Heroes Among Us

What is a hero and who are the people we make heroes?

A hero is someone who we determine to have demonstrated behaviors and decisions that are ethically and emotionally worthy of our awe. A hero is someone who inspires us by their example. Someone who moves us emotionally. Many times, they overcome a tragedy or survive a horrendous calamity. Their actions tell us that is it possible to overcome whatever comes our way. They connect with us personally by surviving and thriving.

Many times, a hero does not understand why they are being exalted merely for doing what they believed, and thought was correct and right. They did not think at the moment or during the episode, “if I do this, I will be loved and adored forever.” They simply did what was in them. They placed other people’s well being before and above their own.

Heroes, by example, show us that anything is possible. Heroes demonstrate a courage that is not common in the average populace. Heroes find strength to overcome adversity and thrive. Heroes come in many ages, shapes and sizes. Many of our heroes are everyday folks like you and me.

Recently, we honored two FTJ employees with the “Hero Award.” They did something so outstanding we actually created a new award, called the “Hero Award,” because our normal, standard awards just seemed to pale in comparison for their amazing actions.

Why were they honored? A resident in one of our dining rooms was choking on a piece of food. The dining server tried her best to help but just couldn’t seem to get the food dislodged. A maintenance employee was in the next room working on a job, so the dining server called him over to help. He immediately started the Heimlich maneuver on the resident. She was barely able to breath and was losing consciousness. After a third try, the food was dislodged, and she started breathing. It was a scary moment, and without the swift, heroic action of the dining server and maintenance employee, she would have died.

One of our residents wrote: “I would like to recognize an amazing team effort by Jeanie a dining server at the Tobey Jones Building and Steve from maintenance. Jeanine sprang into action when a resident began seriously choking. She called to Steve who was working in the next room and asked him to call health care while she worked with the resident. He made the call as he rushed in and applied the Heimlich maneuver. Very quickly two staff people arrived from health care and found the resident had begun responding…thanks to Jeanie and Steve. The whole scary scene was handled calmly, competently and compassionately. Franke Tobey Jones at its best!!”

Another resident wrote: “On January 9th a resident choked and needed the Heimlich procedure. Jeanie called Steve and between them they handled the incident in a very calm and professional manner. Jeanie stayed with the woman for a while to make sure she was all right. I was pleased to see how professional the staff handled this emergency.”

And, the resident said, “On January 9 I started choking and was unable to cough out a small piece of food. This might have ended my life as I could not breathe! Jeanie saw my situation and called Steve. Steve came in a hurry and immediately started the Heimlich maneuver. I was able to breathe, finally. Steve is a keeper! I nominate him for an award!”

Over the past ten years that I have worked here, I’ve always marveled at our incredible staff. We are so blessed at FTJ to have team members that selflessly and truly care from their hearts for our residents each and every day. It was a true blessing to hear about the heroism of Jeanie and Steve saving a resident’s life.

The dictionary defines “hero” as “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.” Heroes come in many forms in life, ranging from one’s family and friends to athletes to movie stars. We are blessed at FTJ to have every day heroes in our midst, that give from their hearts and never expect a thank you and are even embarrassed to accept such an award.

Thank you Jeanie Rogalski and Steve Barrett for your selfless courage, your passion, humility and caring. We honor you with our first ever FTJ “Hero Award!”

Categories: Uncategorized