Elvira Ruko, was born and raised on Negros Occidental Island, the fourth largest island in the Philippines. She was the youngest child in a family of two brothers and three sisters. Sadly, she lost both her parents when she was very young. Elvira’s Aunt Fely stepped in and raised her and her siblings. “She did her best to raise a large family,” Elvira recalls.

“I left home when I was 14-years-old and relocated from my aunt’s home in Iloilo City on Panay island to my oldest sister’s home in Binalbagan City, on the Negros Occidental Island. I stayed with my sister until I graduated from high school at 16-years of age,” Elvira adds.

Elvira enrolled at the West Negros University in their Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) undergraduate course. Mid-way through her studies, she met her husband, they married and moved to Brooksville, FL. in 1985.

“It was my mother-in-law who suggested I try my hand at becoming a CNA,” Elvira adds. So she did and in 1987, Elvira graduated as a CNA from an adult education college in Dade City, FL.

“When I graduated, I worked in a nursing home in Brooksville until 1990. It was in 1995, I decided to relocate to Tampa where I landed a CNA job at Countryside Rehab and Healthcare Center, in Palm Harbor, and I’ve been here ever since,” Elvira says.

Elvira’s Core Values are Compassion, Respect, and Integrity.

“I love what I do as a restorative CNA. I received hands-on training from several of the other CNAs here at Countryside and I’m thankful I was given the opportunity. My approach to resident care is to provide a nurturing hand and a reassuring voice while helping the residents with their therapeutic treatments to restore and maintain their highest levels of mobility,” Elvira adds.

As a restorative CNA, Elvira finds that she does make a difference in the lives of her residents.

Elvira extends that same passion and love she shows to her residents and co-workers. Besides, her daily duties as a restorative CNA, she volunteers to raise funds for their annual Christmas party. “For the past two years, I have gone door-to-door selling snacks, candies, soda, cakes, and other knick-knacks to residents and co-workers. So far, this year I’ve raised $2,000. At last year’s fundraising, we had more than enough presents for all our staff and residents. It makes me happy that we have such fun at our annual Christmas party,” Elvira says.

Elvira returns home to the Philippines with her only daughter every three years and stays for at least a month. “I love returning home to Negros Occidental Island. It’s a stunning island with lots of beautiful white sandy beaches, coves, waterfalls, and other natural attractions,” Elvira adds.