Published on December 22, 2014

One of Us: St. Vincent's Richard Benjamin retires after 54 years in same job

By Charlie Patton, Florida Times-Union 

Richard Benjamin at his retirement party

Richard Benjamin enjoys the routine.

A little more than 54 years ago, on Oct. 4, 1960, Benjamin went to work in the patient transportation department at what is now called St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside. His job was to take patients who had been admitted to hospital rooms to other parts of the hospital where they would undergo tests and procedures.

On Dec. 31, Benjamin, 74, will spend his last day at St. Vincent’s. His job remains the same one he began in 1960, transporting patients to undergo tests and procedures.

Of course not everything is the same in 2014 as it was in 1960. St. Vincent’s Riverside is a lot bigger than it used. So is the patient transportation department. It was a two man department when Benjamin started. Now there are almost 20, Benjamin said. And some of those tests to which he takes the patients, like CT scans, weren’t in use 54 years ago.

But Benjamin has never stopped enjoying what he did. What has kept him going, he said, was “the love of helping people.”

“I’ve been offered other positions,” Benjamin said. “I never took any up.”

Benjamin was born and raised in Kings Ferry, a little town near the state in Nassau County. After attending high school in Callahan, he went to work in the logging industry. It was a job he didn’t much like.

So when his brother, who was working in the housekeeping department at St. Vincent’s, told Benjamin he might be able to get a job there, he moved to Jacksonville and went to work transporting patients.

Benjamin, who is married and has one son, one daughter, one grandchild and several stepchildren, said he enjoys listening to gospel music and watching old Western shows on the television. He particularly likes “The Waltons” because of the show’s “country setting.”

He hasn’t given much thought to what he’ll next, except it won’t be fishing.

“I’m too impatient to fish,” he said. “I’m going to relax for two or three months and then take it from there.”

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