Sandy is there when you need her, and there even when you don’t realize that you do. She is the rare person who wants to help anyone. From door monitor and utility aid, to now activities director, Sandy steps into any role that she needs to. After 19 years at Piketon Nursing Center in Piketon, OH, she has truly affected the life of each resident she has met.
Many things have changed over the last two decades that Sandy has been working in healthcare. However, one thing that has not changed is Sandy’s drive and energy for her work. Even though she started out as a utility aid, Sandy quickly realized that she could do more for her residents in other areas. Having the ability to be anywhere and do anything that was needed is what motivated her to move into the activities role. Sandy has often been told “God placed her here” because she was born to help people. She loves knowing that she has helped someone, and it makes her “feel good in her heart”. She is also fascinated by what she learns about her residents by just spending time with them.
Sandy’s love for her residents shows in her extreme efforts to plan activities that don’t just engage them, but make them feel cared for and show them that their needs matter. We asked Sandy what types of activities she likes to plan and she said, “Anything that meets their needs. Fishing, shopping, picnics by the lake, I just try to keep everyone happy”. Residents really seem to enjoy the activities that revolve around cooking and eating delicious foods though. Sandy will work with the residents to make pancakes on the griddle, or meatballs and cabbage in the skillet. Her favorite activity so far has been the garden club, where residents plant seeds and then cook fried green tomatoes from the garden.
Although it can be difficult to satisfy everyone’s requests, Sandy always finds a way to make everyone happy with her creativity. She is not only successful with the events that she plans, but also the relationships that she builds. For Sandy, she is driven by her residents and the special place that they hold in her heart. When some residents don’t have family members nearby, it’s comforting for Sandy to hear residents tell her, “You are like family”. Sandy would do anything for her residents and what motivates her to come to work each day is thinking about whom she can help next.
Sandy believes that out of all of our Core Values, Integrity and doing the right thing, is the most important. She said, “I don’t like when people say ‘that’s not my job’. I would do anything, wherever I am needed”. Sandy even cuts and sometimes colors hair for residents. And when some of them don’t have money, she will take money out of her own pocket to help them. She is absolutely one of kind.
Sandy once had a resident whom she grew very attached to. She fixed her hair regularly, and really got to know her. When that resident passed away, the family asked Sandy if she would fix her hair for the funeral. They said that she always looked beautiful when Sandy did her hair. Sandy did not hesitate to step in and do this favor. She said, “It was the last thing that I could do for her”.
Sandy plans to stay at Piketon until she one day retires. When that day comes, she hopes to be remembered as “irreplaceable”. There is no question whether or not Sandy will be remembered this way, as she is already irreplaceable to us today. Thank you Sandy for changing the lives of our residents, and dedicating your life to them.