients in the whole hospital except for obstetrical patients. I was also a night charge nurse, and floated to the emergency room services and intensive care units numerous times besides being a educator in the nursing staff development/education department,” Palmer said.
Palmer received many accolades over her years of work at the hospital, though perhaps none that means more to her than the Daisy award she received in 2013.
Palmer said she decided to run for the hospital board despite a full schedule as a volunteer with her church and a wide variety of community activities.
“I wanted to give back to my community more, to this hospital, and as a former long-time and recent employee, I felt I had many insights to offer to the board. I’ve worked with several different administrators over the years, and I’ve seen so many changes during the years I worked there,” Palmer said.
Palmer said she is also keenly aware that Del Rio’s population is getting older and will require more medical services.
“I decided our citizens need and deserve someone who would be their voice on the board and someone that would continue to work and devote their life to helping all humankind right here in Del Rio, and that’s why I decided to go back,” Palmer said.
“I could’ve gotten in my rocking chair and stayed put, but that’s not me,” she added.