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91-Year-Old Dedicated Employee Honored as Morris Hospital’s Fire Starter

91-Year-Old Dedicated Employee Honored as Morris Hospital’s Fire Starter
March 12, 2019 Janet Long

91-Year-Old Dedicated Employee Honored as Morris Hospital’s Fire Starter

March 12, 2019 – With 629 “likes” and “loves,” 146 comments, and a reach of over 12,400, the Facebook post announcing Morris Hospital’s February Fire Starter of the Month may be their most popular yet. Not surprising, considering the honoree was Morris Hospital Environmental Services Associate Howard Burton, an individual who is simply loved by everyone who knows him.

What makes Burton so completely loveable? In the words of his co-workers, he’s joyful, has a great attitude and never complains. He greets everyone with a friendly hello and is a blessing to work with. And at age 91, he sets an incredible example for what it means to be a hard worker.

“Howard brightens everyone’s day with his friendly personality, compassion, outgoing personality, and smile,” wrote Morris Hospital employee Jaise Reed in nominating Burton as Fire Starter of the Month. “He is more than willing to help others when it comes to easing their workload and is always willing to help without hesitation. His work ethic is beyond anything I have ever seen. He is someone I strive to be like as I progress in my career.”

Burton’s work ethic is pretty amazing. A World War II veteran, he had already worked 35 years as a farmer and 16 years as a drill operator at Caterpillar when he joined the Morris Hospital team in 1988. A full time Environmental Services Associate on the afternoon shift, he makes rounds throughout the hospital collecting dirty linen and trash. That’s what gives so many hospital employees an opportunity to know him.

“As his manager, I see Howard exemplifying the hard worker of his generation, doing the job properly and to completion,” says Cindy Stubler, Manager of Environmental Services at Morris Hospital. “He sets such an example for his department and the hospital with this strong work ethic. Howard also is the perfect gentleman, respectful and dignified.  He is the ambassador of Environmental Services.”

Indeed, nothing seems to stop Burton from reporting to work. He says he hasn’t missed a day in years and he’s never late. And that’s driving 30 miles from his home in Essex.

“I like to be doing something all the time,” Burton admits. “If I’m off work for two days, I’m anxious to get back.”

“I also like everyone I work with, and they seem to like me,” he says, adding that he has no intention of retiring. “I like to ask if everyone’s happy and give a smile.”

In early civilizations, fire starters were the individuals who had the important job of keeping the flame alive. With over 1,300 employees, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is the largest employer in Grundy County and winner of the Advisory Board Company’s 2017 Workplace of the Year award.

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