Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center hosted a retirement party for three of its most seasoned laboratory employees on Monday, December 30.
Collectively, Jim Bratcher, Margaret Anderson, and Randy Hay have more than 100 years of experience working in the TLRMC laboratory.
“They’ve set the example for…everything you want in an excellent employee,” said TLRMC CEO Wayne Meriwether. “We’re going to miss them. You don’t replace that kind of experience over night.”
Bratcher, who started working at TLRMC in February of 1980, said retirement is exciting but also daunting.
“It’s going to take a while to get used to,” Bratcher said. “Your job is your identity, and I’m going to have to get a whole new identity…[But] I’ve been planning a long time for this day.”
Bratcher said he intends to spend his retirement working on his farm, fishing, hunting, and travelling when he is able.
Anderson said she started working at TLRMC in the 1960’s while attending school, returned to work at the hospital from 1974 to 1979, left, and then went back to TLRMC to work from 1989 to the present.
On her retirement, Anderson said, “My whole life is totally changing.”
However, Anderson said she looks forward to going home to care for her new puppy, Jasper.
Hay, who was not in attendance at the party, started working at TLRMC in June 0f 1979.
Bratcher and Anderson agreed that the two biggest changes they witnessed during their decades at TLRMC were the evolution of technology and the growth of the laboratory staff.
“We’ve seen a lot of improvements,” said Bratcher. “We’re scrutinized more than any other department. Everything has to be precise.”
Originally, lab work was “very manual and labor intensive,” Bratcher said.
“The instrumentation, in a way, made [our work] easier, but it also made it a lot harder because you have to learn everything new,” Bratcher said.
In addition, Bratcher said the TLRMC lab, when he started, had no more than five employees - now it has more than 20.
“The technology and our volume is unreal,” Anderson said. “…We really do have a good hospital here. One thing we can do is care about people.”