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Family tradition

Callie Wachter, 31, is about to clock into her job as a registered nurse, but first, she has to drop off her young daughters at Harrison Memorial Hospital's daycare and preschool, the same she went to when she was a kid.

Callie Wachter straightens her hair and touches up her makeup between helping brush her two daughters' teeth and adjusting their socks. It's 7 a.m.

She’s getting ready to drop the girls off at Harrison Memorial Hospital’s daycare. It’s the same place she stayed as a child, and now as a registered nurse in the cardiology clinic, she works on the same floor where she was born.

Callie's roots at the not-for-profit hospital were planted more than 60 years ago, when her now 87-year-old grandmother, Bettye Marshall, joined the staff and eventually worked her way up to director of nursing. Two of Bettye’s daughters work at the hospital: Mary Beth Slade is a respiratory therapist and director of the cardiopulmonary department; Sheila Currans is the CEO.

“It was bred into me when I was younger . . . the hospital is home to me, this is where I grew up, this is where I came every day after school when my mom was working,” Callie says. “I don’t want to be anywhere else as a nurse.”

Callie, 31, has worked at the hospital for roughly five years – in obstetrics helping deliver babies before transferring to cardiology, where  the more regular schedule helps her care for Mary Martin, 4, and Carlie, 2.

On a typical day she’ll rotate through patients, checking their blood pressure, keeping them up to date on their medicines and going over their tests until her shift ends at 4:30 p.m. and it’s time to pick the girls up and get dinner ready.

Hours later, when the recliners on the couch go up, she surrounds herself with papers and a textbook and works on the online classes she is taking to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The gene for care and hard work in the family, Callie says, comes from grandma, whose work at the hospital is carried on through six members of her family working full-time there in varying departments.

“I think we all try to be like her,” Callie says of her grandmother. “She’s always been taking care of people pretty much her whole life, and then I think watching her and wanting to be more like her, we thought nursing was probably the best way to go.”

More than 20 years after retiring, Bettye still volunteers at the hospital. She says the institution has been a big part of her life, but she never pushed the health-care profession on her family.

“I really didn’t pressure any of the girls . . .  A lot of them have gone into health care, that’s for sure, and I’m awful proud of it.”

Watching her 4-year-old great granddaughter tap the shin of a family member with a plastic reflex hammer, Bettye smiles and says, “She’s going to be a nurse.”

Every morning, Callie carries her daughter, Carlie, 2, into daycare, lowers her down and kisses her on the head before going to work.
Harrison Memorial's daycare facility is across the parking lot from the main building. Callie drives up to the employee parking lot around 8 a.m. to begin her shift.
Working in the hospital for more than five years, Callie has spent some of that time helping deliver babies in the obstetrics department. In the cardiology clinic now, she spends her days rotating through patients, checking their blood pressure, making sure they have their medicine and bringing them up to speed on their tests.
Callie Wachter is the third generation of her family to work in Harrison Memorial Hospital. It all started more than 60 years ago with her grandmother. "It was bred into me when I was younger ... the hospital is home to me, this is where I grew up," Callie says. Pausing for a family portrait (from left) are Callie's mother, Mary Beth Slade; Callie, and her grandmother, Bettye Marshall.
The family spends much of their time together, both at work and outside their jobs. Callie and her mother, Mary Beth, (left) play with Carlie, who is dressed as the Grinch for Halloween. Callie's aunt, Sheila Currans, hosts a Halloween party for the family every year.
Callie and her husband, Chase, sit down for dinner with their daughters, Carlie, 2, and Mary Martin, 4.
Before going to bed, Callie surrounds herself with papers and a textbook participating in online classes for her bachelor's degree in nursing. Chase, her husband, watches the final game of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.
Callie embraces her daughter, Carlie, minutes after waking her up around 6:45 a.m. Talking about her daughters, Callie says, "They mean the world to me and being a mother is always something I dreamed about doing, besides being a nurse."
Familly is everything to Callie. She starts her day getting her daughters ready, works alongside aunts, cousins and her mother, and ends the night in bed with Carlie and Mary Martin. "The care that I received from my mother and my grandmother really helped shape me into the mother that I am to my girls," Callie says.