SIDNEY —When Diane Courter, of Sidney, took a job as a temporary means of helping earn extra money for her family, she never would have dreamed that 40 years later she would be retiring from a rewarding career she would built at Wilson Health, but on Aug. 19, Courter worked her last day.
“I just started to work, just a little while to get extra money … and it turned into 40 years later,” Courter said with a laugh.
Courter’s career at Wilson Health evolved over time, taking her from the person cleaning-up and putting things away, to the one buying the products to be used throughout the hospital.
Courter began working at Wilson Memorial Hospital in housekeeping in February 1976, but after several years in that capacity, she moved to receiving and worked in the storeroom. Then when the hospital was re-designed a few years ago, Courter said her storeroom position was supposed to be “re-designed out,” but she got to stay-on by transitioning into purchasing by eventually becoming a buyer for the hospital.
“My last boss here, she taught me a lot. She was patient with me. She was just so good. — And things I hadn’t learned before. — I had all good bosses, but she was more into the teaching part of it, and was real patient with me,” Courter said about Linda Rocca with a smile.
When asked how she turned her temporary job into a career, Courter seemed surprised herself, except that she felt comfortable and belonged to a family while working at Wilson.
“I started out to just work a few years, then I moved to different departments, and enjoyed it more … then year after year, you learn more and take a few classes … A long time ago I wasn’t supposed to be there, but then I figured out, ‘maybe I was supposed to be, (to) stay.’ Because they didn’t let me go,” Courter said.
“Wilson is like a family. They take care (of you). It’s just a family oriented business, and you just felt comfortable. And no matter how many employees you got there, everybody knows you. And after I got to a certain point, ‘I got to 25 years, well, maybe I can make 40?’” Courter said of what she thought when she reached the 25-year mile-marker.
Missing co-workers who have become friends is the downside of leaving her job.
“I miss that part of it; seeing everybody everyday. Where my office was, is on a hallway, and everybody would stop by and say ‘hi, or how you doing?’ I always had a candy dish on my desk, and I kept that filled all the time, and everybody would stop and get their candy. And they said, ‘Who is taking over your candy when you leave?’ And they all said, ‘None of us are!’” Courter said with a chuckle.
“It’s just a friendly atmosphere, I think … It really has become, more and more and more, in my opinion, a ‘Caring Without Limits,’ hospital … Everyone is more aware of what we need to do and how we needed to help — not just help nursing-wise, or ER-wise, but just friendly people-wise,” said Courter about Wilson Health.
Other than potentially going south to visit with friends in Florida this winter, spending time with her husband Phil, who has already been retired for five years, helping with and attending her grandchildren’s activities, camping, and caring for her animals are the only plans on the horizon for Courter.
“It’s just kinda nice. I’m really enjoying it a lot … The first week or so, it just felt like I’m on vacation, but I thought by the third week, ‘OK, I really don’t need to get up this early,’” said Courter of waking at 6 a.m. every morning.
“Somebody ask me, ‘what are your plans? and I say, ‘do I have to have any? — No plans, really’ … I said ‘I think I’m gonna enjoy this retirement,” Courter recalls thinking after she could randomly have lunch with girlfriends.
“The other day my husband said, ‘I’m sure glad you’re here.’ and I said, ‘well, I’m kinda glad I’m here too,” Courter said with a smile.
Reach the writer 937-538-4823.