Toledo VA Clinic Employee Celebrates 36 Years of Service
For the last 36 years, Mary Cherry has served our nation’s Veterans working at the Toledo VA Clinic.
The life-long Toledo resident and Toledo Central Catholic graduate started at VA on June 1, 1987. She’s witnessed big changes at the clinic over those years, including the construction and opening of the new clinic nearly 10 years ago.
“I’ve been here longer than the furniture,” Mary jokes, sitting inside the expansive atrium of the Toledo VA Clinic.
To Mary, the clinic is more than just a workplace—it’s her extended family. As of this publication, she’s the longest serving employee at the clinic.
“Here in Toledo, it’s a big family. Even though we’re in different departments, it’s been my second family.”
The wife of a Navy Veteran and stepdaughter of an Army Veteran, Mary started at VA after applying for government jobs and passing a test to secure government employment. Her first assignment was in the File Room. That was followed by tours in Release of Information, Registration, Veteran’s Homeless Program, and Primary Care Medical Support Assistant. She’s now an MSA at the clinic’s Audiology and Physical Therapy Department.
One of Mary’s signature gestures of friendship are her handmade pens. Many employees at the clinic can be seen charting files and writing notes with pens you can’t find in any office supply store. She keeps the pens readily available with her to offer to a new employee, or as a replacement while she catches up with other friends.
Mary Cherry’s rhyming name has also become a clinic fixture of sorts for Veteran’s who’ve received care at the Toledo VA clinic for several years.
“I’ve made lots of good friends with the Veterans, they get to know your family” Mary said. “When my daughters were younger, my husband would bring them into the clinic. My girls got to know some of the Veterans, and the Veterans got to know them.”
Mary hopes to continue working at the clinic for several more years but acknowledges that retirement is not far off. Her pens serve as a reminder of her time with the clinic and as an indelible mark she’s made on Veterans and employees alike.
“I like to hope that the job I’ve done here, the friendships that I’ve made with Veterans, that has benefitted them as well,” Mary said.