The serene man with a gentle smile preparing a patient’s favorite lunchtime ham and swiss on rye is one of La Hacienda’s senior employees and a key member of the team.
His dining room customer probably does not know it, but many hours earlier in the morning darkness Chef Ignacio Alva arrived at the dining hall to make their breakfast.
That’s his favorite meal to prepare, says Ignacio, who recently received his 30-year service award.
A Model Employee
The award ceremony in Executive Director Art VanDivier’s office was brief, with the owners and a few staff present. Pandemic precautions prevented others from attending, but when Ignacio arrived, he still received an ovation and cheers.
“A genuinely nice person,” “reliable”, “a model employee” they said of Ignacio. They also noted that behind his reserved nature, there is a great sense of humor.
Ignacio started at an entry-level position, as a dishwasher, and steadily worked his way up to chef. He is also the reigning champion of the annual staff salsa-making contest.
Breakfast Will be Served
Art emphasized the importance of the co-worker who is there when needed. “It doesn’t matter if the Guadalupe River is flooding or we’re enduring a Central Texas heat wave, Ignacio can be counted on to provide meals for patients and staff.”
Nutritional Services Director Stan Mosel, who has worked in food service for decades, agrees.
“He is a heck of an employee. I never have to worry that breakfast will be ready.”
Long-Term Staff Honored
Serving decades at La Hacienda is not unusual. Other staff members honored last month were:
20 Years – Sandra Nunez, Admission/Financial Coordinator; Pamela Rogers, Unit Clerk
10 years – Debra Hughes, Case Manager, Adult Program; Steven Marcee, Case Manager, Adult Program; Beth McCurdy, SCU Detox Counselor; Rhonda Moon, Collection/Billing Specialist; Robin Lacey, Receptionist, Human Resources