Employee Donor Story: Yibrah Reta

Share what you have

Yibrah Reta has been donating to St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation through payroll deductions since 2014 and has been serving the hospital community as an employee for 29 years. Yibrah is now the department lead of the linen department and his wife Aberash Hailu is in the same position at our sister hospital Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. Yibrah and Aberash did not meet through the hospital system, but rather in Sudan when they were children. They married and had a son, Hinok Atebeha, who was born in 1990.

Yibrah moved to San Francisco in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War to find refuge for his family. He was told that he could not bring his family with him until he moved to the states and got a job.

When he arrived in San Francisco, his sponsor was the 3rd Baptist Church. The church gave him shelter, support and helped him look for jobs. Yibrah applied for many jobs but was not accepted. He had a friend who was an RN on St. Mary’s 4th floor, south wing Dementia Unit. Two hours a day for a year and a half Yibrah volunteered his time walking, feeding, and taking patients to the library.

Because of the relationships he had made at the hospital, Yibrah was hired as a housekeeper in 1993. He worked in housekeeping per diem for 3 years. By 2000 he worked his way up to full-time in the linen department. “Now, I lead for the department. Now, we are here” Yibrah said with a big smile.

Yibrah was able to bring his family to San Francisco in 1995 when his son was 4 and a half years old. “If you try and work, you will find a way to live.”

“I’ve been working here 29 years. I like my job. I do everything I can to help the hospital and this community. I do my best to smile and I like to share whatever I have with this community. It makes me feel very good.” He went on to say “Do something with whatever you have. You sleep good.”

Yibrah's parting advice was, "Life is short. You have to be happy. Share what you have."

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