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60 years strong, 80 years young

Albany Memorial honors longtime nurse Esther Rappold for decades of service

Esther Rappold, 80, hugs friends, family and coworkers at a surprise celebration for her 60 years of service as a nurse at Albany Memorial Hospital.

Esther Rappold, 80, hugs friends, family and coworkers at a surprise celebration for her 60 years of service as a nurse at Albany Memorial Hospital. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— While she was surprised by the party itself, Rappold was moved to tears when she was presented with a brand new nursing cap, which serves as a symbol for the industry’s “ageless values of dedication, wisdom, faith and honesty,” Julian said. Rappold wears her own cap every day to work, honoring the traditional look that she had sported when she began working at the hospital. Rappold was also awarded a metal parking sign to mark her own parking space, an award for her service and a free meal plan.

Albany Memorial Hospital Executive Director Glen Cooper has worked with the hospital’s parent company, St. Peter’s Health Partners, for about 12 years, and although he’s only been executive director at the hospital for one year, he said he’s gotten to know Rappold very well.

“She’s just a role model for staff with the way she interacts with the patients and how pleasant she is with coworkers,” Cooper said. “The technical side (of a hospital) is a given … but it’s the compassionate side that makes a difference.”

Rappold’s compassionate side continues outside of work, too.

“What can you say? She’s just there for everybody and everything,” Rappold’s son Chris said. “Friends, relatives, you name it. School functions, baseball games, family affairs. So many people call her Aunt Esther.”

One reason why Rappold has stayed at the hospital for so long has been because of the support of her coworkers and staff. This past December, Rappold’s husband of 57 years died. She said her patients and coworkers were “very kind and generous” to her.

Rappold works part time at the hospital now, and she’s not sure when she’ll retire.

“I’ll stay for as long as they’ll have me,” she said.

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