At Valley Children’s Healthcare, COVID-19 has been on our minds and hearts since early 2020. It has been something we have prepared for—something we have supported each other through—something we have watched our patients and their families struggle with—and, in some cases, walked alongside our own families and friends as we have dealt with the virus in very personal ways.
We have also learned that with hard work, there were some things about the virus we could control— we have been able to slow the spread, keep our staff safe from hospital-based transmission, and provide care and support for our team and their families.
But we have not fully been able to insulate ourselves from the impacts of the virus on our lives, our families, and our communities.
And our Valley Children’s family is no exception.
It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of Dennis Yee from COVID-19 on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. He was 63 years old.
Dennis joined Valley Children’s as a recruiter in 2001. He came to our organization with a heart for our mission, for the patients and families we serve and for those he carefully recruited to join our team—knowing that the impact of every single person he worked to bring to Valley Children’s was going to touch the lives of our kids.
Dennis was always optimistic, cheerful, genuinely interested in those around him and found a way to connect with everyone he met. When you passed him in the hall or met him in the cafeteria and he asked how you were, he literally was interested in your answer—and would be the first to offer help if there was something you needed.
Upon learning of Dennis’ passing, one of our team members said simply, “The world is a little less kind today.”
Over the years, Dennis recruited more than 1500 employees to Valley Children’s. Many of them are still with our team today, testimony to his skill, his ability to convey our mission and his knack for knowing who would be a good fit for this special place. Many have shared stories about how their lives—and not just their professional lives—were changed because of that first connection to Dennis and to our organization—they moved here, met future partners, had children—all because Dennis’ love for our organization and our kids was contagious and they have never looked back after moving here.
Dennis’ search for the best to join our team took him to every corner of the US and Canada—his office is famous for the bulletin board with a postcard from every place he travelled in search of future Valley Children’s team members. Even while recruiting from home since March, Dennis continued to ‘collect’ locations of the places where he connected with future Valley Children’s team members—but the postcards just weren’t as easy to gather!
Dennis loved Valley Children’s and the work he did here. Ever the recruiter, his friends and family shared that even while hospitalized, he had an eye out for future employees, asking respiratory therapists or nurses caring for him about their interests and encouraging them (only the VERY best ones, of course!) to consider a move to our organization.
It is said that success is leaving a place better than when you found it. Dennis clearly left Valley Children’s better than when he arrived 20 years ago—and, for that, we will always be grateful.