Jackie Smith and Lee Nichols are twin sisters working for RHA in LaGrange, North Carolina, in a facility formerly known as the Howell Center, which became part of RHA in 2006.
They have both worked in a variety of roles, from direct care to medical records, to I.T., and more. Today, Lee serves as I.T. Manager and Jackie is an Employee Benefits Specialist — and their offices are just down the hall from each other.
“It’s nice knowing she’s just down the hall. We’re both very busy, so we don’t see each other that much during the workday, but there’s just something special about knowing that if I have to work late or I want to come in early, I’ve got a partner in crime,” said Jackie.
Lee echoed her sister’s sentiment.
“We may not speak to each other all day, except in the morning and when she brings me lunch — we’re supposed to take turns [making lunch], but she really does it more than I do — but I still love knowing that she’s here. She’s still my favorite person in the world besides my baby sister, and I love getting to see her every day.”
Jackie and Lee began working together at the Howell Center as teenagers. The sisters were introduced to their work through their mother, who worked as a personal assistant to the director of the center at the time, Irene Howell.
“My mother worked for Ms. Howell for a long time — to the day she died, actually. She was one of [Ms. Howell’s] main people,” Lee noted.
Jackie and Lee have been with the Howell Center, now RHA, for most — or, in Lee’s case, all — of their professional lives. As of January, Lee has been with the business for 43 years. Jackie has been back with the business for 17 years.
When RHA acquired the Howell Center in 2006, Jackie and Lee made the transition to RHA employees.
Jackie noted of the transition: “There’s been so many changes, but I think the one thing that has always been constant, is that we employ great people. [RHA employees] really care about the folks they support, and that’s the one thing that I can say has been constant through the years.”
We are so grateful to Lee and Jackie for their commitment to RHA, and for all of the incredible work they are doing to serve our staff and people supported every day. Thank you both so much!