Johnson City Medical Center | News Article

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Phyllis Hamilton, team member No. 1, celebrates 65th work anniversary
Phyllis Hamilton with longtime friend and co-worker Susan Williams, left, director of laboratories for Washington County, and Melody Trimble, VP/CEO for Washington County, on the right.

Phyllis Hamilton, team member No. 1, celebrates 65th work anniversary

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – It was a case of No. 1 hitting No. 65.

Phyllis Hamilton, team member No. 1 at Mountain States, is celebrating her 65th work anniversary this year. The long-time department secretary for the lab at Johnson City Medical Center began work at the old Johnson City Memorial Hospital on June 2, 1952, and when ID badges were first issued for Mountain States in 1998, her assigned number was 1.

She was recently honored by Alan Levine, Mountain States President & CEO; Melody Trimble, CEO/VP for the Washington County market; and others, and was presented with flowers and gifts.

In addition to her work in the lab, Phyllis is known for her passionate support of blood donation. Phyllis continues to actively recruit blood donors each time there is a blood drive. She’ll walk the halls to remind loyal donors and other team members of the blood drive.

For some photos, click here.

Susan Williams, director for laboratories in Washington County, has worked with Phyllis for Alan Levine enjoys a laugh with Phyllis at her desk.25 years and known her for 35 years.

“Phyllis has always shown a kind, caring heart, not only to me but also to my dad who passed away in 2014,” she said. “She has done the same to so many other laboratory employees and their families as well as to the pathologists. I have gone back through my mementos and found handmade cards and a booklet of various quotes from Phyllis, which I will cherish. She is a special lady – one-of-a-kind.”

Hamilton, a resident of the Rocky Springs community in Sullivan County, graduated from Mary Hughes High School and Steed College. When she interviewed for her first job at Memorial Hospital in 1952, the pathologist interviewing her walked in carrying a tray of pathology specimens covered by a towel. He presented her the tray and asked if she could sit by his side to take dictation, by shorthand, while he examined the tissue.

Phyllis passed the test and accepted the job at a salary of $120 per month. Her equipment consisted of an Army surplus typewriter with several keys that didn’t work. She rounded on all the nursing stations and charted laboratory results.

One of her most indelible memories is from the polio epidemic in the 1950s, when she charted on the floors where frightened children with polio were being treated using iron lungs. That made a big impact on her.

It’s no surprise that Phyllis is known for her amazing work ethic and incredible dedication. She even bounced back from a broken hip in 2012 to return to work.

Then there’s her dedication to blood donation. A Red Cross director from Charlotte, N.C., once stated that of the many drives he had visited, he’d never seen the loyalty of the donors to their onsite coordinator like there was with Phyllis. He added that, through her longtime dedication to donor recruitment, she’d probably saved more lives than many doctors had.

Mike Patterson, local donor recruiter for Blood Assurance, said, “She has indeed been a force in saving lives, as one unit of blood can be used to save three lives.”  

The Blood Assurance blood drives for May are in honor of Phyllis.