Published on December 23, 2014

Patient transporter retires after 54 years

In 1960, the average cost of a new home was $16,500. A dozen eggs would cost you 57 cents and a gallon of milk would set you back 49 cents. The average cost of a gallon of gas was 31 cents. 

Just a few weeks before Senator John F. Kennedy would find out he'd become America's next president, in October of 1960, 20-year-old Walter "Richard" Benjamin became St. Vincent's Riverside's newest patient transporter. Now, after 54 years in the same position, Benjamin is retiring.

“It’s something I love to do. I have compassion for my patients and I think they feel the same way about me,” he said. “A lot of times I meet patients that were here years ago and they come in and remember me.” 

Benjamin was born in Nassau County more than 70 years ago, in a tiny town that might be tough to find on a current map.

"When I first came, I came from the country," Benjamin said. "I didn't have any intention of being here this long. I kept coming back every day. Kept coming back. Lo and behold, here I am."

Benjamin was honored for his time at St. Vincent's with a retirement celebration just before Christmas. Dozens of friends, family and colleagues gathered to celebrate his dedication to St. Vincent's and our Mission.

"Richard will be missed," said Clinical Manager of Radiology Support Jill Nelson. "We cannot thank him enough for his years of service to the hospital."

CEO Moody Chisholm presented Benjamin with a watch as a token of appreciation on behalf of the health system. He also thanked Benjamin for his hard work and wished him well in retirement. 

"If you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life," said Benjamin. "I hope people will remember me as a person who was loving, giving and respectful. It's good that people remember you because of the good things you do."

Benjamin plans to spend his retirement relaxing and connecting with loved ones. 

"I'll be spending time with my granddaughter and I'll be spending time with the family," he said. "They always support me. When I decided it was time to go, they supported me."

Benjamin says there's one thing in particular he will not be doing in retirement: Fishing. 

"A lot of people ask me that question, but I never liked to fish," he said. "I didn't have the patience for it."