Touching Lives Changing Destinies

October 01, 2002 | Jere Patzer

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference—a smile from a stranger, a whispered prayer, or an unexpected kindness. Often it’s a series of small events that changes the world, not one monumental effort. And undoubtedly it’s people that make institutions great, not bricks and mortar.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve been blessed to be able to serve on Adventist Health’s Board of Directors, and throughout my tenure I’ve witnessed countless little things that, added up, have melted hearts, touched lives, and changed destinies.

Health care, like many other businesses in our country, has seen easier days. But despite the many challenges this industry faces, Adventist Health continues to be fiscally sound and to steadily move forward. Why?

I believe the answer lies in the organization’s mission of Christ-centered service and its thousands of committed employees who rely on God (not only when making business decisions, but in their everyday interactions and practices.)

You see, at Adventist Health it’s not about big business, it’s about making a difference. It’s not about building an empire, it’s about saving a life. It’s not about serving one’s self, it’s about serving others. At Adventist Health it really is all about mission.

This past year, two individuals employed at Walla Walla General Hospital—chaplain Walt Meske and nurse Becky Saranto—were the recipients of the facility’s first annual Mission Achievement Awards. The program was instituted to bring special recognition to those who go beyond the call of duty to promote the distinctive mission of the facility and recognize that mission is of utmost importance at the hospital. And I can personally attest to the compassion that was demonstrated to our family during the loss of a loved one.

Adventist Health’s mission is so pervasive that it brings many patients back to its hospitals, not only for health-related reasons, but also for employment. Such is the case with Glen Aus, a health care analyst at Adventist Medical Center, who decided he wanted to work for the Portland-based hospital after the kindness and caring he received during the traumatic loss of his son.

In the pages that follow you will read about many programs and services that are making a difference in people’s lives. You’ll discover how our Northwest hospitals are reaching out and making a big impact in their communities. And you’ll better understand what a special ministry our health care institutions have—offering healing for the body, mind, and spirit. •