The year 1968 had many firsts: the first episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the first Big Mac, and the first heart transplant in the U.S.
That was also the year John Bennett started working at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood.
For 50 years, John has worked to keep the hospital safe and clean for patients in various roles, currently as a housekeeping aide. His dedication has been on display at all hours.
One night years ago, John remembers getting a call at 3 a.m. to clean up after some flooding. Thanks to the help of John and his team, that day’s treatments and procedures proceeded as planned, underscoring the vital role the Environmental Services department plays in patient care.
“I love interacting with doctors, patients, and visitors,” John says. “I know how important it is to keep the hospital clean, especially for people who are sick.”
A familiar face
At both the current Maplewood location and the original St. John’s campus in St. Paul, John made an impression.
“John has dedicated his life to this hospital,” says Laura Keithahn, Vice President of Hospital Operations at St. John’s. “He’s been a familiar face to patients and visitors, especially patients that come back over time. Sometimes people ask where John is — that shows the difference he’s made.”
“He knows the building so well, and he knows everybody in it,” says longtime coworker Ron Yoch. “This is like a home to John, and we’re all his family. It’s why he loves coming to work.”
The end of an era
John retired in August, saying he was honored to have been a part of the hospital.
“I feel lucky to have spent my entire career working in health care and being a part of helping people get better,” John says. "The secret is working with good people, and I know I've met a lot of them."