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Ukiah Valley Medical Center’s Longest Serving Employee Retires After 42 years of Service


UKIAH, CA – David Breece’s story is not uncommon. Like some people who have come to make Ukiah their home, Breece planned on staying for a year or two after accepting a job at then Hillside Hospital. That plan took a different course, as he prepares to retire from his first and only job 42 years later. What made the difference he says, was he fell in love with the community and with a hometown girl. 

After finishing his education in x-ray technology and nuclear medicine, Breece applied for a job at Hillside. The plan was to get some experience, and then move back to his hometown in Michigan. But two weeks into the job, he received a request for an x-ray. Breece started talking to the patient and realized they lived in the same apartment complex. A year later, they were married. 

As Ukiah Valley Medical Center’s (UVMC) longest serving employee, Breece says he was privileged to have seen the many changes and advancements in healthcare. “I started in 1973 at Hillside, then six years later we became UVMC. In fact, I’m badge number 9!” 

“Back then, we did everything on paper. There was only one computer in the whole hospital. Now we do most of our record-keeping on computers, which are networked and easily accessible. When I started we saw about 30-40 patients per week for CT scans. Now we see about 40 per day,” he shares. 

Breece attributes the increased volume to advancements in medicine. “Most physicians didn’t know a lot about CTs and they didn’t recommend it. Now it’s a standard procedure,” he explains. “And for good reason. CT scanning adds X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views of a patient's anatomy. By getting a 3D image of the body, it can help doctors to identify normal and abnormal structures and can be used to guide procedures. The details we can see now are just amazing,” he adds. 

Asked why he never thought of getting another job and relocating. “This is our home. My wife grew up here and we raised our family here. And I loved my job at UVMC.”

“My job is fun and challenging. There’s so much variety and you meet so many different people.”

For many patients and employees, Breece has been a calming and dependable presence in the radiology department. “He is very reserved but he has a wealth of knowledge that we are so grateful for. And the fact that he is trained in both CT and nuclear medicine makes him a great asset. He will definitely be missed,” shares Gerad Santana, director of Medical Imaging at UVMC. 

Breece says he plans to stay in Ukiah during his retirement and is looking forward to sleeping in. “My biggest ‘problem’ now is how to keep myself busy. This was my first and only job. I have done the same thing for 42 years, it will be a big change for sure.” 

He’s still working on his bucket list, but for now, reading seems to be at the top of the list. “I have to get through the books that I have not had time to read, and then maybe go on a cruise or give back to my community by volunteering.”

--  UVMC  --

Ukiah Valley Medical Center is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 31,000 includes more than 22,350 employees; 4,800 medical staff physicians; and 3,850 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 275 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Adventist Health ranked #10 in Becker's list of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S. for 2015.  Visit  for more information.