From hauling grain in South Dakota to becoming the CEO of a prominent hopital, Roger Seaver’s storied career ended with a tear-filled speech in front of local dignitaties, his peers and those who worked for him on Friday.
While he thanked health care administrators for the accomplishments they’ve made over the years, Seaver lauded frontline workers for their hard work and dedication, particularly during the “health care test” that was the pandemic.
“I thought it was important to say what’s in front of me right here — fantastic physicians that do great work. There’s a bigger crowd in bigger places, but nobody does it better than the team that’s working here,” said Seaver. “It’s a privilege to support the mission, to support the practitioners, to recruit the staff and to create a great environment that focuses on patients.”
Held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, the ceremony celebrating Seaver’s career featured heartfelt testimonies by those who worked closely with Seaver during his 22 years as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s CEO.
“Tonight we are honoring an industry icon, an inspirational leader and, I think we all know, a humble man for more than two decades,” said Marlee Laufer, president of the Henry Mayo Foundation and master of ceremonies for the event. “Roger Seaver has been steadfast at Henry Mayo and the accomplishments under his gentle, but very firm, guidelines will live on [at] our campus and in our community for decades to come.”
Elected officials in attendance included L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Mayor Jason Gibbs, City Councilwoman Laurene Weste, City Councilman Bill Miranda and City Councilwoman Marsha McLean.
Barger complimented Seaver’s approach to dealing with issues that required her office’s cooperation and said she appreciated the relationship that developed as a result.
“You would have been an incredible partner,” said Barger. “I cannot thank you enough for what you taught me as a policy deputy but also a supervisor. Your passion, whether it be in the emergency room, whether it be working now on addressing the issue surrounding mental health, which is long overdue… you’ve been at the forefront… It’s hard to say, ‘No’ to someone who thinks things through and then the ask is reasonable and the ask is going to benefit the entire community.”
Barger presented Seaver with a proclamation of recognition after her speech.
Gibbs, standing with his fellow City Council members present by his side, thanked Henry Mayo, and the services offered there, as they were crucial for a personal moment in his life — when his newborn daughter had to spend the first week of her life in the NICU.
“Roger, I want to thank you for your service to our community’s hospital… over the past 22 years,” said Gibbs. “Many of our residents rely on Henry Mayo for some of the most challenging times in their lives and also some of the most joyous. Whether it’s getting the exceptional care following a heart attack, or an annual mammogram or welcoming a new family member, just like myself.”
Weste acknowledged Seaver’s role in making sure the hospital kept its doors open when the hospital was forced to go into bankruptcy — a time when the hospital’s future was uncertain and that Seaver guided it through.
“I remember when we didn’t have a hospital… and I remember what you brought when Henry Mayo was in trouble,” said Weste. “And I have never known a man who is more committed, more dedicated and had a greater vision for the community and you know, from the bottom of my heart, like every single life that you have saved, thank you. God bless you. Please stay with us and do not go back to South Dakota.”
The council members also gave Seaver a certificate of recognition following their speeches.
In addition to the certificates, George Greene, president and CEO of the Hospital Association of Southern California, presented Seaver with a document proclaiming March 27 as “Roger Seaver Day.”
While unable to attend the ceremony, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, relayed the message that a proclamation regarding Seaver’s career was permanently entered into the Congressional Record.