Tom and Jeri Battle pose for a photo with their daughter, Megan Renne, and Jeri's mother, Bess Schultz.
Tom and Jeri Battle pose for a photo with their daughter, Megan Renne, and Jeri’s mother, Bess Schultz. All four work or have worked at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

As a systems engineer and a medical imaging technician, respectively, Tom and Jeri Battle have nearly 50 years of combined experience at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital.

In making this their home base, the two Reed City High School graduates liked the idea of working nearby, getting good jobs and serving the people around them.

As Tom points out, “We’ve always had an interest in our community because we have long-term roots in this area.”

Coming from two large families, the question that comes up most often is, ‘who aren’t you related to?’ Knowing a relative, friend or neighbor could walk in the door at any moment gives the Battles even more motivation to perform to the best of their abilities.

“In such a close-knit community like ours, you can’t help seeing people you know and care about,” Jeri explains. “So, we treat everyone like family.”

The Battles’ daughter, Megan Renne, also stayed close to home in her career choice. She is employed as a financial counselor at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital.

“She’s the fourth generation to work here,” Jeri says. “My grandmother worked here, and my mother spent 20 years with the two hospitals.”

Jeri recalls taking Megan to the hospital as a child to work on crafts and holiday pageants when Jeri’s mom, Bess Schultz, served as the skilled nursing activities director.

With the integration of Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals, Tom sees a bright future ahead: “As time goes by, it’ll only get better. It’s good being connected to the Spectrum Health system.”

Jeri agrees: “Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals used to be competitors. Now we’re joined at the hip. It’s neat that both communities are thriving with two hospitals 13 miles apart.”