How do you describe a person who inspires everyone that works with her to be more patient, understanding and compassionate?
Jean is one of our housekeepers at Friendship Towers Assisted Living Apartments and is a human dynamo.
Hard Work is No Match for Jean
Raised in Eastern Kentucky, growing up the baby of a large family of 11, she has known a lifetime of hard work, yet she never slows down.
When Jean was 16 she had to drop out of High School to take care of her father with stage 4 cancer. Jean went to work and would cash her check to give her father to help support her family. Jean’s dad would give her back $10 so she could buy gas. “I am so happy I had the opportunity to relieve him of some stress” said Jean.
Jean has lovingly cared for 2 boys who are no relation to her for the last 15 years, raising them with their grandmother when the boys’ mother was arrested and jailed for drug possession. She has been the constant loving support in their lives which has helped them grow into fine young men. Jean has spent her last dollar on these boys making sure they didn’t want at Christmas, Birthdays and school necessities.
Walking into Sayre Christian Village 13 years ago, she has made Sayre her home away from home. “Jean is the daughter I never had, said one resident. She even cooks me some of my favorite foods.”
Always working with a smile, Jean gives unconditionally of herself to the residents day in and day out. “I really love my job, these residents are my family and I will do anything they need me to do and I don’t ever want to quit” she told me.
Above and Beyond is Second Nature
Jean has scraped ice off of their cars, carried in their groceries and put them away and even gives the residents her number to call in case they need her.
She brings the residents their favorite fast foods when “they get a hankering”, fixes broken items, hangs pictures, and most importantly of all, sits and listens to their stories.
“Every person here has a different story and each person here needs someone to be interested enough to sit down and listen to those stories.”
Love Is the Most Important Part of the Job
“I feel like this is the most important thing that I do. A clean apartment is important, but making sure a person knows they are loved, respected and known, is what gives them hope….that is what I do.”
Jean is treasured by all the residents in her care and after they pass she makes sure to attend each and every visitation.
I asked Jean how she manages to care for so many people with such love and compassion and she said, “It’s just how my daddy raised me is all.”
“She gives the best back rubs ever, that’s what she does and I can’t imagine how she does it. She cleans my apartment top to bottom and makes it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. She wants to make us happy, she is really and truly the best” said another resident.
Never complaining about her own troubles, her aches and pains, the tough blows life has dealt her, she considers it a privilege to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer and are lonely and sad. There is nothing of self to be seen in anything that Jean does, only a reflection of the one she loves most, Jesus.
Jean’s energy, enthusiasm for life, ability to serve, and capacity to love has made her one of the only truly selfless people we have ever met, with a great big caring heart. She is living the mission of Sayre Christian Village each and every day.