BEEVILLE – For the Rutab family, Christus Spohn is home.
Vilma Rutab spends her nights there as hospital house supervisor.
Her husband, Hardie Rutab, is there during the day as a respiratory therapist. Their son, likewise, works there as a phlebotomist.
This story begins with Vilma, who some 46 years ago was a registered nurse in the Philippines.
“When I was a child, the nurses were in white dress, white cap, white shoes and white socks,” she said. “I just loved it.”
That image stuck with here as she would pursue her degree.
“Of course, now we wear scrubs,” she said with a laugh.
So the attire changed, but her love of the profession hasn’t.
“I would not know what to do in another profession,” she said.
Like so many immigrants, America was seen as a country where she could better herself.
“My parents were here,” she said. “My brother was in the U.S. Navy and my parents were with him.”
He was stationed at Chase Field at the time when Vilma came to live here.
To work in her profession, she had to first pass a nursing exam, which she did. Then she was hired on at Christus Spohn here.
It took a few years, but her husband, too, made the trip to America.
Hardie had a degree in business administration at the time.
“It is difficult to find a job,” she said of his profession.
So he went to Del Mar College, opting also to enter the medical field.
He chose respiratory therapy.
“My dad has asthma, and I thought it would help if I had more knowledge about it,” he said.
As the years progressed, their family grew. Two boys, born at Christus Spohn, now scurried around the house — both needing supervision from their parents.
So Vilma took the night shift while Hardie worked days.
“We wanted to have someone home with them all the time,” she said.
Despite their children now being adults, the couple still continue their schedules.
Which is fine with the younger Hardie, their oldest child.
“When I first started here, we would work together all the time,” the younger Hardie said. “It would be funny going into a room and the patient would see our names and say, ‘There are two of you?”
The younger Hardie began his work at the hospital through the Young Medical Explorers program, which no longer exists.
“I was volunteering all around the hospital, but I really liked the lab,” the younger Hardie said. “That program really helped me decide what I wanted to do.
“That is the great feature of programs like that. Whatever your interest, you can volunteer and see what really goes on during a shift.”
He has worked at the hospital now 17 years, which would have been 22 had it not been for a five-year stint in Victoria when he was there going to college.
The fourth piece of this puzzle is Cecilia Perez, who also worked at Christus Spohn for a time and is dating the younger Hardie.
She now works at U.S. Reynal Care.
The hospital is where it all began for the Rutab family and where each continues to return.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.