(WSVN) - Dedicating your life to a career at one place is unusual these days. But two employees at Broward Health are celebrating a lifetime of work there just in time for Broward Health Medical Center’s 85th anniversary. Karen Hensel shines the 7 Spotlight.

Steve Fredrickson (speaking on the phone): “We’ll get right on it.”

Steve Fredrickson has been getting on it at Boward Health for 50 years. He started in housekeeping when he was only 18 years old.

Steve Fredrickson: “At the time, I was making $2.42 an hour. I was delivering clean linen, and I was picking up soil then, and I was vacuuming.”

Five decades later, he’s regional manager of facility services.

Steve Fredrickson: “There’s so many different things every single day that I get involved in, just loved working there.”

Onecia Pryce has also built her career here. In 1977, she started as a nurse’s assistant in the maternity ward.

Onecia Pryce: “I was so excited!”

She’s now the unit secretary of pediatric oncology. She can’t believe how far Broward Health has come in her 47 years.

Onecia Pryce: “Where I started, it was just that little west wing area, you know, mostly – and so now, the place became this huge, gigantic place now.”

The hospital opened as Broward General on Jan. 2, 1938, in a renovated apartment building. It was the first public hospital in the county and had only 16 beds.

Shane Strum, CEO, Broward Health: “Look how dated this is now. I mean, the machines were 10 times larger.”

Broward General became Broward Health Medical Center in 2012.

President and CEO Shane Strum loves looking at the old photos.

Shane Strum: “They’re like a time capsule. You open it up, and it’s a present. We were the first NICU, the first electrocardiogram machine, first in the neurosciences.’

The hospital was also the first in the county to get an iron lung. The massive machine used suction to help patients breathe.

Shane Strum: “It used to encapsulate the entire body, right? A machine was doing all the breathing for a person. Today, all you need is a tube and a ventilator.”

Broward Health continues to grow with additional locations, medical advances and challenges.

In July of 2020, Broward Health gave 7 Investigates an exclusive look inside its COVID-19 unit.

Onecia Pryce: “I would gear up and go, you know, go to the floors, but it was scary.”

Healthcare workers on the front lines battled the virus with no vaccine to protect them.

Steve Fredrickson: “It almost takes me to the point of tears when I talk about it sometimes. Seeing the nurses go in and out of the rooms, it’s like walking into something that, if you do one thing wrong, you could get the COVID.”

Steve and Onecia say the staff held strong, which is why they want to keep coming to work every day.

Steve Fredrickson: “If I was retired, i think I’d be bored.”

Onecia Pryce: “We love each other here. It’s a lot of fun working with my peers, and I just love it.”

Broward Health’s 85th anniversary is on Monday, Jan. 2. Employees say they will be celebrating the past and looking forward to the future.

Karen Hensel, 7News.

If there’s someone or something you think we should feature, send us an email at 7spotlight@wsvn.com.

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