Southeast Georgia Health System honored long-time team members during the
annual Service Awards Banquet held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center
on Thursday, May 8, with a theme of "Teamwork Lights the Way."
A total of 328 team members with five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and
50 years of service were honored with a delectable buffet dinner and presented
certificates in recognition of their years of service to the Health System.
A highlight of the evening included special recognition of team members
Nona Stephens and Janet Edmonds for 50 years of service.
Nona Stephens was still in high school at Glynn Academy when she began
working at the Health System’s Brunswick Campus in 1956. She completed
training to become a medical technologist and worked in different areas
of the laboratory before finding her niche in the Blood Bank.
Stephens recalls that in the early days, medical technologists went up
to the patient’s rooms to collect blood samples, so there was more
interaction with patients. They also collected donor blood and would have
to call in donors if there was a bad accident or the blood supply was
Even though there isn’t that same interaction with the donors and
patients today, she knows she still makes a big difference in people’s
lives. "If someone has an urgent need, we have to find compatible
blood for them quickly."
Stephens has also witnessed many changes within the Health System during
the last five decades. "Over the years, the laboratory has been in
five different locations and I have had the opportunity to work with many
different team members. I’ve been a part of a small hospital that
has grown into a large health system, and it has been amazing."
Born and raised in Glynn County, Janet Edmonds was also honored for 50
years of service. After graduating from Risley High School in 1962, she
began her career with the Health System as a patient care technician,
advancing to diet technician and then retail associate in Food and Nutrition Services.
Edmonds current role as hospitality specialist at the Senior Care Center-Brunswick
allows her the opportunity to interact with patients on a daily basis.
"It has been a joy to treat people like I want to be treated, love
them like I want to be loved. These 50 years have been a great ride."
In 2013, Edmonds decided it was time to switch from full-time to a part-time
position, and then immediately signed up to be a volunteer for the Health
System. "The people I work with are so caring to our patients and
the best fellow team members I could ask for. I just can’t leave."
Judith Varnadoe, who works at Senior Care Center-St. Marys, was one of
the team members honored for 35 years of service. She started in 1979
as a certified nursing assistant and has spent the last decade working
in Medical Records, a job she says suits her quite well. "I actually
love the paperwork. The more paperwork I have, the happier I am."
She also likes the fact that being in Medical Records still allows her
to get out of her office and meet the residents and their families.
Among those honored for 25 years of service was Gloria Frazier, unit clerk
for Radiology and Cardiopulmonary Services at the Camden Campus. Frazier
remembers how small the hospital was when she first started working there
in 1989. "Back then, it was Camden Medical Center and it was just
one floor with the Medical-Surgical Unit at one end and the Maternity
Unit at the other end. Everybody knew each other, even if you worked a
different shift," she says.
With growth also came new technology. "In radiology, we just had regular
computed tomography (CT) and X-ray when I first started, and now we have
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear medicine." Gloria says
she loves her job. "I am at the registration desk, so I get people
checked in and back to where they need to be. I see lots of different
people with different attitudes, and I have to be able to adjust to each
one. But I love it, because I am a people person."
At the celebration, Gary R. Colberg, FACHE, president & CEO, Southeast
Georgia Health System, said, "The team members we honor tonight have
collectively provided more than 4,080 years of service. It demonstrates
confidence in us as an employer of choice, but more importantly, it shows
that working together works. I could not do my job without all the people
I work with on a daily basis, and it is because of all the good things
you do that we are able to offer new services, recruit qualified physicians
and team members, and provide the highest level of care. I am honored
to work with you."
Vance Hughes, Glynn-Brunswick Memorial Hospital Authority member, voiced
his appreciation as well. "I am truly grateful that you have dedicated
so many years to improving the lives of others through your service to
the Health System. You save lives daily, bring new lives into the world,
and continue to mentor new team members. On behalf of the Hospital Authority,
thank you for your commitment to the health and well-being of our community."