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Gundersen St. Joseph's staff celebrates debt payoff
Employees reaching service milestones are also honored
mortgage burning gundersen st josephs
Gundersen St. Josephs Hospital employees with over 40 years of service, (left-right: Barb McCoy, Monica Burch, Laurene Wurster) assist with burning the mortgage. Terry Sosinsky, Director of Facilities, assists with lighting the fire. - photo by Contributed/Susan Zimmermahn

Last week, Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics staff and their families gathered for their annual Summer Family Picnic and Service Award celebration.

As part of the event, Gundersen St. Joe’s recognized 14 individuals who reached a service milestone in 2015 for a combined total of 210 years of service recognized. Those were honored with a gift from a local business of their choice. The value of the gift is $10 per year of service.  For example, an employee with five years of service has $50 to spend on the gift of their choice.

“We feel very strongly about supporting our local businesses, which is why this program was developed 17 years ago,” said Kristie McCoic, Director of Human Resources at St. Joe’s. “This year, $2,500 was paid to local businesses for employee gifts. It’s always fun to see what staff will choose for their gift.” This year purchases included jewelry items from Mark’s Jewelry, trees and shrubs from New Era Nursery and Woodland Valley Greenhouse, tires from Peterson’s Garage, and gift items from Peterson Pharmacy,  to name some of the gifts. Each recipient also receives a $25 dollar gift certificate to a local restaurant of their choice.

“It is important to recognize our employees and the care they have provided over the years,” said Deb Smith, CEO at Gundersen St. Joseph’s. “St. Joe’s has been through some lean times and our long term employees have dedicated themselves to our mission. We are grateful for their work and commitment to our communities.”

The evening also included a celebration to mark the payoff of all of Gundersen St. Joe’s long term debt as of the end of August. This included a final mortgage payment on past building additions.

“We are proud to announce that through hard work, and close scrutiny of expenses, we have paid off all of our long term debt,” said Smith. “This includes our mortgage, lines of credit and long term leases for equipment. St. Joe’s now enters a new phase of growth – that of saving money to put toward new equipment and building upgrades. We are very grateful for the support of our staff and the communities we serve.”

Staff who have worked more than 40 years were given the honor of burning a copy of the final mortgage on the building. Those staff members were Monica Burch, Barb McCoy and Laurene Wurster.

“Our affiliation with Gundersen Health System has helped us in our growth and moved us in a positive direction for the future,” said McCoy, a nursing supervisor.  “I was very pleased with the picnic, mortgage burning ceremony and the service awards. It shows that Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics value their employees and their service here. Employees also appreciate that we are given updates on how the facility is doing as a whole and informed of changes. I am very happy to be part of the Gundersen St. Joseph’s team.”