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Memories of HMC

Danny Yocom longest tenured staffer at HMC

The longest tenured employee at Hartselle Medical Center when it closed its doors on Tues., Jan. 31, was Lab Director Danny Yocom with 45 years of continuous service.

Yocom received his 45-year service pin at the conclusion of a final Service Awards Presentation ceremony for employees on Tues., Jan. 24, in the hospital cafeteria.

The ceremony honored employees with five or more years of service, with pins going to employees achieving five years of service in 2012 and in each five-year increment thereafter through 45 years.

Yocom received a standing ovation from the approximately 100 employees in attendance when his name was called and he stepped forward to accept the last pin awarded.

“It was a bittersweet moment for me,” Yocom said. “I thought I was prepared to respond—I wanted to tell my co-workers how much they mean to me—but I got choked up and decided not to try.”

Yocom’s tenure at HMC began June 20, 1966, shortly after his graduation from Gradwohl School of Medical Technology in St. Louis, Mo.

HMC Lab Director Danny Yocom, left, receives a 45-year service pin from Administrative Assistant Stephanie Pitts. | Clif Knight

“The hospital had 58 beds back then and more often than not beds were set up in the hallways to accommodate the heavy patient load,” he recalled. “Medicare didn’t kick in until Oct. 1 of that year and all lab work was done manually.

“Ronald Sparkman was the administrator and Sam Gugliotta was the lab director. The two of them hired me, and I was pleased they were able to be there when I got my 45-year pin.”

Yocom was promoted director of the lab in 1979 and guided it through technological changes that made it one of the best in the business.

“The lab had state-of-the–art equipment and was fully automated,” he stated. “I’d put its work up against anybody’s.”

“I was frustrated about the hospital’s closing like everybody else,” Yocom said. “We had a good little hospital, a lot of great employees and excellent patient care. I suppose it boiled down to the fact that not enough of our people gave us a chance to take care of their medical needs.”

“The thing I’m going to miss the most is not having day-to-day contact with fellow employees, doctors and patients,” Yocom added. “I plan to continue my medical career if the right job comes along; otherwise, I’ll retire.

No matter in which direction his career takes, one thing is certain. He’ll continue to be involved in Hartselle Youth Baseball.

Yocom has coached baseball for more than 35 years, after he and his wife Brenda, a teacher at Crestline Elementary, moved to Hartselle in 1970. He coached their two sons, Scott and Jason, and has remained an active coach long after they left home and started families of their own.

Last year, Yocom coached a 7-8 team, an 11-12 team and an American Legion team. His 11-12 team won sub-district and district honors and went on to compete in a state tournament.