50 Years – Half a Century of Service
In 1969, when he was 17 years old, William Brantley got off the school bus in front of Prattville Baptist Hospital to start his job as a new dishwasher. Fifty years later, he’s still there, working as a cook and enjoying the friendship of his co-workers while serving patients and café guests.
William fondly recalls those early days. As a teenager, he sought a job in the hospital’s kitchen. Not only was he hired, he was asked to report on that evening for his first day of work. From the start, he knew he had discovered a special place. Carrie McQueen, the person who hired him, wouldn’t let William start his job until he finished his homework and emptied the trash.
William also enjoyed cooking. He started learning more about food, recipes and menus. After working as a dishwasher through his high school days, he became a server and delivered meals to patients. He continued learning more about cooking, and after a few years, he became a full-time cook on the weekends. He worked every possible shift and eventually had his own full-time shift for a decade.
Over the years, he developed a special dish: cornbread dressing, which he prepares for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. “I don’t use sage and there’s no salt in my cream of chicken soup,” William says. “I just started making it my way, and that turned out to be the best.”
Everyone else seems to think so too.
He has been a staple at the hospital’s special events for as long as anyone can remember, including employee meals and the annual hospital employees’ Alabama and Auburn football tailgate party in late November. William, an Alabama fan, screams “Roll Tide” throughout the entire football season.
While he took part-time jobs at other companies over the years, when asked why he has stayed loyal to one for 50 years, William’s answer is simple: good people make the difference.
“I love coming to work. As soon as I enter the front door and hear the first person say ‘good morning, William, how are you doing today?’ my day has been made because I know that family is all around me. I love my co-workers here at Morrison and Prattville Baptist.”
William’s supervisor, Lashandra (Coco) Love, knows William well – he trained her when she joined Morrison more than a decade ago. “My first job was as a cook, and he was my trainer,” she recalls. “William would come in during evenings and weekends to teach me how to make specific dishes and show me his recipes.”
William continues to share his knowledge with other new associates, including the last two new cooks, “He’s worked every position in the kitchen,” says Lashandra, “and he knows all of the different menus and how to cook for patients with [different] diets. Any new associate will learn all they need to know from William.”
William’s heart is in his work, and it has given him the strength to continue working part-time while undergoing treatment at the hospital for cancer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He normally walks to work every day, but one of his sisters now drives him to work on many days to help preserve his strength. Despite his health setback, he doesn’t plan to retire soon.
If he ever does retire, William will likely spend his “extra time” cooking, fishing and enjoying his family. He certainly won’t ever be lonely – he has 12 brothers and sisters and several nephews and nieces. But until that day comes, he will continue cooking for hospital patients and guests.
“He’s one of the best workers I’ve ever had, and he’s a wonderful mentor to any new associate,” Lashandra says. “And since no one can duplicate his cornbread dressing, he’ll need to stay here so more people can enjoy it for many more years to come.”
It’s not many who can claim, as William can, that he and his cornbread dressing have become a legend. After 50 years of service, he more than deserves that honor.
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Morrison is a Compass One Healthcare operating division within Compass Group and has more than 1,200 registered dietitians, 300 executive chefs, and 20,000 professional food service team members. Apply for team member or management positions in one of the best companies to work for today.