Despite rainy weatherand having the heat turned on in the Bulfinch tents in June, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of staff who enjoyed food and celebration June 6 during the 15th annual Operations Support Staff Day. 

“If you have ever wondered how this large, busy academic medical center runs like a well-oiled machine, the hard work and dedication you show every day is your answer,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president.

During the event – hosted by Human Resources to honor more than 4,500 dedicated operations support staff – attendees also applauded the 41 employees nominated for this year’s Ricardo Diaz Memorial Award, given in honor of a Buildings and Grounds employee who died in an accident while plowing snow at the MGH in 2003.“Ricardo made those around him appreciate their own hard work and feel good about themselves,” said Sally Mason Boemer, senior vice president of Administration and Finance. “He served as a role model to others, helping his teammates realize they were part of an extraordinary family.”

Bonnie Michelman, director of Police, Security and Outside Services, said the award presentation was especially poignant as this year’s recipient,Ambassador Rolando Mendez, knew Diaz well and exhibits many of his fine qualities. “Rolando is always welcoming, friendly, professional, compassionate and caring to all who he comes across,” she said. “He has a strong work ethic and naturally loves to help people.”

His hard work, caring attitude and dedication to being a truereflection of what the MGH stands for was cited in nominationsthat came from six different departments, Michelman said.

After receiving the award, Mendez said, “I’m very humbled. I was very surprised when they told me I had won. Hearing what people wrote about me was really touching, and I was choked up listening to it. I knew Ricardo Diaz when I was in Buildings and Grounds, so it’s a real honor and privilege to receive this award in his name.”

Mendez, who has worked at the MGH for the past 28 years, said it’s hard to believe almost three decades have passed since he first came to the hospital. “It goes by so fast – when you do something that you truly love, time flies right by. It doesn’t feel like work, it just feels natural when you are helping people. It’s a total privilege, and I love my job.”

Read more articles from the 06/09/17 Hotline issue.