Employees recognized for decades of dedicated service
This week, a dedicated group of Michigan Medicine employees received well-earned recognition for their decades of service to patients, families and colleagues.
This year’s annual Service Awards dinner, honoring faculty and staff who have been with Michigan Medicine for 30, 40, 45 or 50 years, took place Monday night and recognized 239 employees.
“You have helped shape this great university and this great organization,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the U-M Health System. Denton gave the dinner’s keynote address. “You have spent your waking days — and I’m sure, many sleepless nights — thinking about how to make this place better. Because of that, something magical is always happening around us — whether in patient care, education or research.”
Denton personally recognized the longest-tenured employee at the dinner, David Jones, a stockkeeper and 50-year employee. For context, in 1967, the same year Jones started working at the university, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House; the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Wilt Chamberlain, captured the NBA championship.
“To be somewhere for this long, it shows that people really respect the work that you do,” Jones said. “And having a night like this — where we get the chance to meet others who have spent so much of their career here — reminds us that this organization is filled with incredible people who just want to help others.”
Barbara Bernard Butler was also recognized at the dinner. She has been with Michigan Medicine for 45 years, 38 as a physical therapist. She said it’s been an honor and privilege to work for the organization.
“I come from a Michigan family,” Butler said. “My dad went to school here, my sister worked here for almost 40 years. So when I had the chance to get a job here, I jumped at it. It’s truly humbling to be a part of a world-renowned institution like this.”
As faculty and staff chatted with one another, many reflected on their longevity and why they have found success at Michigan Medicine.
“This place is always changing and always changing for the better,” said Kathryn Cagins, who has spent 40 years in various roles with Patient Food and Nutrition Services. She currently works as an administrator. “If you embrace new technology and new processes, you’ll be able to shine here.”
Deborah Juster, an internal medicine nurse who works with the Briarwood Medical Group, said not only does the organization grow and change over the years, but employees have the opportunity to do the same.
“I have been given so many opportunities to develop as a nurse during my 40 years in the organization,” Juster said. “I used to just see patients when they came into the clinic. Now, I’m given the responsibility to reach out to them and follow-up on their care to ensure everything is going well.
“It’s satisfying to be entrusted with something like that and know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
Cynthia Howard has been at Michigan Medicine for 40 years. She is currently a computer operator in pathology informatics.
“No matter how long you’re here, every day is a new challenge,” Howard said. “It’s never boring, especially when you know that what you do personally affects so many people. It makes this an extraordinary place to work.”
To see a full list of honorees, click here. And be sure to congratulate your colleagues for their commitment to Michigan Medicine!