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The Valley Line: Party thanks retiring USC-Verdugo Hills hospital chief

November 27, 2013|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Len LaBella, former chief executive of Verdugo Hills Hospital, chats with Cindy Sawyer, a past president of the Women's Council of Verdugo Hills Hospital at a farewell party in his honor. The hospital was acquired by USC's Keck Hospital. The Council is now called USC-VHH Women's Council. Sawyer was co-chairman of the event.
Len LaBella, former chief executive of Verdugo Hills… (Photo by Jane Napier…)

I'm writing this column before Thanksgiving Day, but you will read it on turkey day or over the weekend. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I'm excited to celebrate this Thanksgiving with my extended family — all 25 of them. I can provide details next week.

The stormy weather last week certainly provided some autumn ambience for us. Of course I loved the chill that made me feel that maybe I really was going to go "over the river and through the wood" to be with my family.

Curious about this saying, I researched it a little further. I discovered that it was part of a poem written in 1844 by Lydia Maria Child. The poem celebrated her childhood memories of visiting her grandparents' house. Here are opening lines of the original poem:

Over the river, and through the wood,

To Grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh

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Through the white and drifted snow.

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A couple of weeks ago I attended a special event held by the USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital Women's Council that was designed to say "farewell" to Len LaBella, who recently retired as VHH's chief executive.

Autumn decor, colored leaves and pumpkins decorated the hospital's Women's Council room where buffet tables were set up and covered with gold, burgundy and dark green cloths.

Co-chairing the party attended by more than 75 guests were Cindy Sawyer and Ruth McNevin.

After being introduced by McNevin, LaBella said that he loved being in a room with beautiful women. For certain, over the 12 years that LaBella was at the helm, the women of the council loved him and his cheerful presence at the hospital each day.

Sodexo, the hospital's caterer, created a menu of savory foods that were paired with wine selection. The food was delicious and included Kobe pepper steak, carved smoked ham, a selection of salads, stuffed mushrooms and assorted cheeses.

It was a lovely evening and everyone attending had an opportunity to have a nice chat with Len. What a guy!

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Birthday wishes were recently sent to Ginny Booth, a former La Cañadan who just turned a beautiful 100 years old.

Ginny had an exciting career as a nurse. During WWII, she served as a nurse on the island of Guam. After the war she was a public health nurse in the Central Valley and later was head nurse for Glendale Unified School District.

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