If you have the opportunity to spend any time at all with a group of AHC employees, it is almost certain that you will encounter someone who has achieved—or is well on their way to—the status of a “lifer.”  I’m using that term to describe a person whose commitment to what they do has withstood the test of time and who brings a unique level of understanding and insight to their task. I find that these people bring a unique set of values to our mission as well. We are blessed in so many ways by those individuals who have made a lifelong contribution to our organization.

For one thing, they know the ropes—they know how things work.  They provide the collective memory that contributes significantly to both efficiency and effectiveness in our daily work. They are often the individuals who can best describe how our work has changed and grown over the years, and they have a good sense of where we can continue to grow and improve. Some of them are innovators, but often they help secure innovation in the strengths and culture of our organization, an invaluable contribution.

Oftentimes, “lifers” bring a distinctive understanding of the underlying values that shape our work and ministry—and are able to help us translate that into tangible actions that benefit our patients and their families.

People who have worked with us over many years, and who have made personal commitments to our shared mission that stretch back over time, are also important anchors for our culture and way of doing things. They understand the rhythms that are essential for effective workplaces for our family of employees, as well as for the healing environments we seek to create for patients.

They understand the role that stability plays in being a great place to work—and how that translates into excellent outcomes for our patients. They know that success in our endeavor requires working together effectively, and they find personal satisfaction in being part of an entire organization built on effective teamwork and great teams. They are the backbone of strength that we depend on each and every day.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous physician and philosopher whose own life was committed to bringing healthcare to rural communities in West Africa, expressed the value of finding a lifelong commitment very well: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

We are well served and blessed each day by those “lifers” among us who understand this and bring it to our shared mission and ministry.