Humboldt General Hospital Says Goodbye to Longtime Dietary Aide

For more than three decades, Juana Garcia has been the funny bone in Humboldt General Hospital’s Dietary Department.

Friday, July 19, Garcia’s co-workers gathered at her retirement celebration to share a little teasing of their own. There was one very serious undertone to the gathering, however: Garcia’s co-workers let her know how very much she will be missed.

Garcia has served in HGH’s Dietary Department for 30 years, preparing and serving delicious and nutritious meals for staff, patients and the public. That legacy of service was not lost on HGH Interim CEO Karen Cole. Cole, who was unable to attend the celebration, shared her remarks via letter.

“I can only imagine what you have seen over the past decades,” wrote Cole. “When you began working at the hospital in 1989, our physical plant was much smaller, we had significantly less staff and our patient census was a fraction of what it is now. And yet, you have weathered all these increases with such finesse.”

Cole continued, “As an organization, we also have been blessed by your drive for excellent customer service. I have been told you are an optimistic staff member with a great sense of humor, a tireless work ethic and an ever-present smile. Thank you. Truly, you stand as an example of everything that is good about Humboldt General Hospital.”

Garcia was flanked by those who have come to love and appreciate her dedicated and steady service. Her smiles and laughs quickly mixed with tears, however, when some of her family members unexpectedly showed up, including a daughter from Mexico and a son from San Diego.

HGH Director of Community Education and Development Nicole Maher presented Garcia with a retirement plaque, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a check representing $100 for every year of service at Humboldt General Hospital. Friends and co-workers added their gifts and flowers to the mix. Garcia’s supervisor, Jo McClellan, also provided two delicious cakes and punch for the group.

As to the future, Garcia said she plans to take a celebratory trip to San Francisco. She also will be spending more time with family, including her beautiful sons, daughters and grandchildren.