Southcoast Health Celebrates Hispanic American Heritage Month: Meet Kimberley Coon
Kimberley Coon is our Executive Director of Hospital and Medical Staff Services. She has been with Southcoast Health for more than 27 years.
Her father and all relatives on his side are from Panama, and Hispanic American Heritage Month means a lot to her family.
Kimberley, her husband and her parents participate in their community during the holiday season and throughout the year to help bring aid to families in need.
“We have met and continue to meet other Hispanic families that are also helping others,” she says. “Through this connection, we have forged great relationships with other Hispanic families in the community. My Spanish-speaking skills are not as good as they used to be, but with this ongoing partnership, my skills are improving!”
Her favorite childhood memories include visiting her grandparents in Panama twice a year from the ages of four to 13.
“It was something I always looked forward to and cherished,” she says. “We participated in the Hispanic rituals such as the parades and gatherings with families and friends while I was learning more and more about the Hispanic culture at such a young age. This was an amazing experience for me.”
When Kimberley turned 13, her grandfather passed away suddenly.
“We moved to Panama to help my grandmother run the family business.”
Arroz con pollo is Kimberley’s favorite family food.
“The Hispanic version of this dish is delicious with its spices and special ingredients. This was a weekly dish that was prepared while we were living in Panama and is something that I will never get enough of! On the side, we always had fresh plantain. This is from the banana family and is cooked and simmered in special sauces, including syrup. Again, delicious.”
She says having a Hispanic background is a gift.
“The years I spent living in Panama and getting to know more about my Hispanic culture allowed me to fully understand this culture and become a part of this piece of my heritage. To this day, I tell my parents that I am fortunate to have lived in Panama and had a chance to get to know my family much better and become much more familiar with my Latin heritage. I value my openness and my way of connecting with others both inside and outside of the healthcare organization, and I attribute this characteristic to my Latin heritage.”