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September 30, 2014

Celebrating Pat Littlejohn's 20 years of awesomeness


When someone said it was time for the "ceremony," Terrence Kessler, President and CEO of Sisters of Charity Health System, issued a correction: No, he said; this was a celebration.

And what was being celebrated at the Inn at USC was the 20 years of service that our own Pat Littlejohn has devoted to the health system's ministries.

Pat dressed for the occasion by wearing her nametag from the '90s describing her as development coordinator of Providence Hospital Foundation, a position she held before becoming the founding executive director of the S.C. Center for Fathers and Families.

Tom Keith introduced Pat with a speech that reflected just how important Pat has been to serving Dads and others in South Carolina. 

Tom noted that in 1994, when "a young woman from Saluda, South Carolina" was hired to work for the foundation, Shannon Faulkner became the first female cadet at the Citadel (and lasted three days), "O.J. Simpson and his friend Al Cowlings fled police in his white Ford Bronco," Tonya Harding's ex-husband pled guilty for his role in attacking figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, and "Lorena Bobbitt is found not guilty by reason of insanity for... hurting her husband."

And Snoop Doggy Dogg had a No. 1 hit with "Pat's favorite, 'Gin and Juice'."

Then he got serious: "The thing that I instantly noticed and appreciated about Pat was her energy and passion. It is contagious. Her fantastic sense of humor. Her intellect. Her compassionate heart."

"If someone tells Pat 'No' and she truly believes the answer should be 'yes,' then she will open every door, look under every rug, plead her case until she wears you down to convince you that no is actually yes."

He told a story that exemplified that quality: Pat had found a champion for state funding in Sen. Dave Thomas. One day, she urgently needed to talk to the senator, and saw him ducking into a men's room at the State House. So, she waited however long it took for him to come out, right?

"No, she goes in the men's bathroom, where she accosts Sen. Thomas brushing his teeth, and she gets the money."

Tom started sharing a list of words people use to describe Pat: Dedicated, Caring, Visionary,  Charismatic, Focused, Driven, Inspirational, Hilarious, Tenacious, Faith Filled, Animated...

And then he gives up, and brings to the front of the room a life-sized cardboard silhouette covered with words describing Pat.

That was greeted by enthusiastic applause, which led to his conclusion:

"Let's raise our glasses this morning and toast Pat Littlejohn. You have made all our lives happier and more inspiring, and you have led by example. May the next 20 years be almost as successful as the first 20. Thank you for two decades of awesome service!"

Also honored for their service at the breakfast were three members of the Healthy Learners team: Merlethia Greene and Rebecca M. Lammonds, who each both served five years in the Georgetown office, and Kara Marsh, with 10 years service.

Below, Pat poses with Terrence Kessler, President and CEO of Sisters of Charity Health System; Sister Judith Ann Karam, Congregational Leader of Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine; and Tom Keith, president of Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.