Faithful Servant WWGH Recognizes Medical Technician for Living the Hospital's Mission

December 01, 2006

Most days, Tomi Horn doesn’t feel like a missionary.

For the past 25 years, this 2006 Mission Achievement Award recipient has served as a central processing technician at Walla Walla General Hospital (WWGH), the Adventist Health hospital in Walla Walla, Wash. She sterilizes medical equipment and prepares instruments in the surgical suites. Virtually anything used in patient care is first cleaned and disinfected by Tomi.

It’s tough, important work helping keep surgery patients, and the hospital itself, infection free. But her job doesn’t allow many opportunities to interact with those she serves. Still, in her own quiet way, Tomi stands out.

In honoring her with this award, hospital CEO Morre Dean acknowledges Tomi’s commitment to quality work, her giving spirit and her unwavering dedication to serving God by serving patients. “And then there’s that smile of hers,” he adds. “Outstanding.”

And he’s right. It’s one of those unforgettable, make-your-day smiles.

Tomi’s professionalism tells you her work matters; her smile lets you know you matter. It’s a compelling combination—one that reflects WWGH’s mission of restoring peace, hope and health as Christ did.

“She has a very spiritual aspect to her work,” says co-worker and same-day surgery coordinator Lauri Rootvik. “She’s like the behind-the-lines warrior who just calmly and humbly does her job, day in and day out. Whatever her hand finds to do, she does to the glory of God.”

Tomi’s path to Christianity and WWGH started on the Japanese island of Okinawa where she was born and raised. Like many Okinawan families, hers practiced a religion rooted in supernatural spirits, Shamanism and ancestor worship.

As a teen, a Christian broadcast on the island’s only radio station caught her attention. Tomi was intrigued and sent away for a Bible study correspondence course being offered. “I knew God lived in heaven, and I longed to do right,” she recalls.

“What I learned stayed in my heart.”

She married an American soldier and the two attended a Christian church on the island. Her husband’s father was a Seventh-day Adventist, and when the couple moved to the U.S., Tomi became interested in the church’s teachings. “I wanted to follow the Bible and the Bible only,” she says. Soon she was baptized.

Today, her faith is inseparable from her work and she draws daily strength from the words of her favorite Bible text, Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”

Over the past 25 years, Tomi’s seen it all. She’s witnessed massive technological advances and weathered many changes in health care. Through it all, she’s felt God’s leading, both in her own life and at WWGH. “This is a place that believes in prayer,” she says. “That’s why I always come back.”

She admits that being recognized for mission achievement still baffles and amazes her. “I don’t work directly with patients,” she says. “But my prayer is that everyone somehow sees Christ in me. In that way, I know I’m contributing.”