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Employee Appreciation 2017: A Celebration of Five to 50 Years
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.”