In the heart of Lexington, there is Saint Joseph Hospital; in the heart of Saint Joseph Hospital, there is Johnnie Jones.
Johnnie, who has worked in environmental services for 34 years at Saint Joseph Hospital, said she has loved every moment since the day she was hired.
“Saint Joseph Hospital has always been my dream,” Johnnie said. “I had gotten laid off from my factory job, and on my way home, I passed by Saint Joseph. I thought I’d stop and put in my application. A week later, they called me to interview and I ended up getting the job. I was the happiest woman in the world.”
Nearly 35 years later, Johnnie said she feels just as elated to come to work as she was the day she started.
“This is my home,” Johnnie said. “I love the compassion, everything. It makes you feel like you’re home. This is where I’ve always wanted to be. Talking with and helping my patients, that’s my mission. Thirty-four years ago, God and I had a talk. He told me He had a job for me: He said if I take care of His, He would take care of mine. He’s never let me down, and I’ve never let Him down.”
Johnnie’s faith runs deep – she has turned to her faith for strength when faced with tribulations. When she lost two sons, she knew God would take care of her and her family.
“When God says it’s going to be alright, it’s going to be alright,” Johnnie said. “When I look at my patients and their families’ faces, I can relate. Sometimes I’ve been in the hallway and I see someone crying, I go hug them, tell them it’s going to be alright and pray with them. It seems like that lifts them up; I can feel they needed that.”
Her compassion runs deeper. Johnnie spends her shift comforting patients, their families – her role goes beyond the job description.
“About 10 years ago, a gentleman came in to the hospital, and he was as mean as a snake,” Johnnie said. “But every morning, I’d come in and say ‘Good morning.’ The last day he was there, he was sitting at the door waiting for me to come back before he left. I told him he may come in like a lion, but he was going to leave as a lamb.
“Two years later, I came back from vacation and the nurses warned me about a patient in one of the rooms. When I go in, I said ‘Good morning. How are you doing, sir?’ The man turns around and goes, ‘Woman, where have you been? I’ve been waiting to see you.’ It was him. And we had ourselves a good time. The nurses came in to the room from hearing the commotion, and I told them, ‘This was my friend.’”