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May Day 2020 Remarks by Jennifer Wenk

May Day 2020 remarks by Jennifer Wenk, Vice President of Admissions, Social Work and Business Development at Cassena Care: 

Thank you Ann, for giving us the opportunity to be here and participate as we celebrate such an important day – May Day.

I am so pleased to be able to introduce someone who really embodies the workforce for which she represents.

Jacqueline Lord is a Certified Nursing Assistant and has been employed by Workmen’s Circle Multi Care Center for 21 years – yes 21 years. I marvel at this because in this day and age sometimes it is hard to retain an employee for 1 year let alone 21 years. 

Jacqueline has been an 1199 union delegate for 6 years. She is the union representative of our employee workforce.

For the majority of the 21 years – and when I say majority I mean 19  years – she has worked on our dementia unit.  While this can be rewarding work, it can also be extremely challenging. The patients she cares for have memory deficits, require assistance with the majority of their care, and can sometimes exhibit behaviors as a result of the dementia. To work on such a unit, an employee must participate in specific training. Ms. Lord took on this challenge and found that she was meant to work with this population.

Ms. Lord is caring, compassionate, warm, kind, funny.  These are the words easily used to describe her. She is always willing to help in any facility event in Workmen’s Circle. She is regarded by all of her co-workers, residents, and family members. So much so that she has been employee of the month multiple times.

There is another word I need to use to describe Ms. Lord. A hero.

While she admits she was very nervous about coming in to work during this time period, it didn’t deter her, and it didn’t stop her.

She cared for all of her residents as though they were her family – as she always has. But ever moreso during the pandemic as families were not able to visit. 

I need to say that while Workmen’s Circle did an excellent job identifying symptoms, treating and healing residents, designating specific COVID units, and providing staff with the appropriate PPE as we have learned there are asymptomatic patients who can have the virus.

Ms. Lord and her colleagues entered the rooms to render care to their residents whether they were COVID positive or not. And while they were worried, anxious, scared, they still showed up every day – for 12 hour shifts – and took care of their residents.  

I don’t just call them caregivers – they are superheroes.  

Let us please honor the heroes such as Jacqueline Lord in long term care, risking themselves everyday for the sake of the residents.