Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Ron Hallman much more than Porter spokesman

Editor’s note: The Letters Forum in the Independent is a place for correspondents to exchange information and opinions on issues of public policy and matters of broad public interest. As such, we don’t generally publish letters from a person extolling the virtues of a family member. We make a rare exception here because the subject of the letter, Ron Hallman, was a public figure who for three decades was for many the face of Porter Hospital as its principal spokesman; because we don’t often get a personal look at public figures from the people who know them best; and because it provides a small look at the daily work lives of an individual giving us all something to reflect upon as we go through our own daily work lives.

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I suspect many people exit the workforce quietly, without accolades or acknowledgement. In an instant the people, place and space that’s provided purpose is a memory. An office once filled with family photos and personal effects is silenced, empty, locked.

This departure may be accentuated with brief moments of closure: a handshake, an email, a handwritten letter. Or its prominence may be in its precipitance.

My father, Ron Hallman (subsequently referred to as, “Dad”), worked at Porter Hospital for 32 years. His recent departure may have been quiet, but it has not gone unnoticed.

My sister and I joke about Dad wearing an invisible cape, rushing in to help on a moment’s notice. When I call, I barely hear a ring before I’m met with a greeting that inevitably makes me laugh. His enthusiasm almost always counters my mood, his unyielding optimism my supreme pessimism. We talk about baseball, politics, my kids, my work, his work and how much we miss each other.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about the incredible impact Dad made at Porter Hospital and, by extension, the incredible impact he made for his family and community.

During his tenure at Porter, Dad raised $15 million. Countless donors supported major projects with important gifts. Dad worked to nurture relationships and never took for granted the integral role the community played in his work.

Some of Dad’s closest and most respected colleagues have doubled as some of his closest and most respected friends. For the large majority of his career, he relished his work for its potential and impact on the community. He enjoyed working in collaboration with highly respected individuals and organizations alike to further Porter’s mission and make comprehensive healthcare accessible. Dad stayed steady through a number of administrative changes, working mightily to focus on fulfilling his end of the deal.

And while his work at Porter is, in my eyes, nothing short of extraordinary, what makes him inspirational to me is his ability to excel at work and as a Dad. A mom of three under four, I marvel now more than ever at my Dad’s patience, kindness, modesty, ability to listen, and at his unshakable demeanor. He sacrificed so much for my sister and me and harbors nothing but love for us and our friends and families.

For 32 years, Dad went to work. On Aug. 20, 2021, he left. This brief reflection can serve only as a tiny fraction of what he has earned and deserves. Thank you, Dad. We love you and are endlessly proud of you.

The voicemail box he called to record every morning at 7:30 for most of my life has a final timestamp:

“Hi, it’s Ron Hallman. It’s Friday, Aug. 20. I’ll be at my office today but am either on the phone or away from my desk. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.”

Anna Martinez

Groton, Mass.

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