Morris Hospital names Julia Banko as March Fire Starter of the Month

Julia Banko, the Morris Hospital Fire Starter of the Month for March 2024.

Morris resident Julia Banko, a respiratory therapist, has been named the March Fire Starter of the Month at Morris Hospital.

Banko set out looking for a career where she could help people, and she knew from an early age that’s what she wanted to do. Still, she was unsure which healthcare path to choose. The first she heard from once she started applying to programs after taking a leave from school to take care of her family was a respiratory therapy program. She took that as a sign and never looked back.

Nearly 34 years later, Banko is still pursuing her passion for helping people and making a difference in the lives of patients every day as a respiratory therapist and supervisor of pulmonary services at Morris Hospital. In recognition of all she does to make Morris Hospital an excellent place to receive care, Banko was honored as the hospital’s March Fire Starter of the Month.

“Julia is an incredible employee and supervisor who always gives 100% of herself to her patients and the department,” said Morris Hospital Manager of Critical Care Services Laura Decker. “She is always lending a helping hand to anyone in need, and this makes her a great leader.”

Banko’s career at Morris Hospital began as an emergency room registration clerk while she was completing her undergraduate degree in respiratory therapy. Over three decades later, she is as dedicated to serving the community as she was on her first day. She credits this to the way Morris Hospital’s mission has continued to align with her desire to help people better their lives.

“Morris Hospital’s mission is to improve the lives of community residents, and I know the work I do helps contribute to that every day,” Banko said. “I also have enjoyed getting to help mold and shape the next generation of healthcare professionals who will someday be taking care of me.”

Banko said there are many rewarding aspects of her job, but some of the most impactful has been seeing the positive changes in the lives of the patients.

“When you can’t breathe, or have difficulties breathing, it impacts every part of your life,” Banko said. “When I have a success with a patient, the warm and fuzzy feeling I get really feels good. It is rewarding to know that my help has made a stamp on helping to improve someone’s life.”

In early civilizations, fire starters were individuals who had the important job of keeping the flame alive. With over 1,400 employees, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is the largest employer in Grundy County.

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