New Jersey

Even at 80, One NJ Hospital Worker Hasn't Missed A Day of Work Amid COVID Pandemic

Julia Kinsey has been working at the New Brunswick hospital since the Eisenhower administration, and even after not missing a day during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has no plans to retire any time soon

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Having a hard time getting motivated to get up and go to work? Just think about Julia Kinsey — who started working the St. Peter's University Hospital kitchen during the Dwight Eisenhower administration.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when the virus was infecting many hospital workers who were treating patients, Kinsey still went to work every day. Friends and family tried to tell Kinsey to stay home, take a break, retire. But that didn't deter her, showing up for work each day without fail since the pandemic began.

"I felt that someone had to do it, so why not me?" said Kinsey. "I come to see how I can help others feel good, I put myself in their shoes and ask how I would want someone to treat me."

Kinsey started working in food services at the New Brunswick hospital 60 years ago. She loves to cook, and she met her husband Lyman there — an added perk of the job. After taking a little time off to raise their three children, Kinsey came right back and has been working as a food service supervisor ever since.

What's her secret? She says it's the work, daily prayer and a morning green juice that keep her healthy and feeling young.

"I'm not sure how you're supposed to feel when you're 80. I feel the same as I did when I was 50," Kinsey said.

The hospital's executive chef, Aatul Jain, said what Kinsey does is much more than a job for her, but rather a calling.

"You talk about inspiration? This one is a pillar of solid rock inspiration right there," Jain said.

Every tray that comes out of her kitchen is filled with nutritious food and a big helping of love, Kinsey says.

"I think coming to work keeps me going and makes me strong, and that means giving back," she said.

Kinsey said that she has appreciated all of the attention to celebrate her 60-year milestone at the hospital, and insists that she'll keep working for as long as she's able — with no plans to retire any time soon.

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