Robert and group

Lighting the Way
Story 133

By Jaquelyn Lugg

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, Robert Aldrich's doctor advised him to take some time off from work for his health. Like so many in the early days of the pandemic, he found himself isolating at home, with nothing to do for the first time in a long time. But it didn't stay that way for long.

Robert had always been intrigued by light shows, the kind of elaborate flashing displays set to music that only the most ambitious holiday decorators attempt to install on their home exteriors. He found a Facebook group for light show hobbyists, and a fellow member sent him some equipment to get started.

More than two years later, that hobby has become a purpose. "I'm a crazy light guy now," Robert admits jokingly. But putting together the displays means more to him than just a way to spend his free time. "I do it because it brings a smile to people, and that's my biggest thing," he says. "I like to see people smile.”

House with holiday lights
Robert Aldrich decorates his home in elaborate light shows set to music for the enjoyment of others passing by. He brings the same energy and illumination to his work as a pharmacy technician.

Robert brings that same energy and illumination to his job at Adventist Health Sonora’s inpatient pharmacy, where he has worked as a pharmacy technician for more than 20 years. This summer, he was nominated and selected for the Service Excellence Award, a monthly recognition for associates who embody Adventist Health Sonora's values. 


Robert is "an example of a light to the healthcare profession," his colleague Donna Fitzgerald wrote in the nomination. "He possesses a tireless passion to help others.” 

Robert not only does his job with kindness and energy — he does it noticeably well. Last October, his department created a new position for him as an internal auditor, in which he pores over documentation about the prescription and use of controlled medications, ensures compliance, and assists with educating clinical staff.

Robert and group

"I feel a little bit like an inspector when looking through all the documents, and it keeps my brain busy," Robert explains of his work. "I like what I am doing because I have been able to build a really good rapport with nurses and doctors and make the audit process less scary."

Though his work keeps him busy, Robert is also diligently preparing his Halloween light show in his free time. This October, his home will come alive with bats, ghosts, black cats and tombstones, all illuminated to the tune of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia."