Published on March 01, 2019

Reese Retires After 44-Year Hospital Career

WEST POINT, Miss.—Laboratory assistant Debra Reese has retired after 44 years with North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point.

A 1974 graduate of West Point High School, Reese completed ward clerk training at East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew. She joined the staff of Ivy Memorial Hospital—the forerunner to NMMC-West Point—as a ward clerk on Feb. 26, 1975. She transferred to the Laboratory in 1981 and was certified as a phlebotomist in 1991.

Because of the Laboratory’s location inside the hospital, Reese came into contact with many patients and visitors, even if they weren’t coming to the Laboratory. “I’m a people person and I love helping people,” she said. “If I saw them looking both directions, I’d always ask if I could help them find their way.” In the early years, ward clerks filled in to register patients in the Emergency Department. At least once, this task worked in Reese’s favor.

“One Sunday when I was working back in 1975, my coworker looked up and said, ‘You might want to get this one, so I did,’” Reese said. “That’s how I met my husband, Jerry. He had hurt his arm at work and came to the ER, and I registered him.” After she called his home to check on him, they started dating and have been married since 1977.

During her tenure Reese was honored as Employee of the Quarter in 2005. She was also named an NMMC All Star twice, in 2004 and 2013. She maintained perfect attendance at work for several years as well.

Reese intended to work a few more years but said a “life-changing” car accident on Aug. 3, 2018, forced her to retire earlier than planned. For several months after the accident she was on the receiving end of health care, including back surgery in November and physical therapy through January.

Since retiring, Reese has certainly missed her coworkers. “This place is like family,” she said. “We’re here more than we are at home.” The Reeses have a son, Jerry Derrell Reese of Okolona, a daughter Temeka Danyale Reese of West Point, and six grandchildren.

She also enjoys working puzzles, knitting and sewing. The Reeses attend Baptist Grove M.B. Church in Prairie.

Debra Reese Coworkers celebrated laboratory assistant Debra Reese, pictured here with husband Jerry, during a retirement party in her honor Feb. 21 at NMMC-West Point.

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