Flowers at patients’ bedsides weren’t the only things blooming around New Hanover Regional Medical Center during the Spring of 1976. Love was also taking root on the 7th floor where a Registered Nurse and a Male Assistant met for the first time while working on the Urology Unit. It may not sound like the most romantic setting, but the two knew that if they could take care of patients together, they could take care of each other.
By the summer of 1977, Emily and Chuck Mabry were married and started a life together that was centered around their work and community at NHRMC. Emily continued her nursing work, serving as a valued team member in various departments before moving to the Preadmission Testing Department with the Surgery Navigation Center. Chuck graduated from UNCW with a degree in biology and became a Medical Technologist in the Microbiology Lab.
The Mabrys also raised three children, a daughter and two sons, while still excelling in their careers at NHRMC. It wasn’t always easy. Each worked weekends at least once a month and both were called in to serve the community during events like a major snowstorm in 1989 and Hurricane Fran in 1996. They both remember how it felt to drop off their kids with their grandparents to go work during the hurricane, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to get in touch with them until after the storm passed.
The pair certainly made sacrifices throughout their time at NHRMC but they both say it was the wonderful people they worked with, excellent mentors, and supportive management that kept them at NHRMC for a combined total of nearly 90 years.
Over those years, the Mabrys have seen a lot of change at NHRMC. One of the biggest shifts Emily noticed over the years is how much more teamwork there is now between doctors, nurses, specialists, and primary care providers. She says the enhanced interdisciplinary teamwork has made a huge positive difference in patient treatment.
To that end, both Mabrys noted how technology and advances in patient care have improved patient outcomes and treatment options. In the lab, Chuck says that automated processes helped significantly bring down the amount of time between a test being ordered and the results being ready.
Their long careers at NHRMC aren’t the only thing to be admired about the Mabrys. Their marriage has also stood the test of time. Their advice to couples who want to make it last is to take your wedding vows seriously and remember to do what’s right for the marriage and the family, not just yourself.
The Mabrys say that their shared faith has helped them stay on the same page over the years. The two also say that raising their children together brought them closer over time. Their daughter, Sarah, followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a nurse. Their older son, Benjamin, is a Marine Draft Surveyor and a musician in a band called Beta Radio. Their youngest, Caleb, is a Marine Tech serving in the Coast Guard.
Caleb is also the father of the Mabrys’ grandson, who they are looking forward to spending a lot more time with now. The Mabrys are also planning to travel abroad and to do mission work together.
Chuck likes to say, “God put us together, and he’s having fun watching us try to work this out.”