Assistant Director of Nursing
Ministry of Health, Al-Jahra Hospital
State of Kuwait
A nurse by profession, Henelyn De Ruña-Collis rose from the ranks to become Assistant Director of Al Jahra Hospital in Kuwait where she dedicated 30 productive years of her life. She went through numerous experiences such as war, fire, terror attack and trauma which strongly put her skills, courage, patience and strength to the test. Her selfless actions towards patients, regardless of their color, race or belief, saved the lives of many, thus earning the admiration and respect of various nationalities.
In 1990, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, she remained steadfast despite imminent danger. Neither did she opt to escape or leave. She bravely stayed behind to attend to the sick and wounded civilians and military soldiers alike. She also helped her colleagues overcome their fears and focus on saving lives which uplifted their morale and gave them the drive to help others.
In March 2003, when Iraq again attempted to invade Kuwait and spread the use of nerve gas as a potent means for mass killing, Ms. Collis immediately volunteered to spearhead a comprehensive training program for nurses and hospital personnel on how to handle and treat patients exposed to the harmful substance. She was a leader, a teacher, a health care provider who inspired the hospital personnel to contribute their precious time and share their knowledge to avoid major casualties.
In 2008 and 2011, she fearlessly led rescue operations beyond her duty and capacity when a fire broke during a wedding in two separate occasions. These were considered biggest emergencies in Kuwait where hundreds of children and women suffered severe burns, resulting to death of thousands.
Ms. Collis is also an active Filipino community leader and volunteer in various socio-civic activities and outreach programs in Kuwait. She heads the Filipino Nurses Association in Kuwait (FNAK) which initiated medical missions and the promotion of welfare of Filipino domestic helpers in close coordination with the Philippine Embassy. She is also the President of Hiligaynon Community in Kuwait (HCK) which organized fund raising campaign and charitable activities for the benefit of distressed OFWs and calamity stricken areas in the Philippines.
Ms. Collis is a living modern hero who truly deserves the Community and Social Service Award and the distinguished Blas F. Ople Para sa Natatanging Bagong Bayani Award and worthy of being dubbed as “Florence Nightingale of the Philippines.”