Woman isn't shy when it comes to work

Martin brings her love of people to Washington County Hospital position

Martin brings her love of people to Washington County Hospital position

November 01, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Jo-An Martin

Age: 56

Occupation: Customer service representative at Washington County Hospital

Hometown: Hagerstown

Where would you see Martin? From early morning to midafternoon on weekdays, Martin welcomes visitors and patients to the hospital. An employee of the hospital for 38 years, Martin switched from working in patient accounts to the greeter position more than 12 years ago when the job was created, she said.

"I love people," Martin said. "I guess I'm not a shy person. I love to give hugs."

Her job includes giving people directions within the hospital, but she also is quick to provide information about the area to those unfamiliar with it. Martin also is a good listener and directs people to needed help.


Martin likes to see the positive in people, and her sunny disposition can be a comfort for those facing medical issues.

"There's so many people here who need you," Martin said. "You can't be down."

Martin said she has a knack for making friends wherever she goes, whether at church, the grocery store or work. Martin loves to cook, and is known for sharing her culinary creations when she senses a need.

A native of Hagerstown, Martin is the youngest of four children of the Houser family. She graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 1967.

Martin began working at the hospital after graduating from high school, and admits she was "scared to death."

She married Donald Martin seven years ago, and said her husband and his parents, who are Mennonite, have accepted her with open arms. Jo-An's parents had died years before, so her new father-in-law gave her away at the wedding.

"I'm happy with my new family," Martin said. "That's what makes me happy."

Martin said she and her husband still celebrate their monthly anniversaries, and Donald, who is a truck driver, writes her a love note every day. They live on Rose Hill Avenue, along with Jo-An's two Yorkshire terriers, Mia and Cheyenne.

Martin's concern for others extends to animals as well. She said she was 5 when she rescued her first animal, a sick kitten who didn't survive despite her care.

Since then, Martin has volunteered with the Humane Society of Washington County, although she said that was awhile ago. Martin also was an usher at The Maryland Theatre for many years.

Martin is active in her church, Rehoboth United Methodist Church in Williamsport. She is a greeter and usher, gives children's sermons and has been involved with lay leadership, staff parish, church council and delivering gifts to nursing home residents at Christmas.

Hobbies: Over the years, Martin said she has enjoyed many hobbies. She usually works on one, such as the crewel pictures she used to make, until she tires of it and moves on to something new. Stenciling, sewing and making handmade quilts are her current hobbies, along with cooking.

Martin said she's a homebody.

"I have such a good life, I can't wait to go home," Martin said.

What does Martin like best about Washington County? "I just love everything," Martin said with enthusiasm. "I love it, and don't want to leave it. I just love my hometown."

Martin said Washington County has everything, from the mountains to the river to plenty of activities.

"You don't need to go to anyplace else," Martin said.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, call Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send an e-mail to

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