Rappahannock General Hospital (RGH) is proud to be celebrating 44 years of service in the Kilmarnock, VA community this month. As a part of these celebrations, we want to take a moment to honor three specific team members: Patricia West, Lillian Haynes and Gwen Cox. These remarkable women are lifetime employees and have been serving at this facility since it opened its doors.
“The dedication of these three team members is absolutely incredible,” shares Alan Bailey, vice president administrator for Bon Secours Rappahannock General Hospital. “This kind of longevity is almost unheard of these days and I think it says so much about the culture of our hospital and our team members. They truly feel like a family.”
“Thank you to Patsy, Lillian and Gwen for their loyalty and commitment to providing good help to this community for so many years,” he adds.
Learn more about these remarkable ladies.
Patricia West, Patsy to most (pictured above right), started at RGH on July 6, 1977 in the dietary department. This department is where she still works today.
Patsy enjoys her role as a dietary aide, which involves tending to patients’ dietary needs and meal deliveries. She loves chatting with patients and giving them a warm moment of connection during what may otherwise be a difficult experience for them.
She says she’s been at RGH so long that patients frequently tell her “I remember you from the last time I was here!” and sometimes it would have been decades since their last visit. She also recalls one year she came in on Christmas morning dressed up like Santa Claus, her signature blue eyeshadow included, of course. The patients she delivered breakfast to got such a laugh out of her entering their rooms with a joyful “Ho ho ho!”
“The staff here are just like a family to me,” Patsy says. “They’re who I’ve spent the most time with all these years.”
Patsy has two children, eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, all of whom call her “Mammy.” Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing Bingo out in the community and going on bike rides. She plans on retiring later this year.
“It’s really been a good 44 years. I’ve loved it and would do it all over again if I had the chance,” she shares.
Lillian Haynes (pictured above middle) began her career at RGH on February 28, 1977, two weeks prior to the hospital opening. Haynes was hired to work as a cook in the dietary department, where she has remained for her tenure.
Lillian says she has always enjoyed cooking and the camaraderie with her colleagues. Anyone who has dined in the RGH Café knows she can whip up some delicious meals. She also embraces her role as the “mom” of the unit, with her peers often seeking her advice, both personal and professional.
A White Stone, VA resident, Lillian has four children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. She attends Mount Vernon Baptist Church. In her free time, she enjoys family gatherings, vacationing, and says she is always listening to her music.
Last but certainly not least is RGH’s longest employed team member: Gwen Cox (pictured above left). She has a start date of January 7, 1977.
Gwen was initially hired for the doctor’s answering service at the hospital and has remained in the patient registration realm ever since. She’s covered many positions and has worn many hats over the years, roles which include working on the registration side of admission, switch board operation, collections and data processing. Gwen was instrumental in introducing Lifeline to the community when the program first started. She’s earned the reputation for being “the phone person” in her unit, as she is the go-to expert for everything communication-related in registration.
One of the most challenging, but also most rewarding parts of her role is assisting emergency department patients.
“I’m helping them through the process when they’re in bad shape and can hardly think straight sometimes,” she says. “In registration, we’re the first face people see. It’s important to make a good impression.”
When the job became available in 1977, Gwen was working in a restaurant and knew she wanted to be on a career path that offered her opportunities to learn and grow. She says that’s exactly what she found at RGH and appreciates the opportunities she’s had over the years to develop new skills and learn new things.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here; I’ve met a lot of nice people over the years. It’s really just been a wonderful experience,” she says.
Gwen has the best memories of festive hospital parties, funny group skits and gatherings with her colleagues. She lives in White Stone, VA with her husband. They have three children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. In her free time, she enjoys shopping with her daughter, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Gwen says she thinks she’ll retire sometime this year, then adds “but you never know…”
Learn more about all of the health care services we offer at Bon Secours.