HUTCHINSON — Judy Hill and her late husband Jerry spent 42 years as food brokers and upon their retirement she searched the Hutchinson community for opportunities to volunteer. She found herself working in the Hutch Regional Gift Shop and liked it so much she decided to stay.
Judy Hill retires from Hutch Regional on Aug. 30, culminating an 18-year association with the hospital that started in 2001 as a volunteer in the hospital’s Gift Shop.
Approximately 40 members of the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center Auxiliary donate their time on a regular basis to assist with operation of the shop.
“For many families, the only thing they see on a visit to Hutchinson was the hospital’s Gift Shop,” Hill said. “To many visitors, their impression of the city was the Gift Shop. Many people who visited the store didn’t make any purchases, but shared stories about their family members being treated at the hospital. Those on duty were positive and provided encouragement to our visitors.
“Many of the volunteers have donated their time for more years than me,” Hill said. “Many volunteers have lost their spouses and the volunteers served as a support group. I, too, was a beneficiary of their support when my husband passed away in 2016.”
The Gift Shop is open Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and is closed on Sunday.
Gift Shop profits are earmarked for hospital improvements. Since 1984, nearly $1.3 million has been transferred to the Hutch Regional Auxiliary for allocation to the hospital for everything from improvements to the Birthing Center to recliners in patient rooms.
“I will miss the people at Hutch Regional at every level from the volunteers to the administrative staff,” Hill said. “I always felt like I got more than I gave in my years with the Gift Shop.”
Ken Johnson, president and CEO of Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System, said Hill took the Gift Shop to a new level of excellence. “During her association with the Gift Shop, Judy touched the lives of thousands of people who passed through Hutch Regional and, along the way, inspired hundreds of volunteers who give of their time to serve our organization. We are grateful for all she has done.”
Hill will be relocating to Kansas City, Missouri to be closer to her three children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. And top among her priorities is to find another organization to volunteer her time for another good cause.
Carla Long, who retired in April as an executive assistant for the Chief Operating Officer at Hutch Regional, is returning to work to succeed Hill as Gift Shop Manager.