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Food service is all in the family for the Orellana siblings

Food service is all in the family for the Orellana siblings

If you have been a patient at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital in the past five years, there's a good chance you have met one of the Orellana kids, who are making food service work a family affair.

It all began in 2017 when Melisa, now 20, started as a volunteer and then became a worker in the hospital's food service department while she was a student at Biglerville High School. Three months later, her older brother Fredy, now 21, joined her. In 2021, younger brother Cristian, 17, joined the team. Six months after he began, younger sister Sandra, 16, came on board.

Together, the four siblings have enjoyed a friendly work environment, a flexible schedule, and benefits including college tuition reimbursement and a gym discount.

And guess what? There is a fifth sibling, Gabby, just 13, waiting in the wings as a possible future hire.

The Orellanas' boss, Karen Pfaff, already has her fingers crossed about that.

"I asked if there were more siblings!" says Pfaff, food service supervisor. "They are such a good family. They have such a great work ethic. They are attentive. They are always on time. Their uniforms are always pressed. They always do the right thing. They are detail-oriented and always looking out for the patients."

The Orellana siblings say they feel valued and rewarded at WellSpan.

"Working in food service is a great way to get your foot in the door if your goal is to work in the medical profession," says Melisa, who is receiving tuition reimbursement from WellSpan as she studies for a nursing degree at Penn State Mont Alto. "It's a great environment to interact with patients as well as the medical staff. Everybody feels like family. It's a great opportunity to work here."

Fredy also received college tuition reimbursement from WellSpan while working at WellSpan Gettysburg, while he was going to school at HACC for robotics. (He has since left WellSpan and works at a different job.)

The Orellanas' parents are from El Salvador. Their father, Fermin Orellana, is an electrician. Their mother, Digna Hernandez, oversees their household in Aspers.

Take note, Digna.

"My joke is that after I get through all of the kids, I am going to hire their mother," Pfaff says. "I would love that!"