Personnel specialist Denise Johnson is retiring after 20 years from Doctors Hospital with a retirement reception set for 2 to 3:30 p.m. today in the hospital conference center.
“This is not a farewell, but rather my forever grateful retirement reception,” she said, looking forward to seeing the many extended members of her family she has gained from the hospital staff in the last two decades that have actually become her second family.
She is wrapping up her career in the same office where she started one month after retiring from the U.S. Army as a sergeant in a personnel unit in 1997. She initially attached to the Women’s Army Corps as a WAC. She served in Manheim, Germany; Aniston AL, Ft. McPherson, GA; Ft. Dix, N.J. and two tours at the Presidio in San Francisco. She initially wanted to work part time but that evolved into a full time position within months.
Denise found her way to Doctors Hospital after a friend, Helen Lopez, referred her to the facility for a job where she was to become the first Tenet Hero and recognized nationally for her service in Human Resources. That was 2008. That honor was achieved through the help of her co-worker of 16 years Brenda Hobbs. She said she couldn’t have done it without Brenda’s help.
Denise is said to have been given a gift in life – the gift of serving others – her friends have said, noting her bubbly demeanor.
She has been credited for being tireless, efficient, dependable, loyal, and one who gives everything of herself to her job. She has been seen as someone with an amazing capacity to give and never expects anything in return – evident in the personal and professional commitments she has made to the hospital’s past nurse recruitment program.
A number of years ago the hospital hired four registered nurses from India and from the Philippines followed by four more foreign trained nurses. When they arrived in Manteca, the eight new nurses were frightened and lonely with no family or friends in the area to support them or to help them adapt to a new country and a new way of life. It was Denise who quickly saw their distress and immediately “adopted” and cared for them as if they were her own children.
She spent countless hours at night and on weekends finding them apartments and churches, going along with them to buy home furnishings and groceries. On her own time she helped them move into their new homes, often trudging up and down many flights of stairs, hauling their furniture and their belongings.
Denise would make a point during her work day to check in with them, to comfort them and ease their homesickness. She went out of her way to try to connect them with other employees with similar backgrounds. She also invited the nurses and their families to her home for dinner on many occasions and introduced them to her own church.
Even today the nurses still seek out Miss Denise, as they called her, for her caring guidance and loving concern who they found to be a very sensitive and loving person.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.