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BWH is like a second home for Giovanni Capurso, supervisor of the BWH Plumbing Shop. For one week during his 40 years at BWH, the hospital actually was home. He spent seven days during the blizzard of 1978 working, eating and sleeping at the hospital.
Capurso’s story is one of 1,320 unique stories of employee dedication celebrated at last week’s 26th annual Service Awards, when BWH honored employees who have worked at BWH in increments of five years, from five to 40 years.
Capurso is joined in the 40-year club by Nanon Winslow, whose even temper calms patients in Neurology’s EEG Lab, where she has worked for her entire career at BWH; John Chin, biomedical equipment technician, whose number one priority at BWH is ensuring patient and staff safety; and Robert “Jay” Walker, licensed HVAC technician, whose easy-going personality and strong mechanical skills make him a pleasure to work with.
BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, kicked off the event by thanking employees for their dedication to BWH. “I never grow tired of talking about all the awards and distinctions that we as an institution have received in the past year,” he said. “We have celebrated these accomplishments because of what you do every day.”
Lisa Ponton, JD, vice president of Human Resources, who presented the awards, said she had thought highly of BWH even before beginning here last fall. “You all have earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and now that I’m up close and personal, I can tell why,” she said. “The enthusiasm and passion that permeate this hospital begins with each of you.”
That passion and enthusiasm is alive in the employees honored at last week’s event, whose unique contributions and talents make BWH successful. For example, dedication is personified by Stewart Watts, lead radiology technician for Angiography, who has never been late for work in his 25 years at BWH.
And Robert Green, who celebrated 20 years at BWH, is a familiar and friendly face to patients and families. As a representative of the Information Desk at 75 Francis St., Green helps patients and visitors get where they need to go quickly, helping to quell anxieties of nervous patients. Known as the “senior statesman” of Patient Access Services, Green has perfect attendance and has never been late. He joined BWH after retiring from his first career to help out in the office of his brother-in-law, Richard Wilson, MD. When that assignment ended, he joined Patient Access Services. He will retire this month at age 84, and the BWH community will miss his constant presence.
As Green prepares for retirement, another BWH employee honored at the Service Awards is ready to take a new step in her career.
Ilona Goldstein, who joined BWH five years ago as a patient care assistant on Tower 7, is set to begin a nursing career and make a difference to patients in a new way. She recently earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Salem State College, and is ready for new challenges and rewards in patient care.
Another honoree who strives to make a difference to patients is Sonja Lilleskare, food service attendant, who has been delivering trays of food and funny stories to patients for the past 35 years. She is truly a dedicated worker, having commuted daily from Plymouth her entire career. Lilleskare, who retires this year, and her sister, Sandra Lilleskare, who works at the Information Desk at 45 Francis St., collectively have served BWH for 73 years.
See insert for a list of awardees.