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Merritt named ERMC Employee of Year

News Editor

Employees of Edge Regional Medical Center lined up to give a congratulatory hug to the 1999 Employee of the Year James Merritt.

Merritt said he was surprised when they called his name as the ERMC Employee of the Year.

"I was very moved," he said. "I came as a big shock to me."

Merritt serves as Environmental Services Supervisor at ERMC, and has been employed at the hospital for more than 30 years.

"Before I came to work at the hospital I worked on a chicken farm," Merritt said. "The man I worked for said he wouldn’t be in the chicken farm business forever, but he had heard the hospital was hiring."

Merritt said he went to the hospital and applied for a job and soon began work. He began his employment at the hospital in 1969, which proceeds the date the hospital originally opened. Sharon M. Mikell, Human Resource director of ERMC, said James came to the hospital a month early in order to clean the hospital to accept patients.

A 30-year committment to the hospital is something to be proud of, and Merritt said he has seen a lot of changes and improvements in the hospital including new wings and other additions to the hospital. But he said his favorite part of his job is the people he comes in contact with everyday, and the fact that he is able to come to work each day.

"I enjoy meeting different people and working with the people at the hospital," he said. "When I was young I didn’t think that I would be able to work. Two people I have supervised have retired before me."

Merritt is a hard worker and tries to instill the value of hard work in his children.

"Everything I try to do I try to do the best with it," he said. "I try to teach my children the same thing."

Mikell described Merritt as a hard working and dedicated employee, who is well respected throughout the hospital.

"To some he is known as the hardest working employee at ERMC," said Mikell. "He is always available to provide help or assistance to others. He has a can-do attitude and is a team player. He always promotes a positive image of the hospital.

"James is dependable, reliable and always willing to provide assistance. He is always here. During the recent JCAHO audit, he was seen at all times of the day and night. He was here at the hospital for New Year’s Eve in preparation for Y2K."

Before being named ERMC Employee of the Year, Merritt was named Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter. He also received honorable mentions for each of the first three quarters in 1999.

Being named the ERMC 1999 Employee of the Year has many fringe benefits for Merritt. He was presented with a plaque, a personal parking space for a year, free meals in the hospital cafeteria for a year and a trip for two to Nashville, Tennessee, which he said he intends to take his wife along.

Merritt lives between Goshen and Luverne with wife of 21 years, Alfreda Merritt, whom he met at the hospital while she was visiting someone.

"I enjoy working in Troy," Merritt said. "It’s only a 15-minute drive and it’s worth it."

The Merritts have two grown children Jamie, 19, and Jennifer, 18. Merritt’s wife is employed at Pike County Elementary School and they attend Macedonia CME Church on Ansley Road near Goshen.