La Porte, Starke hospitals honors years of service at annual awards banquet

La Porte, Starke hospitals honors years of service at annual awards banquet

People matter. That clearly was evident at the annual Service Awards Banquet Friday for colleagues at La Porte and Starke hospitals. It was a night of celebrating the people who have served faithfully for many years, caring for patients and making the hospitals the quality health care facilities they are.

“It’s a tremendous honor for us to be able to celebrate these colleagues who have contributed so much to our organization. The life and heart of our organization is our colleagues, so it is special to honor them,” said Ashley Dickinson, CEO.

The evening wasn’t your typical black-tie affair. Instead, attendees donned a country western theme, hooting, cheering and even clanking cowbells as their fellow associates took to the stage to receive their awards. It was all in good fun, but also friendly competition, as the table décor, clothing, and cheering was a quest for the coveted Spirit Award for the evening.

Marian Price was one of the honorees of the night. Price has been a registered nurse with the hospitals for 60 years, and to her, it is the people – both coworkers and patients - who have kept her going.

“I love the hospital and I love the people I work with. I don’t think there’s been any coworker that I have not liked,” she said. “They’ve been so helpful, and I can ask any of them anything and they’re so willing to help. It’s just a great group to work with.”

The people theme carried through for many others that evening.

“I love the people that I work with and serving the community,” said Jenica Sutherland, Director of Practice Management who was being honored for 5 years of service.

“We recognize colleagues individually on the date of their anniversary and overwhelmingly they say that it’s the people who keep them working here. It’s the community feel at each hospital but also the colleagues they work with on a daily basis,” Dickinson said.

As colleagues mingled and dined on a sumptuous meal at the La Porte Hospital Conference Center inside the James Dworkin Student Services & Activities Complex at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, the joy of just being together for a celebration of each other was evident.

“I think it’s amazing that they make sure that people who have dedicated their lives to the healthcare of others are rewarded. You get an internal reward when you help a patient, but this is an external reward where people get to be involved and it’s more than just personal satisfaction,” said Janet Gillon, a transitional care nurse who was being honored for her 40 years of service at both La Porte and Starke hospitals.

For each mile-marker of years, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, and 60, the presenters took the audience on a trip down memory lane, reminding them about what life was like when the honored employees started working for the hospital

With 40 percent of the colleagues having served for more than ten years, La Porte and Starke hospitals are doing something right.

“I appreciate being able to work at the same place for 60 years. If you’ve been there one year or five years, to me it’s an honor to be working there,” Price said.

For more information on La Porte Hospital, visit their website: