The joys of working in the Ottawa-Streator area

Don Damron, vice president of Ambulatory Services at OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center, talks about the advantages of working in north central Illinois with The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and their Mission at OSF HealthCare.

Don was born in Ottawa, Illinois, and has spent his entire professional life in the Ottawa and Streator area. The area gives him a sense of pride, and he is committed to the communities he serves.

Q: What are your top three things about working for OSF HealthCare?

A: That will be difficult, but I would have to say:

  1. Its Mission and the genuine transparency of our everyday interactions. The warm, caring nature of each of the Sisters is still alive in the organization.
  2. The ability to impact care delivery and the patient experience for my family and neighbors.
  3. Being able to work for such an accomplished and forward-moving organization while living in a great community. Plus, OSF HealthCare offers a lot of regional opportunities without the need to relocate.

Q: What makes this area special?

A: Ottawa is forward-thinking when it comes to dining, festivals and events. The city has numerous resources and opportunities for a variety of interests. And Streator has committed to moving forward for the better of the city. It offers a great sense of community pride and small-town feel.

The cities and other anchor organizations, such as the school systems, are working to make this entire area an attractive area for young people and families. And OSF HealthCare is initiating priorities for healthier communities.

Also, the communities are close to major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Rockford, the Quad Cities, Bloomington/Normal, Champaign/Urbana, Peoria and even St Louis. Great central location.

I love the fact that Ottawa offers connectivity to the Illinois and Michigan Canal trail/bike path, and Streator just opened a 40-acre mountain bike trail and received grants to fund a “greenway” system along the Vermillion River. The river systems and state parks are some of the best in the state.

It really offers many opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, fishing, kayaking and other watersports.

Q: How is living in the area?

A: The area is family friendly. I enjoy running into people I know at community events, the grocery store, youth sporting events, etc. While the people are proud and rooted, they are also accepting and welcoming to others – down-to-earth and supportive. I have had the opportunity to live in many different locations but it was clear to me that this area is where I wanted to be.

Q: How did you come to work at OSF HealthCare?

A: I was fortunate to transition from the previous hospital I worked at to OSF HealthCare when the previous health system closed the facility. The Sisters came in and committed to provide care for the communities.

Q: What do you find special about working at OSF HealthCare?

A: What sets OSF HealthCare apart is the Mission of serving with the greatest care and love. It’s a Mission that parallels my own values.

I am committed to my neighbors and have a passion for optimizing the delivery of care. And the Sisters are genuine about the care they provide the communities they serve and their Mission Partners. They do an excellent job of balancing finance and people. Plus, I’m impressed by the way OSF HealthCare has been at the front of so many health care innovations.

An example of care expressed by the Sisters was clear in a conversation I recently had with Sister Judith Ann, chairperson for OSF Healthcare, when I said I only hope to perform well enough to spend the rest of my career with OSF Healthcare, and her response was, “Well we’re lucky to have you.” And with a large genuine smile she said, “we’re going to pin you down so you can’t leave!”

There is a true warmth and caring for each Mission Partner at OSF.

Q: What impact has OSF HealthCare had on the area?

A: We have brought a regional approach to health care delivery that has not only increased sustainability but access to care, as well. In addition, our commitment to innovation is fostering new care models for rural America. It is exciting to see the increasing trust and appreciation residents are having for OSF HealthCare and our Mission.

From their innovation of providing sustainability and increasing access to care, to their commitment to the communities’ well-being outside of traditional clinical care, we are working to better the patient experience.

“I have been working between Streator and Ottawa for all of my professional career and have committed my family to the community long term,” Don said. “I hope to continue and end my professional career in this area and with OSF HealthCare,”

If you’re interested in joining Don and OSF HealthCare, visit the OSF Careers website and find out what opportunities are available in the Ottawa and Streator communities, as well the rest of Illinois and northern Michigan.

About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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Categories: Working at OSF