CARBONEAR, NL - Plenty of long-time employees of Eastern Health were recognized this past week for their service.
The long-term care facility at the Carbonear General Hospital hosted part of an event being put on by Eastern Health over the course of several days to celebrate the accomplishments of Eastern Health employees, both past and present, for service to the healthcare industry. Similar events to what took place in Carbonear were also being held in St. John's, Clarenville, Bonavista, and Burin.
Awards were being presented to upwards of 445 employees who have reached 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45-year milestones in their careers with the health authority. Likewise, approximately 380 retirees were also honoured.
The event in Carbonear, held April 12, saw the long-term care facility's multi-purpose room filled with current employees from a number of areas such as emergency services, paramedicine, nursing, and many others. Plenty of retired employees were also present, and awarded for their lengthy careers as healthcare professionals.
George Butt and Colleen Kearley were among the dozens of people who received awards and recognition at Thursday's event. Butt was formerly the vice president of Eastern Health before retiring, and Kearley just recently hit her 25-year milestone. She currently holds a position as a child health coordinator.
Both Butt and Kearley saw it as great honour to be recognized by Eastern Health for their careers.
"It's nice to know that what you've done - your career - doesn't go amiss," said Butt. "It certainly makes you feel like you've at least made something of a contribution, not only to Eastern Health, but to the healthcare industry as a whole."
Kearley, who was still going back to work after the ceremony, saw the recognition as an opportunity to reflect on the past 25 years as a healthcare professional, and to appreciate the opportunity her, and many others, have had to serve people.
"Being able to help and care for people makes for a very rewarding career," she said. "I see people here who are so vibrant and excited, even at 30, 35, 40-years into their careers, it just goes to show just how rewarding it really is, so these sorts of events and recognitions really help us look at it that way. I know I'm thankful to be where I am today."
The service and retirement awards are only a portion of the events and ceremonies Eastern Health is throwing together over the next little while. CEO Awards of Excellence, Allied Health Awards, a Nursing Awards gala, and a Wings and Wheels Award ceremony are all in the works as well.
While Butt is enjoying retirement and Kearley is still looking forward to plenty more years to come in her career, they both agreed it was a passion for people, and a genuine love for their professions, that has kept them going over the years.
"I always prided myself in thinking that I played at least a small role in supporting the people that did interact with the patients, even though my role was never as personal as, for example, the ones nurses share with their patients," said Butt about his time as vice president.
"What kept me going was being able to ensure that the patients, no matter what they needed, were well taken care of. The idea that I could come to work in the morning, and contribute to the well-being of other people."
Kearley added: "The passion for me has just always been there. I'm not on the front of it anymore like I used to be, but I thoroughly enjoy knowing that we're supporting the health and well-being of people. Especially when I see a new baby - that's what it's all about. The people, and the people you work with."
It's that passion both Butt and Kearley say is one of the most important things for people coming into the industry out of college and university.
"It's a very rewarding career choice, no matter what aspect of it you take part in," Butt said. "As long as you keep working towards that passion and don't let yourself lose the spark, you'll never be disappointed with what you do in this industry."