“When you ask me what keeps me working at Riverside for so long, it’s because they support you. They help you pursue your career. They support my family. And honestly, they are my family. I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

GLOUCESTER, Va. – When Debbie Hudgins needed a job in 1992, Riverside was there, offering her a position as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Riverside Convalescent Center – Mathews. When she wanted to invest more in her education and return to nursing school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, Riverside supported her in that quest and was there when she returned, offering her a position at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital.

On one of the scariest nights of Hudgins’ life – when her husband went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the Emergency Department – Riverside “treated us like we were the only people in this hospital,” Hudgins said. “We were treated like family.” And when Hudgins returned home with her husband, and she requested to return to the Mathews Convalescent Center so she could be home with him at night, Riverside supported her, and her family.

“So when you ask me what keeps me working at Riverside for so long,” Hudgins said, “it’s because they support you. They help you pursue your career. They support my family. And honestly, they are my family. I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

Debbie Hudgins honored at Riverside Walter Reed Service Pin Dinner

Hudgins was among 99 people recognized Wednesday, January 31 at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital’s annual Service Pin Dinner honoring team members who have served the Middle Peninsula medical community for five or more years. 

Collectively, Hudgins and her colleagues represented 1,290 years of service, including one team member who joined Riverside 45 years ago, one who has served for forty years, three people who have been with Riverside for 35 years, seven who came on 25 years ago and 12 who had been there for more than two decades.

“The team members honored,” said Megan Crain, Riverside Vice President/Administrator of the Walter Reed Hospital, “represent the most loyal and dedicated of the 400-plus team members across the Middle Peninsula.”

“We all know folks who take on a job with great enthusiasm to do great things,” said retired gastroenterologist Richard Crowder, M.D. who serves as Chairman of the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Board of Directors. “But often they lose that excitement. People who continue to commit to an organization for 20 years or more become the bedrock of that organization and are invaluable to the pursuit of the mission. Their service enables the institution – allows us – to tender the care we give.”

Recognized for her 25 years of service, April Thornton, Certified Ophthalmic Assistant with Hampton Roads Eye Associates, said it’s easy to see how 25 years can slip by.

“The eye business, working with this team, I just love it,” Thornton said, pointing at ophthalmologist Jeanne Brooks, M.D. as the leader of the pack. “Everybody here really works really well as a team,” Brooks said. “Everybody is watching each other’s back and everybody comes together with the primary goal to meet patients’ needs.”

And by needs, Thornton said, “we mean improve their lives. My goal is always to make them laugh, make them smile and make their lives better. Eyes, it’s what we call a quality of life specialty and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else practicing it.”

April Thornton honored at Riverside Walter Reed Service Pin Dinner

“I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl,” said Trina Bishop, Registered Nurse with Home Care on the Middle Peninsula and recognized for 15 years of service. “I wanted to help people feel better. In Home Care, you get to do that and connect even more with your patients because you are caring for them in their home. You get to understand them on a whole different level. Being able to make that difference with the team I work with keeps me here, keeps me with Riverside.”


  • 40 received five-year service pins
  • 20 received 10-year service pins
  • 11 received 15-year service pins
  • 12 received 20-year service pins
  • 7 received 25-year service pins
  • 4 received 30-year service pins
  • 3 received 35-year service pins
  • 1 received 40-year service pin
  • 1 received a 45-year service pin

Total Years of Service: 1,290



Published: February 1, 2018