Duo celebrates 45 years at hospital
Jan 12, 2013 (The Wilson Daily Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
It is not every day you talk to a person who has been on the same job for 45 years and enjoyed it.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2012, the average person only stayed on their jobs 4.6 years.
But Bobbie Jones and Milford Holland began working at Wilson Medical Center, then called Wilson Memorial Hospital, in 1967 -- just three years after it was built.
Both Jones and Holland are past retirement age, and neither have any intention of giving up their jobs any time soon. Holland works as a pharmacy technician now and Jones is the medical transcription supervisor.
Neither planned on staying so long. It just turned out that way.
Holland said he had worked at O'Berry hospital for over a year in food services and came to Wilson's hospital for the same kind of job. His first job at the hospital was as an orderly.
"They figured out when I was interviewing that I liked helping people," Holland said. "You get to help people when you serve them food, but you get to help even more as an orderly."
Holland said he sees people come in really sick and weak.
"Then a week later you see them walk out and they are all better," Holland said. "It feels good to know you helped them."
Jones said she was fascinated with the language of medicine, and ended up transcribing medical notes when she was first hired.
Both Holland and Jones said they have such good memories of the good old days.
Jones had all three of her children while working there, and Holland never married.
They've been employed longer than anyone else at Wilson Medical Center, hospital officials said.
"I was engaged two or three times, but then I sobered up," Holland laughed.
They said the hospital building was smaller back in the 1960s and 1970s and to purchase lunch was much cheaper.
"You could get a sandwich for a dollar, and get back some change," laughed Jones. "I think coffee was a dime. But it wasn't all of that $5 latte coffee then. It was black or cream and sugar."
The pay was a lot less, too.
"My starting salary was $1.10 an hour," Holland remembered. "My first pay voucher was about $47. And we were paid every two weeks."
Holland said he didn't do a lot with his pay, but he was able to pay his bills.
Both Holland and Jones said they have held on to each of their pay voucher receipts for the past 45 years.
Back then, Holland said the hospital held more than 400 patients.
Now the hospital has about 294 beds, according to Connie Rhem, communications manager for the hospital.
"I worked on the third floor, which was the biggest floor," Holland explained. "Back then there were private rooms, semi-private rooms and wards. We would have over 30 some patients on one floor."
Jones and Holland said they miss the coffee shop that used to be in the lobby of the hospital.
"It wasn't very big," Jones said. "There was standing room only. You could go in there 24 hours a day and get a cup of coffee and a hot dog. They were the best old hot dogs."
Holland said he had eaten many meals there.
Jones said police and Wilson residents used to come in to patronize the coffee shop.
Technology has really changed things for both of them.
Holland said a robot pulls drugs and there is less room for error with modern technology than back in the 1960s.
Back then, Jones said when someone needed a medical folder, she had to come from her house into the office, go down in the basement past the morgue and get the files. Now they just look it up in a computer.
One night Jones had to come into the hospital twice.
"This one particular night I got the call and I had to get all of my three children up and we came into the hospital, went down into the basement, past the morgue, and I was just fine," Jones said.
Jones said her husband, Frank, was a police officer so she had to bring her children with her.
She said she pulled the files, went back home, only to be called again.
"This time I went alone and I had to go down there by myself," Jones laughed. "Well, as I was walking I looked out of the corner of my eye as I was passing the morgue, and I could see the shadow of this man following me. I was scared to death. Turns out, it was my own shadow."
Holland said years ago he couldn't wait to get to retirement age.
"But it came so fast," Holland said. "I thought about it and said what in the world would I do "
They both said while others look to retire, they look to Mondays to get busy again.
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