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Heroes on the frontlines

Day in and day out, frontline heroes are serving in the communities of the most vulnerable throughout the current pandemic. Within the walls of Buckner Retirement Services senior living communities, these heroes continue to keep the health, safety and happiness of residents and Members as their top priority.

Among the many staff members, Derone Martin, chef at Buckner Parkway Place in Houston, Texas, has been serving in the senior living industry for more than a decade. Derone adapted how he typically obtains products, as well as schedules and delivers meals to residents in these unprecedented times.

“I practice more patience in my position as the pandemic continues,” Derone said. “Menus are changing day to day, whereas we used to have a schedule of meals. We are having to think outside the box to obtain products that are not as easy to receive as they used to be because of the pandemic, and delivering meals to resident doors is a more tedious process now in order to mitigate risks.”

Derone is thankful for the support system he has at Parkway Place and is proud of his culinary team for their servant hearts and devotion to coworkers and residents.

“I am so proud of my team and the attitudes they have when they come into work every day. They are heroes, serving one of the most at-risk populations and their associates with a smile and pride in the job they do,” he said.

Shannon Hohmann, certified nurse’s assistant at Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, Texas, started working as a CNA on March 16, right as the pandemic began, making for a memorable beginning to a new career.

Shannon works in memory care, helping residents work through the pandemic, as many of them do not understand daily why they are unable to see their family members.

“It is hard to watch them struggle to remember and understand,” she shared. “My job is to care for them and make sure they feel safe inside their home during a time that is so confusing and difficult for all of us. Their fears and anxieties about why their family members cannot come see them are real and I am trying to help them understand where those are coming from each day.”

Puzzles, bingo, singing and dancing are activities Shannon uses to bring residents out of a negative mindset and bring joy to their day.

“We have fun together and seeing the joy on their faces makes my job easier,” she said. “Making them happy makes me happy, and I cannot think of a better way to spend my workdays.”

In Dallas at Ventana by Buckner, Elizabeth Niksich serves as the health and wellness director. She is a source of encouragement and positivity for all Ventana Members during a time where maintaining a healthy fitness regimen is of utmost importance.

“Rejoicing in the success that the Members make in managing health conditions and improving the performance and quality of their lives is so important,” Elizabeth said.

From 20-mile bike rides alongside a Member, to simply helping another onto a bike, Elizabeth said watching her members stay healthy and reach goals keeps her smiling and motivated for work during these uncertain times.

Heroes walk the halls of all six Buckner Retirement Communities in Texas. They are working diligently and serving wholeheartedly to keep residents feeling safe, healthy and cared for. Inspiring happiness when times are scary make these workers COVID-19 pandemic frontline heroes.

See how Buckner is shining hope and inspiring happiness during a pandemic. To see how you can help vulnerable children, families and seniors during these uncertain times, go to our Volunteer Central and see available opportunities to shine hope in your community. 

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