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Longtime St. Luke's employee surprised, honored by coworkers

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Kathy Kraatz holding employee of the month award

For surgical technologist Kathy Kraatz, it was a typical Thursday afternoon working at UnityPoint Health- St. Luke’s.  For the rest of the surgery team, it was the Thursday that their secret was about to come out.

What secret? Nearly every member of the surgical team went out of their way to nominate Kraatz for St. Luke’s Employee of the Month and she was about to be honored in a surprise ceremony.

Kraatz, the guest of honor, had no idea that dozens of surgical staff and St. Luke’s leaders were waiting for her to come to the nurses’ station in the operating area. When she came down the hall and saw everyone smiling and staring at her she giggled and said “What is this, an ambush?”

Then, she spotted Lynn Wold, St. Luke’s President and CEO, holding the St. Luke’s Employee of the Month plaque with her name on it. It was all laughs and happy tears from there.

“This is totally amazing,” exclaimed Kraatz. “I have been with St. Luke’s for 35 years. I love this place; it is the only place to work! I get to work with the most incredible people.”

On the nomination forms, coworkers described Kraatz as dedicated, knowledgeable, trustworthy, patient, helpful, hardworking and kind.

Andrea Northum, a fellow surgical technologist, says “Kathy is intellectually untouchable in surgery.”

“Kathy is a strong leader in our department and I am very proud to have her on our team. It has been great working with her over the years,” says Steve Church, director of surgery.

As the St. Luke’s Employee of the Month for May, Kraatz received a special watch from Greenberg’s Jewelers, her own premium parking space, gift cards to the St. Luke’s Glass Apple Gift Shop, The Parkview Café and a gift certificate to be used at an area restaurant. She will also have the chance to be voted as St. Luke’s Employee of the Year for 2016. That comes with a paid vacation.

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