Pete Haas Retires After 48 Years of Dedicated Service at Lutheran Medical Center
Last week, Pete Haas retired from Lutheran after 48 years of service. He began his career washing dishes in Lutheran’s kitchen in 1974, when he was in 11th grade. He took the job to save money to buy his first car, and never anticipated what a journey it would become.
Pete spent a year working in Environmental Services, then decided to go to community college. He continued to work weekends at the hospital and was eventually transferred to Central Distribution where he served in various roles. During this time, he got to know a lot of people who worked in the pharmacy, including the director, because he would deliver IVs to them.
It was around that time that the pharmacy needed a technician to work the 3 -11 a.m. shift. Pete took the job and stayed in that role for eight years. He transitioned into a pharmacy backup buyer role, but after a year, the full-time buyer moved to Orlando, and they offered Pete the position. He remained Lutheran’s buyer for the next 30 years.
“I love my job because the people are great and it keeps me on my toes," Pete said. “There’s only one buyer for the entire hospital and about 20 non-specialty clinics so you’re constantly busy. I honestly never thought I would stay for as long as I did. When I was working in the kitchen in high school, there was an older man named Elmer who told us he’d been there for 40 years. We thought that was hysterical. Little did I know, I would surpass him.”
Pete says the thing he likes the most about working at Lutheran is the people. He also really enjoys working for a non-profit organization. “I felt like I was helping people, even if it was in an indirect way,” he said.
Over the years, Pete formed many friendships with his fellow caregivers and had too many great times to count. In the 80s and 90s, he played on Lutheran’s intermural softball team. He’s especially proud of the time his team beat the administration team and took the third-place trophy.
“Working in the pharmacy was my first really good memory because even though I was only a technician, I worked in a department staffed by professionals and that kind of treatment trickled down,” said Pete. “I was treated better there than I’d ever been treated anywhere else. Lutheran truly is like a family.”
He prides himself on making sure the pharmacy always had the products they needed to do their job, which at times could be challenging. There were drug shortages and drugs that were hard to find, and this was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the height of the pandemic, Pete’s job intensified because there were requests to stock up on many supplies to prevent them from running out, but the pharmacy didn’t have the physical space for it. There were many items that went from being easy to acquire to strictly on an allocated basis, and it was his job to find alternatives.
“There were times we had to improvise and get creative," explained Pete. “At one point, Pfizer was unable to supply 10-milliliter vials of sterile water, which is what we use to reconstitute antibiotic vials and put them into IVs to give to patients. We ended up buying special syringes and drew sterile water out of a large bag and labeled them. It was an incredible amount of work for our technicians to do, but it was the only way to do it.”
Over the years, Pete was responsible for buying medications for all of Lutheran’s clinics, in addition to the hospital. At one point there were roughly 50 clinics, and he supplied every item they needed. He was also responsible for buying flu vaccine shots for all employees and patients at the hospital and clinics. In total, he’s charged with buying and distributing approximately 30,000 doses of the vaccine each year.
As for retirement plans, Pete has recently taken up electric guitar and is teaching himself to play. He plans to visit Moab with his wife and take daily walks and hikes with his two dogs. He’s a voracious reader and is looking forward to having more time to discover new favorite books.
“One of the things I'm most proud of is that I almost never called in sick in 48 years,” said Pete. “I really felt like it was my duty and responsibility to be here for my department because they depended on me.”
“As I prepare to leave, I would like to tell my coworkers that it’s been wonderful,” he said. “Everything they’re doing is for a greater cause, which is helping our patients and people who are in need. To quote the Grateful Dead, ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’ is an understatement. I’ve had quite the journey and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”