Man retires from Elkhart General Hospital after 40 years
Posted: 10/19/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Angelle Barbazon
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Jimmy Cramer talks with a co-worker at Elkhart General Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at his retirement party. Cramer worked in the kitchen at Elkhart General Hospital for 40 years. (Truth Photo by Angelle Barbazon)
Jimmy Cramer, 63, landed a job at the hospital four decades ago after training with the Sheltered Workshop, a program that merged with ADEC Inc. to teach job skills to people with developmental disabilities. Cramer worked in the hospital’s kitchen as a dishwasher and delivered cookies to the blood bank. Before that, he worked for 25 years at the Cheery Corner, the hospital’s gift shop and snack bar.
“When you think about it, places weren’t as open to hiring people with developmental disabilities 40 years ago as they are now, so I think that says a lot about Elkhart General Hospital,” ADEC Community Relations Coordinator Nancy Bounds said.
Michael Hedrington, who works with ADEC’s employment services program, began working with Cramer in the spring to give him guidance for his job.
“He’s got a real positive attitude,” Hedrington said.
Cramer said his favorite part of his job is the people he interacts with every day.
“I know everybody, all the nurses and the doctors,” he said.
Christy Savage, patient services manager, said Cramer always put a smile on her face.
“Today is very bittersweet,” she said. “I think we’re all very sad that he’s going, but it’s great that he’ll be able to relax and have a good retirement.”
Cary Kelsey, assistant to the president at ADEC, met Cramer while he was working at the Sheltered Workshop in the ’70s.
“I think he’s been happy here at the hospital,” said Kelsey, who kept in touch with Cramer over the years.
Cramer said he’s going to miss seeing his friends at the hospital but is looking forward to having time to watch television, especially “Days of our Lives.”
“I could always come back as a Red Coat, a volunteer,” Cramer said. “I know everybody here. I like this place.”