From dishwasher to assistant administrator, Debbie Miers has been a part of Lawrence Memorial Hospital for 26 years.
A Lawrence Memorial Hospital employee who started as a dishwasher 26 years ago was named the 1997 LMH employee of the year.
Debbie Miers, who worked her way up through the ranks of the food and nutrition services department to become its assistant director, was praised by hospital representatives. The award was announced Wednesday during the hospital board's May meeting.
"I wasn't surprised about this," said Mindy Hickerson, the director of the food and nutrition services department. "I can't say enough good things about Debbie's performance. I honestly believe she deserves this."
Miers said she originally planned to work at the hospital as a summer job while she was still in high school. She continued to work there while attending college, and eventually became a food service worker, diet office clerk and supervisor. She became the department's assistant director in 1992.
"I tell people this is the longest three-month job ever," she said.
The announcement was a shock to Miers, who said there should be 600 employee of the year recipients at the hospital.
"I really am shocked because this group of candidates is wonderful," she said. "I am very happy, and it's a great place to work."
Also on Wednesday morning, trustees voted to change the name of the award to the Robert Ohlen Employee of the Year Award, in recognition of the hospital's outgoing chief executive officer. Ohlen, who started the employee recognition award program in 1979, will leave when new CEO Gene Meyer starts on June 16.
"I think it is entirely appropriate to recognize Mr. Ohlen's progress in this area by renaming this award," said trustee Donna Bell, who introduced the motion to rename the award.
Trustees presented Ohlen with a framed photo of the hospital, and he received a standing ovation from a group of employees gathered in the auditorium for the awards ceremony.
"This is in recognition for the wonderful accomplishments our CEO has made over the past 18 years," said Ray Davis, chair of the board of trustees.
The other 12 nominees for the employee of the year were Lynn Alexander, Sylvia Black, Mike Carnahan, Star Carter, Barbara Freed, Julie Nelson and Judy Schwinn, all registered nurses; skilled nursing facility Medicare coordinator Kim Corbin; medical laboratory technician Kathleen McGee; pharmacist Warren Quillin; R.N. discharge planner Dianna Swatsenbarg; and quality assessment analyst Janet Tate.