So Long 2016...WOW, What A Year!

Written by: Chef Cary Neff on December 30, 2016


Chef Cary Neff leads the MHC Culinary Team
Chef Cary Neff leads the MHC Culinary Team

As we look back at the trials, tribulations and big moments that took place throughout the U.S., one might sum up 2016 as an “emotional and opportunistic” year for our country. And while instability and turmoil continued to reach across the world, we grappled at home with our set of daily challenges that tested our faith and brotherhood.

Despite the uncertainty, we took the opportunity to celebrate the heroic actions and triumphs of countless individuals.  There are obvious heroes like the brave men and women in our military who serve and protect our great nation, as well as the first responders who courageously risk their lives to save others. But I’m also humbled by the stories of everyday people and caring co-workers who go above and beyond by giving that extra 1% to serve and make a huge difference.

It’s the “How Can I do More?” attitude that drove semi-pro cyclist, Craig Dodson, to start the Richmond Cycling Corps. His nonprofit creates and coaches cycling teams for the most at-risk children living in Richmond, Virginia’s housing projects. It’s the question “What if we could start over again?” that motivated Liz McCartney to help Hurricane Katrina victims rebuild their homes. She co-founded the St. Bernard Project, now called SBP, in 2006 and has rebuilt nearly 1,200 homes across the U.S.

And it’s also the “Quest to give 1% more” that fuels our Morrison Healthcare team members to use the Power of Food to comfort and heal patients and their families in the hospitals and health systems we proudly serve. 

Just like our team at Inova Fairfax Hospital who provided a dying patient and his family with a comforting meal so they could share an endearing moment, taste memories and celebrate life together!  Through the strong relationships that Food and Nutrition Services Director David Iannamico and his team built with the hospital’s Nursing staff, they learned a terminal cancer patient was in the final stages and had no further meal restrictions. Iannamico went to the patient’s bedside and asked about his favorite meal. The patient responded by describing his wife’s pot roast with tender beef, rich gravy and lots of potatoes. 

The culinary quickly team went to work creating the entire meal from scratch, which started with running out to a local grocer to select the best-looking prime rib roast. Now imagine the care, the love and the passion that went into preparing and serving this simple, yet oh so important pot roast to the patient and his family!  The team ultimately provided more than just a meal as it became the family’s final opportunity to laugh, share stories and fond memories with each other. The patient passed away several hours later that same night, and the family members applauded the team for what they deemed a heroic act of kindness. There is no doubt the Power Of Food was unleashed at Inova Fairfax on that special day through the careful attention of our patient services manager, director, chef, cooks and catering associates.

Just like so many others who rise to meet life’s challenges, Morrison Healthcare associates also ask themselves “How I can do more?” and “What if we can start over again?” They, too, strive to give 1% more in the hopes of bettering the lives of their patients each and every day. 

It’s why we do what we do in healthcare food service and embrace the honor of providing patients and their families with wellness tools and communion through the Power of Food.

Cary Neff