Longtime Newton Medical Center employee Martha Taylor shared smiles and hugs at her recent retirement reception, as hospital officials and employees honored her for more than 30 years of service.
Taylor, initially hired in June 1983 as the hospital’s first marketing director, is retiring as director of volunteer services, a role hospital officials said she recommended creating.
Her last official day will be Dec. 31. Andrea Lane, who has worked side-by-side with Taylor for the past six weeks, will become the new director of volunteer services on Jan. 1.
However, before Taylor’s last day, hospital staff and colleagues, family and friends stopped by the lobby of the Knox Surgical Center to congratulate Taylor on a job well done.
Jim Weadick, NMC CEO, said at the event that he and Taylor had what he considered a "sterling working relationship."
"With Martha’s leadership in our auxiliary, she’s been able to accomplish significant things for the betterment of this hospital and for the people in our community," Weadick said.
"This past Tuesday, we wrapped up an auxiliary fundraising year, and the fundraising year concluded with raising $406,000 for the hospital, which will go toward the new diagnostic and treatment room in the emergency room.
"We’ll conclude that expansion project in the future. And that is part of over $2 million she has raised in fundraising efforts for our hospital. And all of that money has been plowed back into critical services here at our facility," he said.
"That’s no small accomplishment, and it’s one (in which) I’ve been extremely proud to be able to say I’ve worked with Martha Taylor."
According to hospital officials, since 1985, Taylor and her team of volunteers have organized three major fundraisers per year and have brought in more than $2.7 million to buy state-of-the-art equipment and fund services for Newton Medical Center.
Taylor has planned community fundraisers such as fashion and talent shows, and currently the annual gala, which officials said has given great exposure to the Volunteer Services program while increasing the group’s membership.
Taylor has supervised more than 250 volunteers, who donate thousands of hours annually helping NMC staff, patients and their families.
During her time as the director of Volunteer Services, the number of senior volunteers has increased from 25 to 225. Annually, 60 junior volunteers from area high schools are accepted for the summer program, to learn and serve in various fields. Year round, there are 30 to 40 college students volunteering, officials said.
Volunteers serve in 28 hospital departments, providing services including transporting patients, working in the gift shops, assisting patients as they prepare for procedures at the Women’s Diagnostic Center, reassuring children waking up from surgery, and updating family members during a loved one’s surgery.
At the retirement gathering, Anne Gantt, who works in business development and as physician liaison for NMC, said the world could use a lot more people like Taylor.
"From her days here and her days at home, we will all carry that positive influence forward in life and for Newton Medical Center on her behalf," Gantt said. "Martha, we can never thank you enough."
Taylor, who was all smiles at the reception, expressed her thanks to everyone with whom she has worked at the hospital.
"It’s a joyful moment to have all my hospital family and friends here and my own daughter and son here," Taylor said.
"It’s been a special time for me. It’s been 30 years of great experiences, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to have been affiliated with Newton Medical."