Marking Milestone Anniversaries for Three Remarkable Associates

This week, we're celebrating associates marking milestone anniversaries. These celebrations are highlights of our year at the hospital, and certainly among my favorite.

First, we thanked those who reached 5 and 10 years of service at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.  Then, we celebrated associates who have devoted between 15 and 50 years. Three associates –James Williams, John “JJ” Johnson, both of Central Patient Transport, and Alice Williams, Radiology – each have reached a truly remarkable 50 years of service. This is the first time in the history of our hospital three associates have reached this milestone at the same time.

In that spirit of celebration, I want to share with you remarks I made at a dinner in their honor for 15- to 50-year associates. Do take a moment to congratulate them for their devotion to our hospital.

Thank you all for your service to our patients, our community and one another. 

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Those of you in this room tonight who are being recognized for your dedication have given a combined 7,000 years of service to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. 

In those years, think of the hundreds of thousands of patients whose lives you have touched with your knowledge, dedication and compassion.

  • How many times have those of you in this room held someone’s hand when they were feeling alone?
  • How many times have you held a simple conversation as you moved a patient from one place to another when they were most afraid?
  • How many times have you checked and double-checked an order, looked more carefully at a medical record, asked just one more question to make sure that everything was exactly the way it should be for your patient?

The answer: Hundreds of thousands of times in 7,000 years.  

Where would we be without you?  Where would our community be without you?  It is hard to imagine.

There are stories upon stories in this room tonight, and we can’t possibly share them all.  But a few highlights from our honorees paint the picture – a picture of commitment to our patient-first mission. 

There are people like Silvester Stokes, who is celebrating 30 years of service, and his colleague, Jackie Diaz, 25 years – both in the Nursing Support Office, who live and breathe our mission.  They earned a President’s Award last year because, in their combined 55 years, they have never said “no.” For them, their work is all about owning an issue, solving a problem, and doing what is best for patients – and everyone in the hospital – each and every day.

Patricia Wiggins, a Super Star, takes care of the families in the OR Waiting Room like she would want someone to care for her family member.  I have seen her name in letter after letter from families who can’t say enough about how thoughtful she was while their relative was in surgery, how she checks on every family member during their wait, and how lucky we are to have her. I agree.

Most recently, it was an honor to recognize Nurse Donna Brown-Redding with a President’s Award, for her incredible commitment to the children in our community. When the call went out for associates to help fulfill one child’s wish at Christmas, Donna took ALL of the children’s names and organized a team to make their holiday wishes come true.  Best of all, she also inspired her son, Kamron Brown, to follow in her footsteps and become a nurse – and he now works in the CVRR, our cardiovascular recovery room. Thank you for that, Donna!

Speaking of family, we have a couple of other “family stories” tonight. Vickie Dempsey Hall, who has been with Public Affairs & Marketing Department for 20 years, is here with her daughter, Britney Dempsey, who earlier this week celebrated her five-year anniversary. Britney works in Medical Credentialing. Vickie is a natural in her newest role – as a Champion for the Language of Caring program.  I think Vickie invented "Heart-Head-Heart"*!  

A special thank you to each and every one of you.  We are the hospital we are today because of you.  You have helped us become leaders in providing the most advanced care for the region and you are at the heart of our community commitment – a hospital place that treats everyone with dignity and provides compassionate care regardless of a patient’s station in life.

You exemplify our Above All, Patients First commitment and you have been doing this with “Heart – Head – Heart” for 7,000 years!

  • "Heart- Head- Heart" is one of the communications tools associates are learning from our new Language of Caring program. The program is a series of modules all associates are taking to improve and encourage empathic communication and ultimately learn to convey that patient and family-centered care to each patient, and our own colleagues.