On Wednesday, April 5, Kaweah Health recognized the lives of three team members during its third annual celebration of life in Visalia. The annual gathering is a chance to honor, celebrate, and memorialize Kaweah Health team members who passed away while they were actively employed (employees, physicians, or providers) in the previous year.
“While families have funerals and burials, employees sometimes have no outlet to express their grief and to remember and honor those who were a part of their work families,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer, noting that the event was started by the Kaweah Health Employee Connection Committee. “This helps us to never forget them and what they meant to the Kaweah Health organization and our community.”
During the ceremony, the names of three lost team members were read, followed by a moment of silence, and the unveiling of plaques with each of their names on them, now affixed to Kaweah Health’s memorial fence. Those three team members were:
- Ileane Quintana, a 29-year employee of Kaweah Health, who served as a surgical tech in Labor & Delivery
- Thomas Gilbert, a 9-year employee of Kaweah Health, who was a senior integration developer in Information Systems Services
- Summer Hopper, a 1-month employee of Kaweah Health, who was a food services worker.
After 29 years at Kaweah Health, Ileane Quintana was a valued member of the team and knew the operating rooms backward and forward, said Nurse Manager Laura Robertson. “Her expertise was amazing. She had been with us for so long that it showed in everything she did. We feel her loss on our unit and we think of her often,” she said.
Thomas Gilbert was also a valued member of Kaweah Health’s Information Systems and Services team. “He was not just a coworker, he was a very kind-hearted soul who touched so many in our lives,” said Luke Schneider, Director of ISS Application Services. “Tom had a heart of gold, his kindness knew no bounds. He was always willing to help lend a hand even when it meant putting his work aside. He lived his life with kindness, courage, compassion, humility, and he made this word a better place just by being in it with us.”
And although Summer Hopper was at Kaweah Health for a short time, she is missed and remembered, said Miguel Lopez, Food Services Supervisor. “She was very excited to start this new journey with us at Kaweah Health and we were very excited to have her join our team,” he said. “It is unfortunate how quickly and suddenly we lost her.”