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Last week I had the privilege of attending a gathering at Copper River Country Club to honor 72 Community employees for their years of service. The room was festively decorated. Colorful linen tablecloths with fragrant floral centerpieces adorned the round tables that dotted the room. The 72 attendees who were mingling and sharing stories had served a total of 1,895 years. Pretty incredible!
One of our employees, Vickie Christianson, was celebrating 45 years. This means she started about 2 years after the dedication of Clovis Community in 1965. Lyndon Johnson was President and the Beatles had just released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band! Another employee, Dale Claes, was celebrating 40 years. When I met him, I immediately noticed the lapel of his jacket. With pride, he had pinned every service award pin from the past four decades.
With good humor, our service award attendees had also agreed to participate in a Service Awards video, and what they mentioned in the video was truly striking. Like the fact that they felt people on their team were their family. Lisa Lee mentioned that her patients “crack her up” - she gets such a kick out of the way they joke with her after they are finally well enough to be discharged. Esmeralda Short mentioned that she gets so close to her patients that sometimes she even cries with them when they receive bad news. Others remembered the births of children and special times working alongside people who had grown to be their friends.
If we had to value the contributions of these folks, it would be impossible. Their contributions are in fact immeasurable. As the song from the Broadway play Rent says, you really don’t measure a year in minutes. You measure it in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, and in laughter and strife. But more than all these, you measure it in seasons of love. I left that evening knowing that most of all, these employees had served our patients out of love.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
how do you measure the life of a woman
or a man
In truth that she learned
or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
or the way that she died
It's time now to sing out
though the story never ends
lets celebrate, remember
a year in the life of friends
“Seasons of Love” song lyrics by Jonathan Larson, performed in the Broadway musical Rent
Please join me in wishing our 2012 Service Award Recipients congratulations and many more years to come.