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Employee Appreciation 2017: A Celebration of Five to 50 Years

By Katelynn Sachs

Date: 09/21/2017

Employee Appreciation 2017: A Celebration of Five to 50 Years
Nearly 2,000 employees of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System Corporation were celebrated at the Employee Appreciation Ceremony, including those recognized for outstanding performance and patient service with the Baker-King Awards and the Edward A. Halle Prize for Excellence in Patient Service.

Keith Weller

Bob Kuhn, assistant director of facilities, smiles when he thinks about his first raise at Johns Hopkins, an increase from $1.54 an hour to $1.62. At the time—1967—it was a big deal and a measure of how great of a job he was doing. “Times have changed,” he recalls with a laugh.

Kuhn is one of seven employees cel­ebrating a 50-year work anniversary with The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System Corporation in 2017. These em­ployees remember seeing the first man walk on the moon, using a rotary phone and knowing that a “tweet” was just a chirping sound made by a bird.

“In my generation, you came to a place, you liked it and you wanted to retire from there,” says Mary Wallner, administrative assistant for regulatory compliance, who also celebrates 50 years with the organization. “You didn’t think the grass was always greener someplace else.”

Many other employees—1,943 to be exact—have a few more years to go before they reach the golden anniversary. At the annual Employee Appreciation Service Awards Ceremony on Sept. 11, they walked the stage graduation-style to celebrate their milestones. Thirty-three employees marked 40 years, 87 have been at Johns Hopkins for 30 years, 169 celebrated two decades, 532 are 10-year employees and 1,122 marked a five-year anniversary.

Embracing the theme “Celebrating Our Diverse Community of Dedicated Employees,” Redonda Miller, presi­dent of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, addressed honorees at the ceremony: “Today is all about dedication, whether it be for five or 50 years. You understand what goes into extraordinary care; you live it every day.”

Dedication, along with excellent service, is an important factor in deter­mining the recipients of two prestigious awards presented during the ceremony each year. The Baker-King Award recog­ nizes several nonsupervisory staff mem­bers who display outstanding perfor­mance, and the Edward A. Halle Prize for Excellence in Patient Service honors an employee who delivers exceptional patient service.

Sarah Willie, nurse clinician in Bloomberg 10 South, was presented with the Halle Prize for her efforts to go above and beyond for pediatric patients in the medical, surgical and burn units. Over her three-and-a-half years with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, she has enjoyed helping patients overcome difficult obstacles and achieve their goals. “Being admitted to the hospital is often a scary time for families and I always try to make the experience as positive as I can,” she says.

One patient’s mother wrote a note of gratitude after Willie helped the family navigate meal planning, insulin regula­tion and other challenges after a type I diabetes diagnosis: “You gave me the courage to do what I needed to do, and that was being the best mom I could be.”

The following 2017 Baker-King recipients were also honored during the ceremony:

Kayshawn Carter, clinical techni­cian, Medical Intensive Care Unit

Amy Fleming, staff assistant, Epi­lepsy Monitoring Unit

Emily Gillingham, pharmacy tech­nician, Department of Pediatric

Angie Kanellopulos, patient service coordinator, Gynecology/ Obstetrics

Kevin Lassiter, concierge, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Andrew Riehl, medical assistant, Ambulatory Services

Florica Socaciu, environmen­tal care associate, Environmental Services

Pamela Thompson, administra­tive coordinator, IT@JH Financial Administrative Services

Alfonzo Witherspoon, environ­mental care associate, Weinburg 4B

Billy Zinkhan, maintenance tech, Power Plant

“No matter what you do at Johns Hopkins, whether you’re sweeping the floors, cleaning grounds or prepar­ing food, everything has an impact on these patients,” says Kuhn. “We’re all here for patient care. That’s probably why I stayed here for 50 years—it’s very rewarding.”

Employee Appreciation 2017: A Celebration of Five to 50 Years
To kick off the 2017 Employee Appreciation Service Awards, Mone’t Horton, career coach for strategic workforce planning and development, awed the crowd with her rendition of Bette Midler’s “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”