35 Years: Teresa Salas

Honoree Teresa Salas
Teresa Salas

You can catch up with Teresa Salas most any day, right after she finishes her cashier shift in the cafeteria at St. Paul University Hospital. She’ll be there, surrounded by co-workers who call her Mother Teresa, or Sweetie, or Little T.

She offers her co-workers the same smiles and gentle touch that she has for patients, physicians, and diners.

Most of her co-workers were not yet born when she started working in Nutrition Services in 1977.

Back then, when the former St. Paul Hospital was supported by the Daughters of Charity, workers at the old hospital made up a big family. In some ways that feeling hasn’t changed. The St. Paul family is still a close-knit group, and Ms. Salas qualifies as one of the matriarchs.

“These people are like family,” she said. “I’ve made lifelong friends here. I’ve watched their children grow up to be adults. They’re the reason I’ve stayed here as long as I have.”

In a career that’s lasted as long as Ms. Salas’ has, there are highlights to be recalled and stories to be told about the old days.

“I got to meet John Travolta while I was working here back in the late 1970s,” she said of the actor, who once came to visit a friend being treated at the hospital. 

The starring roles in her own life are held by her husband, Pete, sons Jesse and Julio, daughter Margie, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. “And there’s Sonny, our dog,” she added. “He’s like a member of the family.”

Ms. Salas’ hobby is attending to the plants in her yard, and she doesn’t mind saying that she buys a lottery ticket every day.

Employee Recognition 2013

Long-term employees play an invaluable role in the life of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Their faithful, dedicated service has helped the institution become what it is today. In this special edition of Center Times, we showcase some of these employees and their varied interests.