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Forty-five years ago, Saidi Eckert arrived in Canton with little money and no job. She says she wanted to follow God’s will for her life and was asking Him for direction. God answered her prayer.
Saidi says she heard God say, “Follow me. You see that building over there, which says Mercy? You go there. They have mercy and will tend to you. You stay there until I come back for you.” Saidi smiles when she says, “God never came back so I am still here.”
Mercy Medical Center recognized Saidi Eckert’s dedication to the hospital’s mission and exceptional service to our patients and visitors by awarding her the 2013 Star Performer of the Year. One Mercy Medical Center employee is chosen each year to receive this recognition.
Currently a nurse assistant during the night shift, Saidi’s multicultural background and multilingual skills have been of tremendous value to those we serve. Saidi was born in Beirut, Lebanon. As a young adult, she spent several months in Scotland, two years in London, a summer in Cyprus and time in Istanbul. In 1960 she traveled to America to visit relatives. She went home to Lebanon in 1962, but in 1967, she returned to the U.S. and achieved citizenship in 1975.
Fluent in English and Arabic, Saidi also speaks some French and German and is learning Spanish. She is often called upon to translate for Mercy Medical Center patients. She recalls a time when she heard a patient cry out in Arabic asking God what she was to do. When Saidi heard her plea, she began speaking Arabic with the patient, much to her relief.
Saidi loves people and loves helping and caring for others. She says as soon as a person’s head hits that pillow, he or she becomes a patient in need of her care. Saidi says her parents taught her and her siblings that if they hurt, other people hurt the same way. She says to remember that we are all alike when we find ourselves in a hospital bed. Needing help becomes the common denominator, and Saidi believes that offering that help is her job.
Contributions to this article made by Daphne Stevenson.
About The Author
Cindy Hickey, Administrative Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Mercy Medical Center, began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1982 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the advisory board of About magazine and is a graduate of the 21st Class of Leadership Stark County.