It was a chilly week before Thanksgiving and Porter Health Care System had a very special gift in store for all of their employees, just in time to start off the holidays.
2,000 turkeys were waiting frozen, boxed, and ready to go at Porter Regional Hospital and Portage Hospital. These turkeys were going home with the employees of Porter so that they could enjoy them with their families on Thanksgiving.
"It's something that we are very proud that we are able to do,"Terri Gingerich, Cardiovascular Service Line Director for Porter Regional Hospital and Turkey Distributor said. "Giving all of our employees turkeys for the holidays shows that we appreciate what they do. It feels good to thank people for all the work that they do throughout the year and it's a great opportunity to show them that we care...we feel that it's very important, especially during the holidays, to take care of our associates. It's something that we feel very strongly about."
Morning and afternoon shifts were worked by Porter's management and they gave out what will be the main course for many family dinners. Pallet after pallet emptied as employees claimed their gifts. Smiles and enthusiastic phrases like, "Thank You!" and "This is so great!" could be heard and seen repeating themselves throughout each day.
"It's been a long tradition and everybody gets one. All the associates, all the physicians on staff, everyone at the offsites... We celebrate our employees in many ways but this is unique. People give a lot of their time here and to be able to give them something to share with their families is important...I'm thankful to work with a group of people that has such longevity here and that really supports the community; it just feels really good to be a part of it," Gingerich said.
Each person who helped to distribute turkeys was at the loading dock for an hour, happily handing them out in the morning to staff members who just got off the night shift, and then again in the afternoon to those who just ended their day shift.
"The employees are a very important part of what we do,"Lisa Stemler, Director of Orthopedics and Oncology and fellow Turkey Distributor said. "It's what makes us Porter. I like to tell people that we work in this beautiful hospital but if we didn't have the people inside that made a difference then it wouldn't work. It's important to honor and thank them for all their hard work."
Porter is one of the few hospitals that still gives away turkeys to their employees. And it's something that they don't plan on stopping.
"Porter continues that tradition of giving back during the holiday season,"Angela Boland, Program Director for Patient Rehab at Portage Hospital and that location's Turkey Distributor said. "Our staff and hospital employees are giving to so many others and for the administration to recognize all that they sacrifice, particularly during this time of year, is their way of giving back to the associates. It means a lot and the staff looks forward to it, we look forward to it, and you don't see a lot of companies doing this anymore so it's nice that they recognize that and feel that associate satisfaction is equally important. It's great to work for a place that honors that truth."
"We are in 24/7 operating facilities so we have to give up time with our families to take care of other families and it's nice to be appreciated for what we do,"Angela Hamilton, Supervisor of Radiology at Portage Hospital and fellow Turkey Distributor said. "And we do it a week ahead so it gives everyone more options."
Steve Lunn, CEO of Porter Health Care System, came to show his appreciation for Porter's associates.
"We give out the turkeys to make sure everyone gets a great Thanksgiving meal," Lunn said. "Our employees value it and they really appreciate it and we're happy to do it. Our employees work so hard each and every day taking care of the people of Porter County and we're thrilled to be able to support them through the holiday season and help them have fun with their families at home."
Please have a safe and very happy Thanksgiving!