BANDON – Debbie Steele brings a touch of cheer to Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center on holidays with her decorating talents. Her creative spark travels to other areas of her life as well. She collects and sells antiques and collectibles and enjoys applying her skills and lending her collection to her decorating.
“If anyone has ideas, I have my shop at home with lots of decorations in it,” Steele said. “If I get a creative spark, I do it and hope it doesn’t offend. It’s my way of giving back.”
Steele was named non-clinical employee of the month for July at SCHHC. She has been with the hospital since October 2010 and is a Patient Access Specialist III in the Patient Access Services-Admitting Department.
Over the years, Steele has excelled at a variety of positions, the nomination states. She was nominated because she “always goes the extra miles for her patients and co-workers.”
“Debbie is extremely kind, patient, capable and very knowledgeable,” the nomination continues. “She is always willing to help with additional tasks and offers to lend a hand to help. Debbie is a gem in the work place and a true asset to our team.
“You can always count on Debbie to be prompt, professional, kind and do things with a smile!”
Steele was born and raised in Coos Bay and graduated from Marshfield High School. She attended Southwestern Oregon Community College then landed a job in finance for a company in Coos Bay, where she spent the next 20 years.
She retired from that company, then went to work at SCHHC. In between, Steele helped set up the financials at a different Coos Bay company.
In 2016, Steele started a couple of antique and collectible businesses, one at Vintage 101 and one at Leaf’s Treehouse, both in Coos Bay.
“It’s like a shop within a shop,” Steele explained. “I have a hodge-podge of everything.”
She buys and sells antiques as a hobby and has an eclectic collection, including items with rustic, western/farm, hunting and fishing themes. She also loves anything from the Victorian era. In each shop, Steele arranges merchandise by theme. She was especially thrilled recently when her husband found her an old wagon wheel that she has as part of her welcoming home entrance decorations.
Steele’s husband, Tom, has been a salesman at Gib’s RV for many years. Her son Cody Steele has worked for about four years in the Patient Access-Registration Department at SCHHC on the hospital’s switchboard, answering and transferring calls. His desk is within earshot of his mother’s office.
“He’s a good kid,” Steele said.
The Steeles have another son, Ryan, who lives in Montana and served in the U.S. Navy and in the Army National Guard. Ryan has two children, Trenton, 17, and Alia, 15.
Steele likes to stay busy so she won’t get bored.
“It’s fun,” she said of her job at SCHHC. “I have a great boss (Cathy Mann). It’s interesting because I’m learning a lot of new things. It’s busy, and busy is good for me.”
Steele appreciates her co-workers as well, including Carolyn Randolph, Leslie Tucker, Jack Wood and Kelly Hultin who work with her in the business office, and Michelle Jurgenson, Chelsea Freitag, Brandie Lane and Abigail Carman in the Admitting Department in the main hospital, where Steele fills in. Laura Guzman, Family Nurse Practitioner at the Southern Coos Health Center, is another person Steele enjoys working with.
Steele also owns a 300-some-odd acre farm in Kansas that she’s never seen, but inherited from family. It’s still a working farm, producing corn, wheat, milo and soybeans. Her farming roots dig deep, as the family owned the farm in Kansas, as well as one in Pasadena, Calif., where they would farm during the winters.
In her “spare” time, Steele enjoys 4-wheeling in the sand dunes, camping, boating and taking short trips out of town to places such as Eugene and Medford. But mostly, she enjoys “hanging out with family.”
“My husband has seven brothers and sisters so we do a lot of family things,” she said.
Steele also enjoys her job and work family at SCHHC.
“I like learning new stuff and that’s been good. I like new challenges.”