Release Date: Mar 24, 2021

SHELTON, WA – When Gina Belen lost her husband of 36 years, Alonzo Belen, to cancer, she made it through her days with the love and support of her work family in the Health Information Management (HIM) department at Mason Health.

“I could not have gone through that without these strong, empowering people around me,” Belen said of her husband’s death in September 2019. “I absolutely love my co-workers. They’re the best.”

Belen’s co-workers think highly of her as well – Belen, an HIM clerk, was nominated and selected as Mason Health’s March 2021 Employee of the Month by her peers.

“She goes above and beyond when anyone needs anything,” said Belen’s nominator in her department. “She fairly recently lost her spouse to cancer and with our work family she has stayed strong and still works so hard even through the struggles that she has faced. She definitely is a pillar in our department, and I feel she deserves this.”

Belen is from Hawaii and first moved to Shelton in 1985 for her husband’s job at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. They raised three children in Mason County, and Gina Belen worked for years as a front office dental assistant in Shelton.

In 2006, she started a part-time nightshift job in HIM, in addition to her day job. Although she left the position after eight years, she knew she would come back someday because when she overlapped in hours with the day shift, she could see it was an environment she wanted to return to.

“My sister works at Mason General Hospital, so I knew good things about it, and I knew I wanted to come back,” Belen recalled. “I had emergency open heart surgery, so I had to pick one job. But I missed it here. I loved the hometown feeling I got when I worked here. I decided to leave my other job and come back part-time, so I could care for my husband. Within a year, I went to full-time. It was much less stressful than my other job.”

Belen loves to spend time with her family, including her four grandchildren. She and her husband loved to visit the ocean and would go every chance they had. She has not been back since his death, since she feels she would be too emotional, but hopes to go back one day soon.

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit


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