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Updated: 05/01/2014 04:06:06PM

Longtime Frostproof health care worker calling it a career

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“How can I help you, my darling?”

This is how Elvia Vickery greeted everyone she worked with during her nearly 40-year career at Florida Central Healthcare, from which she will soon retire.

Regardless of whether they were a co-worker or a subordinate, Vickery was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.

If anyone needed her help, she offered it. If anything needed to be done, she went the extra mile to get it done, and did so without a single complaint.

Several years ago, for example, when the company was switching over to its latest Frostproof location, the transition required all of the electronic records and new operating system to be operational by Monday morning.

Mattie Malloy and the other workers responsible for this transition were still working on the system the previous day, and yet, even when it was time for Vickery to leave, she remained with them to ensure the system was operational come the following morning.

Malloy, along with Elvia and Gaye Williams, were the three women who have been with the company since its start, and the chemistry they share with one another is more akin to sisters than co-workers.

“Elvia is an excellent team player,” Malloy said. “She believes in getting the job done, and will stay and work right along with you until the job is completed. That is the type of person she is.”

“I’ve not seen anyone like her in my years of working,” said Center Manager Tina Knight. “She is totally sold out to the job that she does [and] to the company.”

If a co-worker was unable to come to work that day, even if it was a position lower than her own, she was more than willing to stop what she was doing, get out of her own chair, and fill in for that person to ensure that patient care was covered, her friend and co-worker Gaye Williams said.

Her go-to attitude and cooperative personality has been the key to her four-decade-long success, and will be the aspect her co-workers will miss most once she retires at the end of this week.

Elvia started working for CFHS in 1974, when it was originally Florida Rural Health Services. Started in 1972, this private, nonprofit health corporation was a result of Coca-Cola’s efforts to provide health care to its foreign workers and others within the community who lacked health care.

The organization has since expanded its services throughout the area with “one-stop” centers in cities like Frostproof, Avon Park, Wachula, Dundee, Winter Haven, Lakeland, and Mulberry. These health care centers provide a myriad of quality medical and dental care services, regardless of the income, ability to pay, or language of those who require them.

Elvia started her career in 1974 as a receptionist, later ascending the career ladder through various other positions including building supervisor, medical records, up to her current position as center supervisor for Frostproof.

As center supervisor, she oversees the front office staff. Her duties include overseeing patients, answering phone calls, paying bills, and helping obtain accreditation for the center.

Currently, she works with medical records, ensuring that all patient information is electronically input into the system, to which it had transitioned from a paper to electronic records in August 2010.

Especially beneficial has been her bilingual tongue, which has allowed her to work with patients and co-workers alike, regardless of their language.

“To me, Elvia is a special person, and I am so thankful that the Lord put her in my life, and I love her dearly,” Malloy said.

Vickery plans on enjoying her retirement spending time with her husband and family, most of whom reside in Mexico.

However, her closeness with her co-workers will make it all the harder for the company to cope with her absence, with her personality and expertise having truly made her an indispensable employee.

“They are going to miss having a dependable employee that would go the extra mile that they would truly miss,” Williams said.

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