SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Coosa Valley Medical Center honored the culinary legacy of Ms. Mona Keith, a stalwart figure in the hospital’s kitchen for an impressive 51 years, by dedicating the Hickory Street Cafe kitchen in her name on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 5.
The dedication ceremony unveiled the transformation of the Hickory Street Cafe kitchen into “Mona’s Kitchen” – a fitting tribute to a woman whose commitment and culinary creations have left an everlasting mark on the institution.
“This is a historical day,” said Vanessa Green, Chief Business Development Officer at CVMC. “When you think about Mona Keith and her legacy and being here 51 years, ‘thank you’ is not enough. We appreciate her and love her for what she has done in this community and this hospital.”
Surrounded by a jubilant crowd of friends, family, CVMC staff, and hospital board members, the surprise dedication left Mona Keith in awe.
“I’m totally, totally surprised,” Keith exclaimed, “because I really didn’t expect it. I love it, and I’m glad they did this for me.”
For over half a century, Ms. Mona has been the culinary backbone of CVMC, infusing every dish with passion and heart, creating a menu that became synonymous with flavorful excellence.
Mona’s famous chicken salad, banana pudding, lemonade, and more will continue to grace the tables of Hickory Street Cafe, ensuring her legacy lives on.
The dedication, made possible by the Sylacauga Healthcare Authority, was conducted by Coosa Valley Medical Center CEO Glenn Sisk. During the presentation, Sisk reminisced on a time when he and Green were discussing the reputation of hospital food.
“I said, ‘Vanessa, hospital food has a terrible reputation, right?” remarked Sisk. “We’re going to change that with the opportunity to build Hickory Street Cafe as a part of our west wing addition.
Sisk then said he tasked Green with selecting a signature dish for the cafe. Instead, Green selected one of many “signature people” in Mona Keith.
This lasting tribute not only celebrates Keith’s remarkable journey but also recognizes the hard work, loyalty, and artistic abilities that have contributed to the legacy of food service delivery at CVMC.