“Be kind to each other”

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After a 50-year career at Riley and Methodist hospitals, Carmel Buckner has some words of advice for her colleagues and everyone else.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Carmel Buckner is tired. But it’s a good tired.

After a half-century of dedication to Riley Hospital for Children and IU Health Methodist Hospital, she retired last week, just before the ringing in of a new year.

Buckner, 72, looks forward to kicking back a little, working on some long-delayed house projects and being home for dinner with her husband. When she gets bored, she said, she might even return to school to finish her bachelor’s degree.

The EVS team member has worked second shift in housekeeping at Riley for close to 15 years. Before that, she worked for 37 years at Methodist in a variety of jobs, including certified nursing assistant, patient services, insurance verification and pre-registration.

“It feels pretty good,” Buckner said before reporting in for her last day. “I’m going to miss the people. That’s the main thing.”

People like Antionette Chapman, who describes her EVS colleague as “passionate, empathetic, loving and caring.”

“She has served the Environmental Services Department and IU Health with dedication and commitment for over 50 years,” Chapman said. “As a team, we are certainly going to miss her. Her knowledge and experience in the department are invaluable.”

Buckner learned a long time ago that hard work and a good attitude can help shape a good life. She laughs when she remembers how her mother used to send her (and her siblings) to the bathroom if any of them had a bad attitude.

“She would tell us to stay in there until we had a better attitude.”

What was the longest time she had to stay there? “Not too long,” she laughs again.

Laughter and joy come easily to Buckner. She recalls how one co-worker at Methodist told her she set the tone for the entire floor.

“When I wasn’t there, things were dull,” she said. “But when I was there, it seemed to be uplifted. I smile often and encourage people. I attribute a lot of that to my faith and my upbringing.”

Her colleagues threw a small going-away party last week, attended by Riley chaplain manager Marcos Collado and Carrie Lahr, Riley’s vice president of operations, who complimented Buckner on her “incredible career” and wished her well in retirement. All signed a large banner as a keepsake.

“Her tireless dedication and kind demeanor inspired everyone around her,” said her manager, Blayke Humphrey. And she didn’t leave before sharing a final piece of advice, telling everyone to “Be kind to each other.”

Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, mdickbernd@iuhealth.org