WDMH salutes three retiring long-time staff members

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By Nick Seebruch
WDMH salutes three retiring long-time staff members
Karen Froats and Dawn Erickson on vacation last year.

WINCHESTER, Ontario – Together, they have a combined 104.5 years of experience in the medical field. This week, the Winchester District Memorial Hospital said goodbye to Debbie Stuart, Dawn Erickson and Karen Froats as they go off into retirement. Stuart, Erickson, and Froats have been employed for 33, 36, and 35 years respectively.

Stuart began her career in the WDMH kitchen, then became a Dietary Aide and finally, a Ward Clerk. Stuart says she enjoyed all of it.

Debbie Stuart with her late husband Eric.

“I will miss the people and the helping,” Stuart said. “I’m a problem solver and I enjoy working with patients, families, physicians, nurses – and everyone.”

Erickson and Froats have been by each others side throughout their careers and WDMH, and even before that, going back to their days as kids skating at the Winchester ice rink. They were Maids of Honour at each others weddings and will both be retiring later this month.

“We have so much fun together. We bring out the best of each other,” said Erickson.  Froats agreed: “Dawn has been my inspiration from day one because she’s such as good person. She has been an amazing role model.”

Stuart explained that COVID-19 showed the strength of those working in the medical field.

“It never stops and there is always something different,” she said. “COVID-19 has really shone a light on that. I feel for families and we’ve tried to keep them connected to their loved ones.”

Both Erickson and Froats are looking forward to their retirements and spending time together.

“As teenagers, we taught each other to drive,” said Erickson. “Karen’s mother used to say – ‘As long as you are going with Dawn, it will be OK.’  If she only knew what we were up to!”

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