TRMC bids farewell to icon

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mrs. Bettie King celebrated her retirement with her family and her TRMC family on Friday, including Teresa Grimes, CEO at TRMC.

Mrs. Bettie King celebrated her retirement with her family and her TRMC family on Friday, including Teresa Grimes, CEO at TRMC.

When inspirational author Shannon L. Adler penned the words, “Carve your name on hearts … a legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you,” she could have been thinking of Bettie King.

A continuous stream of co-workers, friends and family members flowed through the community room of Troy Regional Medical Center Thursday morning to expressed good wishes to King on her retirement from her 46-year career as hospital receptionist.

“Bettie is the Troy Regional Medical Center icon,” said Karen Herring, TRMC marketing. “She is loved and respected by the hospital staff and the community. She has a wonderful, warm and caring spirit. We are going to miss Bettie but she deserves this time for herself and her family. We love her. Everybody loves Miss Bettie.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

For King, Thursday was a happy day.

“I love all these people,” she said. “I love this hospital and I love this community. I wouldn’t trade these 46 years for anything.”

King came to TRMC when the doors opened in June 1969. She was one of three switchboard operators who were challenged with handling all the calls that came in that first day.

“I had 50 miles of lines to pull and plug,” King said laughing.

Max Shiver was in charge of the building and grounds, “and hauling patients from Beard’s Hospital to the new facility in the bed of a pickup truck.”

“The telephone lines were tied up all day with people calling wanting to know if the hospital was open and a hundred other things,” Shiver said. “Bettie was there smiling and taking calls. All the hospital rooms were filled and there were beds in all the halls. Bettie was working the switchboard and smiling.”

For 46 years, Bettie King put a positive face on Troy Regional Medical Center.

Bennie Jinright worked with King at the hospital for several years.

“Bettie has not changed a bit,” Jinright said. “She’s the same every day. She had the same smile and the same positive attitude in 1983 that she does today. It’s unreal how anybody can keep smiling and be that positive for that long. Nobody but Miss Bettie.”

When Dottie Black came to TRMC 11 years ago, King helped her get her feet on the ground.

“Everything was new to me and I had so many questions,” Black said. “Miss Bettie knew all the answers. She was warm and inviting. She has been my inspiration to always smile and keep a good attitude. She is so precious to me.”

With King’s retirement, TRMC has celebrated the lasting legacy of its last employee who helped open the doors of Troy’s brand new, modern hospital in 1969.

Teresa Grimes, hospital CEO, said King had meant so much to the hospital and its staff and to the community. “She was the first person most people saw when they entered the hospital,” Grimes said. “She was the smiling, friendly face of TRMC. We are going to miss her tremendously. We wish her all the best in her retirement.”