Congratulations to Katie Callahan at one of the Waterloo Hy-Vee locations. She received the company's highest honor today at a surprise ceremony at the Ansborough Ave. Hy-Vee.

Customer service is key in the fast-paced pharmacy department, where thousands of customers visit every week. No one goes above and beyond their duties quite like Katie Callahan, pharmacy manager at the Ansborough Hy-Vee in Waterloo.

On a Friday afternoon, after all of the store’s pharmacy deliveries had already gone out, one of the pharmacy’s regular customers was not feeling well and was unable to make it to the store to pick up her medicine. Callahan caught wind of the predicament and came into the store on her day off to personally deliver the prescription, along with a few other groceries, to the grateful customer.

“Katie is a shining example of what Hy-Vee was founded on — that every customer is important, and we’ll do anything for them,” said John Griesenbrock, district vice president for Hy-Vee’s northern area. “Katie inspires the entire staff to be better, which in turn has made her department one of the fastest growing in the entire division.”

Callahan’s reach into the community is one of the reasons she was chosen as a recipient of Hy-Vee’s highest honor, the Legendary Customer Service Award.

The Legendary Customer Service Award recognizes exemplary achievement in providing service that exceeds customers’ expectations. Only 11 winners are selected each year from among more than 82,000 Hy-Vee employees in eight states.

“Katie approaches life with an extraordinary level of friendliness and kindness for others. She has consistently proven that she will go above and beyond to help anybody,” said Rachel Guy, human resources manager at the Ansborough Hy-Vee. “Whether it’s stopping to bag groceries, escorting customers to their desired product or searching tirelessly for coupons to get a customer’s prescription co-pay lower, her helpful smile shines brightly.”

Candidates are nominated for the Legendary Customer Service Award by their co-workers, and winners are selected by a panel of Hy-Vee’s top officers. Nominations are evaluated on the employee’s overall contributions to the company in nine areas: passion for customer service, attitude, initiative, teamwork, problem-solving skills, dedication to Hy-Vee fundamentals, communication skills, professional image and self-confidence.

Hy-Vee’s Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said Callahan is exactly the type of employee company officials had in mind when the Legendary Customer Service Award was established in 2006.

Callahan and the other 2016 recipients of the Legendary Customer Service Award will be inducted into Hy-Vee’s Customer Service Hall of Fame and receive a coveted Legendary Customer Service name badge and a custom-designed ring to commemorate the honor. They will be guests of honor at their area’s service award dinner in October, which honors employees for longevity of service in five-year increments, from five years to 45 years and beyond. They will also be recognized at Hy-Vee’s annual stockholders’ meeting in December. And finally, their photos will be prominently featured on the side of Hy-Vee trucks, taking their helpful smiles to millions of travelers throughout the Midwest.