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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hospital wishes fond farewell to retiring longtime employee

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A retirement reception honoring Hazel Hatch-Hart will take place in Dyersburg Regional Medical Center's cafeteria from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 28. Known as 'The Mother of the Hospital', Hart has worked at DRMC since four days after the hospital first opened its doors in 1956. She leaves the hospital after 56 years of dedicated service to enjoy time with her family, go fishing with her husband and vacation at her family farm.
Dyersburg Regional Medical Center will be sending well wishes to longtime employee Hazel Hatch-Hart, on Friday, Sept.28. Hart is DRMC's most veteran employee after 56 years of dedicated service to the hospital and community.

"There are so many wonderful things to share," said Hart. "I don't even know where to begin."

Situated with cotton fields on all sides, DRMC first opened its doors as Parkview Hospital on April 11, 1956. Four days later, Hart, a 24-year-old Dyersburg native, began her career as a switchboard operator.

"Everyone and everything was new," exclaimed Hart. "I didn't even know where the emergency room was. People would always ask me where things were and I just had to figure it out."

This set a precedent for years to come as Hart has maintained her position as the switchboard operator and is better known as the "Mother of the Hospital".

"I made 50 cents an hour when I first started," Hart said.

For the first five years, Hart had a six-day work week, with Saturdays off.

"Can you believe I didn't have a Sunday off for five years?" questioned Hart.

Despite Hart's demanding work schedule, she still made time for family. She is a mother of four, Jackie, Larry, Johnny and Jeff Hatch, and a stepmother of two, Jerry and Terry Hart.

Hart's first husband, Jack Hatch passed away in 2001. She was remarried in 2010 to James Hart Jr.

"I have 14 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, plus all my children here at the hospital!" Hart chuckled.

Hart shared memories of holiday dinners served by doctors, the silver dollars they were given as gifts, family picnics and staff members she had worked with throughout the years.

"I remember one night when my shift was about to be over at 11 p.m. and a lady came up to me who was hurt," shared Hart. "The lady told me to get Dr. Kerr, she had been stabbed. Not even thinking, I said over the PA system for everyone to hear, 'Dr. Kerr, come to the ER, a lady has been stabbed!' Lucky for me, Dr. Kerr was very patient with me and pulled me aside to tell me that I shouldn't make announcements like that over the PA system. I did a lot of foolish things back then!"

During Hart's tenure, she experienced several unforgettable events, such as the bomb threats in the '60s, a train derailment in the '70s and - most notable - the devastating tornadoes in 2006. While that spring was a sad time for Dyer County residents, it was also a time when our entire community came together to help one another.

"That Monday morning was the worst day I have ever worked," Hart said. "The hospital, city, churches, schools, everyone, showed their support for our grieving community. We were all family that day."

When asked what her fondest memory is, Hart sorted through years of memories when her eyes lit up and she said, "My youngest son was born at this hospital. That was pretty special."

While there was difficulty picking her fondest memory she was quick to say how much she loves all of the employees, doctors and especially the volunteers. It is these people that she will miss most after she retires.

Hart's plans for retirement include fishing with her husband, vacationing at her family farm in Murray, Ky. and spending more time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

"Ms. Hazel has been like a mother to us all," stated DRMC CEO Ben Youree. "Each morning, I have been greeted with a big smile and hug. She has always been cheerful and full of energy. She will definitely be missed."

A farewell reception is planned for Hart from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, in the DRMC cafeteria located on the ground floor of the hospital.

Members of the community are welcome to attend.

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Congratulations Mrs. Hazel. I really don't know you personally, but I will miss that little voice that said, "Dyersburg Regional Medical Center," when I call the hospital now. May God Bless

-- Posted by M1234 on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 9:11 PM

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