WDMH nurse retires after 35 years but not leaving her work family during time of need

Above, (left photo) WDMH colleagues celebrate with Reta (centre). (right photo) Reta and her husband, OPP officer Ivan Lalonde. Courtesy photos

WINCHESTER – Reta Lalonde may be retiring after 35 and a half years at WDMH, but she says she won’t really be leaving ‘her family’ during this extraordinary time. “I chose my retirement date long before COVID-19 arrived,” she says. “I’m saying farewell, but I will definitely be back to help out.”

Reta arrived at WDMH more than three decades ago with three of her nursing school classmates from St. Lawrence College in Cornwall. “We trained together, got our first jobs together, and three of us are still here,” she laughs. “We didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

Reta grew up on St. Lawrence Drive in Ingleside. When she got married, she moved across the lawn to the house next door. She and her husband Ivan have been there ever since, raising their family.

Most of Reta’s career at WDMH has been in the Medical/Surgical Unit as she loves caring for surgical patients. She worked in Obstetrics for about 15 years. She has also enjoyed teaching future caregivers. “Some of the students that I helped to train are now working at WDMH,” she says. “Things are in good hands with this next generation.” 

Reta’s colleagues are happy that she will be coming back on a casual basis in the future. Reta sums things up: “It’s the right thing to do. I’ve known some of my colleagues longer than my own children!”

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