Team Member Wins National Award

Lois Cooper, a unit coordinator at the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus, has been selected as a 2008 Experience Prime Time Award winner by Experience Works, a charitable, community-based organization supported by individual donations, foundations and grants and focused on meeting the training and employment needs of low income seniors. Cooper not only won the Coastal Georgia Award, but also was selected from among all the state winners as the Georgia winner and will join 49 other winners Sept. 25 in Washington, DC, to receive her award. Each year Experience Works selects 50 remarkable individuals to receive its annual Experience Prime Time Award. Individuals must be age 65 and older and continue to make valuable contributions in the workplace while promoting their own good health and longevity by working.

According to Pamela Wooten, RN, Emergency Care Center manager and Cooper’s supervisor, no one is more deserving of the award. “Lois is 72-years-old and works fulltime on the night shift as a unit clerk,” says Wooten, who nominated Cooper for the award. “Since she had polio as a child, Lois walks with a limp, but she never complains and always comes in ready to work. She is an exceptional worker and does the job like no one else can. When I found out about the awards, I said ‘that’s Lois!’”

Cooper, a former 911 operator and nursing home administrator says she was shocked when she found out she won. “When Pam (Wooten) called me and told me I won, I told her that I was glad I was sitting in a recliner or I would have fallen on the floor!” says Cooper, who will turn 73 in October. “I was floored when I won the Coastal Georgia award, but I couldn’t believe when I won the national award for Georgia. I am so excited.”

Although she will be unable to attend the Georgia awards ceremony, she will be traveling to Washington to receive her national award. “I love Washington, DC—all of the history,” says Cooper, who after her first “retirement” spent four years traveling through Europe and loves to travel as often as possible.

According to Cooper, she has been working since 1953 and has no intention of stopping. “I tried retiring three times and it didn’t work,” she says, laughing. “I get bored. I have to have something to do.”

In addition to working 15 years as a 911 operator in Kingsland—“a very stressful job, but I loved helping people”—Cooper says she has worked as an assistant nursing home administrator in Savannah, a nursing home administrator at what is now the Southeast Georgia Health System St. Marys Convalescent Center, a long-distance trucker along with one of her sons—“I was a truckin’ mama and had a blast”—and a fitting room attendant at the St. Marys Wal-Mart, before joining the Health System as a team member in 2001.

Although she continues to work full-time, Cooper also stays active by being involved in her church, Kingsland First United Methodist, reading, cross stitching and crocheting, and spending time on the computer. However, as busy as she stays with her hobbies and other activities, Cooper says her job is an important part of her life.

“I love my job at the hospital and the people I work with,” she says. “Other than having polio when I was a child, I have had excellent health. I’ve been very fortunate and God has been good to me. I can’t see myself retiring again!”