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Living History: Memorial’s longtime employees help tell the hospital’s story

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Karen Strickland, Velma Johnson, Helen Wright, Nancy Sims, Donna Rudzik, Carolyn Lucas, Ima Asher and Betty Porter have a combined working experience of almost three centuries at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, recently recounted some of their memories of working at the hospital:


Karen Strickland, 40 years, Medical Staff Coordinator

“I remember after childbirth they didn’t give your child to you until you were checking out — you were to rest and the baby stayed in the nursery. They were afraid the baby might get a germ. The way they do it now makes a world of difference in bonding.”

Ima Asher, 39 years, Technician

for Pulmonary/Cardiac Rehab

“I remember Dr. Longino taking pictures at Christmas breakfast. Dr. Longino came for years — even now he still comes to all the Christmas breakfasts and takes picture of each person individually and by department, then would have those developed and bring you your picture.

Helen Wright, 38 years, Laundry Technician

“In March 1971 I had a job at Hollywood Brand and it closed down so I came here looking for a job and have been her ever since. My career path here has been wonderful.”

Carolyn Lucas, 37 years,

Coordinator of Pulmonary/

Cardiac Rehab

“I remember the time I worked nights in the ER and saw Bill Nixon’s infant daughter before he had even seen her. I was her self-proclaimed godmother.”

Betty Porter, 36 years,

Environmental Services

“My intention after getting hired here at HCMH was to work as long as there was work for me at this hospital. Since then I’ve enjoyed my job, my co-workers, and all the people I’ve worked with. HCMH gave me a job that helped me raise my three daughters; for that I am grateful. ”

Donna Rudzik, 34 years, Director of Human Resources

“Four women, including myself, have been named the ‘Steel Magnolias.’ We have sat at the same table and shared work issues, babies, divorces, marriages, graduations, grandchildren, retirement and deaths of family members that has spanned 34-plus years.”

Nancy Sims, 33 years,

Admission Supervisor

“In 1978 the hospital got its first ultrasound machine. I was pregnant along with Carolyn Lucas and Lou Ann Murray, and Lou Ann was having twins! Dr. Jennings would use us pregnant employees to practice and test the new ultrasound machine. There would be about 20 employees and doctors crammed into the room to see this amazing new technology — and our big pregnant bellies!”


Velma Johnson, 32 years,

Environmental Services, Aide

“I remember the old OB and ICU. They both were very small and now both have expanded and now we’re expanding to our new ER. I’ve enjoyed ever minute of my time here and all the friends I’ve made and the wonderful people I’ve met.”

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