Jim Raggio with sign for lab named in his honor. (Courtesy photo)

Jim Raggio, retiring CEO of Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC), was honored during a ceremony at the hospital Tuesday attended by members of the medical staff.

During the brief event, a sign was unveiled to reveal the naming of the James J. Raggio III Laboratory, in recognition of Raggio’s years as a lab director and director of Clinical Services at the hospital.

The medical staff chose to recognize Raggio with the lab naming and plaque installation in the department where he first began his LVMC employment almost 40 years ago.

Raggio was hired in 1980 as director of Laboratory Services and held that position for seven years. He was director of Clinical Services from 1987-95 and became CEO in 1998. Raggio announced his retirement last year, and his final day of employment is expected to be March 1.

“With grateful appreciation for his years of dedication, leadership and vision,” the plaque states.

The ceremony was coordinated by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randall Michel and Chief of Staff Dr. Michael Gill and attended by physicians and LVMC staff.

“A lot of us really got a chance to see your whole career here, from the beginning when you came in 1980,” Dr. Michel said. “Many of us, including myself, have little insight into the herculean effort it takes to run a medical center, particularly in this day and age.

“You have always conducted yourself with dignity. You have been a man of your word, and you have earned the respect not only of your staff, but also the entire medical staff.”

Dr. Michel credited Raggio’s “hard work and vision” for ensuring the new hospital became a reality in 2010 and for expanding medical care options in the Lompoc Valley.

“We want you to retire knowing you have our admiration,” he said.

Raggio said many of his most memorable career years were when he was working in the lab and that it gave him an immense appreciation for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at a hospital.

The laboratory, he noted, gave him a foundation for tough decisions he had to make during his career.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Raggio said. “It was a big part of my life.”

— Nora K. Wallace for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.