Hinsdale, IL – Adventist Hinsdale Hospital will recognize Lee Stapel for 45 years of service at a ceremony Thursday, April 17. Stapel, director of plant operations, is the longest-serving employee in the Adventist Midwest Health system. He will be honored with other longtime employees at 6 p.m. at Esplanade Lakes by Doubletree in Dowers Grove.
“The Christian philosophy of being dedicated to helping others has kept me here at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital,” Stapel said. “It takes a team to provide quality health care. The clinical staff treats patients, but it’s my responsibility to provide a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff.”
Todd Werner, CEO of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, praised Stapel for his work.
“We are so proud of Lee for his longstanding commitment to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s mission of providing whole-person care and promoting wellness,” Werner said.
Stapel has worn many hats since arriving at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital as a high school student mowing lawns in the summer of 1962. At the time, his father was the director of plant operations, back then known as the boiler room. His mother worked in the cafeteria, and it was a given that young Lee would join his family at the hospitals during summers off from Broadview Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist high school in La Fox that closed its doors in 2007. Stapel, a brand-new employee, remembers admiring an engineer who was being honored for 50 years of service to the hospital.
“At that time, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could spend 50 years at the same place?’” Stapel said. “Well, I’ve almost made it that far.”
At school, part of Stapel’s studies included going to school for half a day and working the other half. He cleaned the insides of boilers, and helped wire a new addition to the girl’s dormitory for electricity. After graduating from Broadview Academy, Stapel enrolled in the electrician certification program at Coyne Electrical Institute, graduating in 1965. Then he came home to Hinsdale.
The early years were spent as an electrician. He became a paid, on-call firefighter for the village, a post he would hold for 20 years. In 1982, Stapel offered to take weekend pager coverage for the hospital’s fire prevention safety officer, who desperately needed some time off.
Eventually, Stapel worked the first half of the day as the hospital’s fire prevention and safety officer, then changed clothes to complete the day doing maintenance work. He became a full-time fire prevention and safety officer in 1984. In 1986, he became director of security and in 2005, he landed in his father’s footsteps as director of plant operations.
“I’ve got very good people that work with me,” Stapel said. “From day one, we’ve never had a fire that has caused serious damage or injury. I’m very proud of that.”
Stapel and his wife live in Hinsdale. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.