For John and Devan Bartlett, the road to love - and to jobs with Kittitas Valley Healthcare - was paved in part by a speed bump caused by an errant dump truck driver.
Twenty one years later, the couple laughs as they recall their beginning.
They'd met in Anchorage. She worked for an eye doctor. He worked for a computer company doing work in her office. She liked his red hair; he liked just about everything about her. He arranged a lunch date, but on his way to meet her, his car was rear-ended by a dump truck at a stoplight. By the time he found a phone, she'd left the restaurant.
Undeterred, he asked her out the following night. It was Cinco de Mayo 1994. "That was the turning point of our lives," John says. "We consider it our anniversary. We never looked back and we'll be together as long as we live."
In 1996 when John took a job with a Yakima hospital Devan came with him. They married and have two children now in their teens. Over time, Yakima - his hometown - grew and lost its hometown feeling, the couple says. On trips, "we'd drive through Ellensburg and talk about how neat it would be to live and work here," Devan says.
In 2014, John traded his job as senior LAN analyst for a job as network administrator at KVH Hospital. Devan, a patient care technician who plans to become an RN, soon followed. Formerly employed in the day surgery department at the same Yakima hospital as John, she's now a patient care technician in the medical/surgical department and the birthing center at KVH Hospital.
Energized by a diversity of opportunities and training as well as an atmosphere that encourages active collaboration, Devan calls her time at KVH "a wonderful experience. Everybody here is so friendly and helpful, not just to patients but to each other," she says. "We learn from each other and we're constantly talking about how to make the patient experience better. That's where the focus is. "What I really enjoy is that KVH wants us to cross train so we're equipped to go into different areas."
It pays off - occasionally in dramatic fashion.
Case in point: a one-car rollover accident last year that sent three people to KVH Hospital where a trauma team response had been activated. Devan, who was among those called to help, recalls the calm pervading the Emergency Department that day.
"We all knew what we were supposed to do and we helped each other," she says, noting that Dede Utley, KVH emergency services director, was on hand to help coordinate the response.
Like Devan, John says teamwork and opportunity are key to the workplace climate. Former colleagues worried he might be bored in a smaller organization. Hardly, he says. "There's a lot of hats to wear and more large scale projects," Johns says.
And then there's camaraderie. "Here, you care about people more," he says. "You want to know what's going on in their lives and share what's going on in yours. With bigger organizations, you lose that closeness."