Celebrate Nurses, Teachers, Older Americans

By: Sterling House and Clare Bridge of Valparaiso Last Updated: May 15, 2012

Brookdale-Andrea-CoveyLast week was National Nurses Week and National Teacher Appreciation Week. I love that those two professions are honored in the same week. Even though the week is over now-I’d like to go right on with the appreciation. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am of course a nurse-so I am a little biased…

There are professions and then there are lifelong commitments. I think nurses and teachers both fall in to the latter category. Almost everyone I know from either of those fields continues to identify with that role long after they have officially retired. Perhaps it is because people are often born to those professions and have always lived them out in some way.

As we continue to celebrate Older Americans during this month of May (although like nurses and teachers- we celebrate them all year), there are two Brookdale residents who had wishes related to their lifelong professions that I want to tell you about.

The first one is Polly Payne, a retired nurse from the Sterling House of Shelby in Shelby North Carolina. Polly’s wish was simple: She wanted the chance to do her job one more time.

Payne retired from Cleveland Regional Medical Center after a 35-year career in nursing. The staff at the Sterling House helped to get her wish granted- to be a nurse again for the morning. Payne, dressed in her nursing cap and navy blue cape, went back to Cleveland Regional to help with a blood pressure screen.

It will come as no surprise to most nurses that Polly still had her cap and her cape. As far as getting right back in to the role-I think the look on her face said it all. Once a nurse always a nurse, bet the people she screened got accurate readings! Polly said she has always wanted to help people and was grateful for the opportunity. Polly, we are grateful for your many years of taking care of others!

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The second person I want to highlight is a retired teacher named Andrea Covey. Andrea is a passionate 66 year old woman who currently lives at Richmond Place Health and Rehabilitation in Lexington, Kentucky. Her Wish of a Lifetime is to revisit Maxwell Hill Elementary School in Beckley, West Virginia and bring closure to her 39 year teaching career that was cut short due to a stroke 6 years ago.

Andrea taught multiple subjects at Maxwell for over 39 years. One day while driving into work, she suffered a stroke that caused her to be unable to return to the job that she loved so much. She was never able to go back and clean off her desk, talk to any of the faculty, or say goodbye to the students that she loved so much. These children meant the world to her and it has been extremely difficult for Andrea to have this piece of her life still left unresolved.

Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime, with the help of Maxwell Hill Elementary's Principal, Mr. Farley, arranged for a surprise party for Andrea, hosting parents, former students, colleagues, and friends. The local news even showed up! Andrea was presented with a plaque honoring and thanking her for her service in the schools, and reconnected with many special people from her past. Andrea says she "will never forget the experience." That’s Andrea below with Principle Farley. I bet her students still remember her fondly! Andrea, thanks for the difference you have made in so many lives. Where would we be without our teachers?

See more photos on our Facebook page at : http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150884006683324.450452.39853283323&type=1

So, to all the Pollys and Andreas out there-thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You make the world a better place every day and we appreciate you now and always.

Be Well on Purpose!