Marlaina Verraes – Celebrating 30 Years of Employment at Jefferson Healthcare

It is not often that we have the opportunity to acknowledge a career anniversary of 30 years. Our great friend Marlaina Verraes has officially reached this milestone, and we celebrate her. Born and raised in Washington, and a graduate of Port Townsend High School, Marlaina officially began her career with Jefferson Healthcare in 1991, after years of volunteering at the hospital. Today, she’s an integral part of the hospital staff and recognized by her peers for her excellent work ethics and positive attitude. Below, Marlaina tells us her story of finding a job and what the position means to her.

How did you get involved with Jefferson Healthcare?

Marlaina: “When I went to Port Townsend High School, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Jefferson Healthcare in the main hospital. I loved volunteering at the hospital! My mama said that she had never seen me smile so much as when I came home from volunteering at the hospital. My mama went to the hospital and talked with a few staff members in a couple of departments to see if there might be a part-time job for me after I graduated from high school. My mama didn’t want me to get bored staying at home and she knew that I always smiled when I was at the hospital. My mama set up my job at Jefferson Healthcare. I started getting paid for my work on November 4, 1991. That was 30 years ago!” 

What do you do for Jefferson Healthcare?

Marlaina: “I deliver the mail! I have a title, I’m an In-House Mail Courier. I start my day by sorting the mail that is delivered to the Main Hospital. I place the mail in the mailboxes of the staff member or department that it is addressed to. I personally deliver inner office mail to Oncology, Orthopedics, Occupational Therapy, and Human Resources. Sometimes the envelopes that I hand deliver are large! I also stuff a large, locked bin with items that need to be shredded.”

What is your favorite part about your job?

Marlaina: “EVERYTHING! I love my work. I love seeing my friends that also work at the hospital. I have made so many friends over the past 30 years. Some of my friends have retired and I still see them downtown. One time I couldn’t work for two months and I was very sad. I was so sad that I couldn’t be at the hospital for my M-F shifts. My life felt empty. I’m so glad I’m back at work. I love my job!”

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Marlaina: “I like to listen to Country Music! I especially love going to Country Music Concerts! I like the singer, Amanda Lynn Bacon! Amanda has written letters to me and signed photos for me. I like to explore my community and talk to friends downtown. I like to go to Concert on the Dock and see people dancing. I love my family. I like to go to Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s. I love to eat Mexican Food!”

An Example of Peak Teamwork

Partnerships like the one between Cascade Community Connections and Jefferson Healthcare are central to providing inclusive employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. We are thankful for Jefferson Healthcare’s commitment to hiring qualified individuals regardless of physical ability, sex, gender or religion.

Marcia Myers, a Supported Employment Specialist for Cascade and job coach to Marlaina, has seen first hand the impact Marlaina has had on Jefferson Healthcare, and vice versa:

“I am inspired by Marlaina daily! One of the biggest benefits of a coworker who inspires and motivates is a happier work environment. Every time I work with Marlaina on a shift I witness Marlaina’s ability to inspire her co-workers at the hospital. As Marlaina enters through the front doors of the hospital she greets everyone that she encounters with an infectious smile and giggle. Marlaina glows with a bright, illuminating energy that inspires everyone she meets.

Marlaina’s mail courier position at the hospital infuses staff members with positivity and a feeling of community as she delivers in-house mail to multiple departments. Marlaina has an innate ability to maximize the positive and minimize the negative. She has an extremely strong work ethic, is organized, and systematic. Staff members at the hospital recognize and celebrate Marlaina for her abilities and not her disability. That’s what inspires me about Marlaina.”