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Team jokester becomes punch-line in his own joke

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It’s an ongoing joke in the UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Health Information Management Office.  Every month when the St. Luke’s Employee of the Month is announced over the hospital intercom system, Documentation Specialist Paul Barker jokingly snaps his fingers and says “Darn, didn’t win again.”

In July, the joke was on Barker.  His co-workers planned a “fake” team meeting and waited for the Employee of the Month message to be announced overhead.  Followed by the distinct clicking noise that kick off any intercom announcement were the words that Barker listened for every month.  Only this time, it was his name that started the announcement.

“Paul Barker from Health Information Management has been selected as St. Luke’s Employee of the Month for July!”

He smiled from ear-to-ear and started clapping along with the rest of his team.  That’s when several other team members who had been hiding out in the hallway, came pouring into the doorway to start the official St. Luke’s Employee of the Month ceremony.

“I was in shock,” exclaimed Barker. “This is so awesome!  This is the second time I have been named Employee of the Month. The first time was in March of 1995.”

With 36 years of hard work and dedication to St. Luke’s, his co-workers couldn’t agree more with the repeat award.

“Paul so deserves this,” says Dorrie Wilson, Director of Health Information Management. “His work has greatly impacted the hospital sustainability efforts.”

Nominated by his fellow employees, Barker is described as “knowledgeable, fun, cheerful, dedicated, and a great mentor.”

As the St. Luke’s Employee of the Month for July, Barker received a special watch from Greenberg’s Jewelers, his 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. He will also have the chance to be voted as St. Luke’s Employee of the Year for 2016. That comes with a paid vacation.