Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Lisa Neisen and 25 years

 I WAS AT Blessing Health Hannibal yesterday for the noon delivery and lab pickup, and I noticed a big tent set up and people gathered, presumably to eat lunch. It was BHH's annual employee appreciation cookout, and at the urging of lab and purchasing staff, I stopped by.

Standing there, of course, was my friend for many years, Lisa Neisen. Her title is something fancy now, like Administrative Director, Corporate Communications. When you have a stray comma in your title you've either been at the job for a while or awesome. Or, in Lisa's case, both.

Some 25 years ago, Lisa worked for Blessing PR. I joked about her writing my Herald-Whig health page stories. She laughed and said, "I don't even remember that!"

Well, I do. I can't remember what I had for breakfast, or the fact my Urology appointment was Tuesday and not Monday, or what time my skin cancer screening appointment is Friday, or when my latest credit card payment is due.

But I remember Lisa and her fellow staff members Steve Felde, Jenn Drott and Emily Robbearts. I think Ann Awerkamp Dickson was their boss. They worked out of the old St. Mary's Hospital Building on Vermont Street. Now it's just a big field - I think they put a plaque where Steve used to sit with the inscription "STEVE DID SOMETHING HERE."

I remember them mostly because they were very kind and patient when dealing with a nervous new reporter. In 1999, I switched over to the news side from sports and jumped into a whole new world. I was put on the health beat, and the Blessing PR staff made it easy and helped me navigate through an often confusing and intimidating time.

I always looked forward to meeting with them and figuring out stuff. If I needed something, they always delivered. 

I still see Steve wandering around the Blessing hallways. I think Ann and Jenn still work for Blessing, too. But I mostly see Lisa. She's usually holding a clipboard and going or coming from a meeting. The years have been very kind to her, much like she was kind to a clueless former sports guy a quarter century ago.

All these years later, I'm spinning around in circles for the same place I used to write stories about. It's proof that awesome people like Lisa are the ones who make the world go around.

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