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Betty King celebrates 40 years at switchboard

For Betty King, June 10, 2009, started much like any other day at work, but it wasn’t.

First came the florist with a huge bouquet ,and then a banner was hung. Family and friends came by with congratulations and a cake spread the word.

Forty years ago, to the day, Betty King walked into the brand new Edge Hospital in Troy, sat down at the switchboard and, in time, has become a “fixture” at the hospital.

On Wednesday, the hospital administration and staff of Troy Regional Medical Center surprised King with a 40th anniversary party and even allowed her to go first in the lunch line.

A hamburger and a smile were the tall order for King, as she was surrounded by many who have been a part of life for so many years.

Rosa Lee Boswell, who retired from Troy Regional Medical Center about three years ago, was back to celebrate with her friend. She admitted that there are days when she would like to come out of retirement and be back with her friend on familiar stomping grounds.

“Betty is where she wants to be, and I’m happy for her,” Boswell said.

Faye Lunsford, TRMC support coordinator, said everybody who knows King is happy for her.

“Everybody loves ‘Miss Betty’ and how could you not,” Lunsford said. “She is the nicest lady that you could ever know. When people walk in the hospital her friendly smile is the first thing that they see. She greets everyone in such a warm, friendly way. She is a wonderful Christian lady who really cares about people. There’s nobody like ‘Miss Betty.’ She has been an inspiration to me and to many others, too, I’m sure.”

King said she couldn’t put her feelings into words, but she was appreciative of the kindnesses shown to her on her special day.

“Forty years,” she said. “That’s a long time to be at one job, but I’m very happy here. I love my job because of the people. I get to meet so many people, and I like to think that I’ve been a help to some of them. This job has been a blessing to me. I’m blessed to have it.”

And, had it not been for the long commute to Montgomery, King might have not even applied for the job.

“I was an operator with the telephone company – one of those ‘number, please?’ operators — and I was having to drive to Montgomery every day, and that got real tiring,” she said. “I read an ad in the paper for a switchboard operator at Edge Hospital when it opened. I decided to apply. I got the job, and I’ve been here ever since. I love my job and so thankful for it.”

Retirement is not in King’s plans, short- or long-range.

“Why would I want to retire?” she said. “I love what I do. I’ll stay here until they tell me to leave, and I hope they won’t do that.”

Another anniversary party is a nice thought.

“A 50th anniversary party? … I’ll go for that,” King said, laughing.