Providence Receives Chamber’s ‘Business of the Year’ Honor

Annual Banquet: Two Years Into Pandemic, County’s Largest Employer Recognized for Long History of Helping Community


The Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce chose Providence Health System as its “Business of the Year” at Friday's chamber banquet in Chehalis.

Providence Centralia Hospital’s work throughout the years in the community was the focus of the award.

“Providence has been around since 1983,” Lindy Waring, board president of the chamber, told The Chronicle. “I think it's probably long overdue for them to be chosen. I think they are the largest employer in Lewis County and have provided hundreds of family-wage jobs and millions of dollars in economic community (development).”

Kevin Caserta, site administrator of Providence Centralia Hospital and the chief medical officer for Providence Southwest Washington, said the distinction is “an incredible honor.”

“If you think about all the businesses that we have in Lewis County — all of the different social organizations that are providing services to the county, all the people that work collaboratively — for Providence to get this honor, to be recognized, it really means a lot,” Caserta told The Chronicle. “It will mean a lot to our caregivers to get this recognition, particularly (because of) the last year and the challenges they’ve had.”

He said all of Providence’s employees are considered caregivers by the organization.

“Each of them have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic,” Caserta said. “(They’ve worked) incredible hours, sometimes under difficult situations, in order to keep our patients safe and meet the needs of the community during this challenging time.”

Yet Waring said the recognition goes beyond what the health system has done over the past two years.

“I don’t even want to focus on what they did in COVID, because it goes way beyond that,” she said.

Waring said the organization has done some amazing work in the community throughout the years that cannot be overstated.

“Did they step up in COVID? Yes,” Waring said. “They were out there on the front lines. They were out there doing all the … vaccinations and providing multiple locations and making it easy. But what they have done all of these years is really above and beyond, and that’s really why we’ve chosen them.”

When asked what has set Providence apart to receive the award, Caserta said he doesn’t want to separate Providence from the community, because the community has all rallied together to make sure the needs of everybody are met.

“But Providence is in a unique situation,” he said. “We’re blessed and very fortunate to be part of a large system. We have approximately 50 hospitals throughout the United States and we’re able to bring together experts to really produce the best models of care possible.”

Providence can take that level of expertise and apply it to all it does in the community, Caserta said, providing the resources for its caregivers to give the best care with the highest technology possible while still doing that work with a local touch.

“Most of our nurses, most of our physicians, most of our other caregivers actually live in Lewis County and the surrounding areas,” Caserta said. “So you get a hometown touch, but also, and most importantly, at the highest level of care.”

Check out Tuesday’s edition of The Chronicle to learn more about the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce banquet.