November 2017

Ocasio gives back to his “second home”


Tony Ocasio began his career at Swedish Covenant Hospital in 1974 as a Clinical Lab Assistant, doing everything from washing lab glassware to collecting specimens, to performing manual testing. Forty-three years later, Swedish Covenant Hospital has become Tony’s second home. Tony generously gives back to Swedish Covenant Hospital in appreciation of the career opportunities, and the strong relationships he has formed.

“As Swedish Covenant Hospital grew over the years, it presented me with a lifetime of opportunities to grow myself personally, spiritually and professionally and to amass cherished memories of the struggles and victories encountered and overcome alongside my fellow coworkers, or as I like to say, ‘work family’,” Tony said.

Tony overflows with Swedish Covenant Hospital pride as he talks about the state-of-the-art, computer-driven, automated and robotics lab at Swedish Covenant Hospital. When he first started at Swedish, much of the work was completed manually. As he describes, a “Frankenstein-like lab with different colored solutions, bubbling away in glass tubes and flasks, over the flame of a Bunsen burner.” But, much has changed at Swedish since then. The lab is now one of the top hospital labs in the country, a special feat for a community hospital. Tony attributes much of the success to the family-like atmosphere, and the strong relationships among the employees, many of whom have been working together for more than 30 years.

Swedish Covenant Hospital is more than just an employer for Tony. Tony has formed strong bonds with his “work family” and has attended weddings and traveled with his colleagues. In addition, Tony’s children were born at Swedish and attended the James and Suzanne McCormick Montessori Child Care Center.

Generosity was engrained in Tony by his parents and grandparents. Tony grew up in Humboldt Park as  one of six children. When Tony’s aunt passed away, Tony’s parents took care of her children, growing to a total of 11 children in their home. Despite Tony’s father’s modest job as a factory worker, his parents believed in sharing and an open house.

“My dad was the type of person to give the shirt off his own back,” Tony said.

In addition to giving back as a sense of appreciation, Tony also understands the importance of Swedish Covenant Hospital in the community, both as an employer of thousands of community members, and a source of health care delivery.

“When I drive into the parking garage every morning, I’m so thankful for Swedish Covenant Hospital not only as my employer, but for the jobs of all of my colleagues,” Tony said. “The community would suffer without Swedish Covenant Hospital.”

Swedish Covenant Hospital employees give generously throughout the year, including through the Annual Employee Giving Campaign. In 2017, more than 180 employees have donated nearly $175,000 to support various initiatives throughout the hospital. To learn more about employee giving at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at

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