When Larry Shay, Mark Fisher, and Joe Goodwin all sat down and wrote “When You’re Smiling,” they never expected it to be sung by the greats like Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday. For those unfamiliar with this song, one of the lyrics is “When you’re smilin’, when you’re smilin’, the whole world smiles with you.”

Happiness is said to be a choice, and it’s clear to me that our team members choose it every day! Some days are mentally and physically exhausting, and even still, we place the highest value on providing exceptional care by embodying our core value of Service. This week’s Hugh Chatham Way Highlight focuses on someone who is diligent, kind-hearted, and ALWAYS smiling. Join me in celebrating Emergency Department Social Worker, Sam Baldillo, BSW – not just for his exceptional efforts, but in recognizing his natural ability to find the positive in each and every day.

Maria Vargas, fellow Social Worker quotes, “Sam is a great team player who is always willing to help in any way that he can, whether it be for co-workers or patients. Sam is dedicated to his social work profession and is always looking for ways to empower others. Sam also has a very pleasant attitude and is always friendly and welcoming.”

Lead Social Worker, Christine Royal, continues this sentiment by saying, “Sam is a happy person, and he tries to make others smile & laugh. When it comes to his job, Sam is committed to getting quick dispositions & resolutions for patients and the hospital. Sam is an all-star on the Hugh Chatham team.”

Thank you, Sam, for choosing happiness and being such an outstanding role model for us all.


Q & A with Sam

How did you come to Hugh Chatham?
I believe that it was my destiny. Initially, I worked in Asheville and Hendersonville as a social worker in a nursing home. My mom told me that my Dad wasn’t doing well and it was time for me to come home. She wanted me to spend more time with him. I had applied for another job but unfortunately did not get it since the administrator told me he wanted more hospital experience. My wife decided to come to Hugh Chatham because she is a nurse. I was a stay-at-home dad, and a little later, she let me know that there was a job opening. The day after I applied, Kim Holland called me for an interview, and the following day, I was offered the job. I was offered the job and have been in this role for six years. I believe it is all God’s plan, and the funny thing about destiny is that my predecessor actually went to the position I left.

What made you interested in becoming a social worker?
I originally wanted to be a physician and had no idea what a social worker did. One day I became sick and had a near-death experience in the Emergency Department. I developed white coat syndrome and PTSD due to the experience. While in the hospital bed, I prayed to God saying, “if You let me live, I will give back to the community and serve others.” The Lord answered my prayers and once I got better, I decided to become a social worker. Plus, being a cancer survivor, I can help relate to patients and help other people face different life challenges. It is a calling, and it is now my passion. The Lord helped me through the bad so that I can give back.

How do you and your team exhibit STARS?
We work together very well because we are like family. Teamwork is our number one priority, helping each other so that our patients receive support and exceptional care. I don’t need to ask for help – my team members always step up. In terms of me personally, I start my day by praying and being positive. We are all smiling at the end of the day, even if it is difficult. Hugh Chatham is a perfect fit for me because of my great co-workers and administration. We all see one another as equal. There is no other environment where you can joke openly with the CEO, and I intend to be here until I retire.

What do you like to do for fun?
My wife and I enjoy traveling to different historical places and seeing the outdoors. Our bucket list is to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona.


Sam Baldillo was nominated by Mary Blackburn.