Rite Aid is proud to announce the two winners of the 2011 Favorite Pharmacist contest are a pharmacist from a Yakima, Wash., and a long-time customer of a Rite Aid in Santa Rosa, Calif. Both were selected at random from the nearly 12,000 entries in Rite Aid's annual contest, which honors Rite Aid pharmacists for their commitment to customer care and service. Rite Aid’s Favorite Pharmacist contest is held every year to celebrate American Pharmacists Month. Customers submit stories via paper entries in stores, online at www.riteaid.com or through Rite Aid’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RiteAid. Each of the two winners receives $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards. All “favorite” pharmacists received a Favorite Pharmacist pin and letter of commendation from Rite Aid’s President and CEO John Standley. "Rite Aid's pharmacists are our greatest asset, and this contest is a unique way to celebrate their commitment to customer service,” said Dan Miller, Rite Aid senior vice president of pharmacy and a pharmacist himself for 32 years. "I'd like to congratulate our two winners and express Rite Aid's sincere gratitude to all our pharmacists for their dedicated service year-round." Rite Aid's winning pharmacist is Sampathkumaran (Sam) Trichy Santhanagopalan, who was nominated by nearly 50 different customers for his service at the Rite Aid on West Nob Hill Boulevard in Yakima, Wash. A Rite Aid pharmacist for four years, Santhanagopalan says his favorite part of his job is helping customers by counseling on how to take their medications as prescribed or how to minimize possible side effects. Rite Aid's winning customer is Art Gomez, who nominated his regular pharmacist Amy Druzgala of the Rite Aid on Stony Point Road in Santa Rosa, Calif. In the winning nomination, he wrote: "Amy always says, 'Hi,' even if she's not working the counter." He also credits Druzgala with encouraging him to get a flu shot and "talking" him through it.