Carl Batchelder Honored for 40 Years of Service to North Country Hospital
A great deal has changed in the cafeteria at North Country Hospital since the hospital first opened its doors in January 1974. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication of Carl Batchelder, the only member of the cafeteria staff who was there when the first meals were served there 38 years ago.
On January 17, Carl’s co-workers in the cafeteria, and members of the hospital’s administration, recognized Carl’s 40 years of dedication to the hos-
pital, the patients it serves, and to his fellow employees. He was presented with his favorite dessert – Boston Cream Pie. He was also given a number of gifts, including a stereo, and a ceremonial plate with Carl’s favorite saying on it –“It Takes One to Know One”.
“I think you went overboard,” Carl said, obviously astonished by the outpouring of appreciation he received from his co-workers.
Carl began his hospital career on January 17, 1972 when the hospital was located on Highland Avenue in Newport. When the current hospital opened in 1974, Carl went to work in the spacious new cafeteria. He is only one of a handful of North Country employees who have worked at both hospitals. For 10 of his 40 years his mother, the now late Emma Batchelder, was his co-worker in the cafeteria.
“Carl, you really do make a difference here,” Claudio Fort said. “Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day you always make my day. Thank you for 40 years of dedication to North Country.” Claudio is the president and CEO of North Country, the fifth CEO Carl has worked under.
“He is the best employee the hospital has,” Gordon Lodewyk said. “I have been here for 10 years and he has missed only one day and that was because he was sick. I don’t know how many days he has missed in 40 years but I bet it wasn’t more than you could count on one hand.” Gordon is in charge of the cafeteria and kitchen, the seventh person to hold that position since Carl was hired.
Rhonda Bullis, the cook supervisor, the second in seniority in the cafeteria behind Carl, has worked with Carl since she was hired on September 7, 1983 – 28 years ago.
“He is a real character,” Rhonda said. “He is fun loving, a jokester, and a very dedicated employee. I think at the most he has missed five days of work in 40 years.”
After a bit of good-natured ribbing, Carl regaled his colleagues with stories of his time at the hospital.
“I never thought I’d last this long,” he said. “I had a few days when I didn’t think I’d last another day…i saw a lot of people come and go. Some people didn’t even make it through training before they quit.”
He also talked about the differences between the cafeterias in the two hospitals.
“The old hospital cafeteria only had four tables, and the kitchen there was only about a third the size as this one [at North Country],” he said. He told how the cafeteria/kitchen area was so small and crowded the dry goods were stored in the attic, and the freezers, where the frozen foods were stored, were located in the hallway.
When asked if he had any plans to retire anytime soon, Carl said, “I don’t have any plans to retire because the people here are so nice to work with.”
Carl Batchelder, Diet Aid, was honored by his co-workers for 40 years of service in Nutrition Services. Members of nutrition services staff presented Carl with special commemorative plate, a boom box, and Rhonda Bullis baked his favorite Boston Cream Pies for the party.