As a young girl in the central Louisiana city of Alexandria, D’Angela Chew would walk the 18 blocks – about a mile and a half – from her home to the nursing home where her mother worked as a dietary specialist. Yes, D’Angela was eager to say hi to her mom and visit briefly. The residents were even more eager to see the outgoing youngster with a big heart. “They were lonely people. Some never had visitors. My heart went out to them,” said D’Angela, speaking with emotion while remembering the experiences as if they had occurred yesterday. “The residents were so sad and loved it when I showed up. We visited a lot. I made up my mind then that I wanted to go into the caregiving field,” said D’Angela, who was honored in December 2016 as CAREGiver of the Month for the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care® franchise that serves Houston, Bellaire, Missouri City and Sugar Land.D’Angela, who became a CNA in 2004, joined owner Greg Gomez-Mira’s Home Instead franchise in September 2016 following an online job search. “I worked in a lot of nursing homes and assisted-care communities. I also worked in hospice facilities and homes for the mentally challenged. My care for people has ranged from small kids to the elderly,” said D’Angela, who worked in private-duty nursing for more than eight years before joining Home Instead.After all her years of hard work at nursing homes and other facilities, Home Instead’s honor was the first for D’Angela, and she said she was surprised and humbled by it. Staff Coordinator and Office Manager Destiny Wesley said D’Angela’s honor was well-deserved. “D’Angela has been a go-getter since she was hired in September and has not stopped. She is so bubbly and always smiling, a gem of a person and true sweetheart who is a compassionate CAREGiver and has the clients’ best interests at heart,” Destiny noted. “Because of her experience and personality, I am comfortable sending D’Angela to any client because I know she’s capable of handling and taking care of anyone. She is great.”The feeling is mutual. In fact, in D’Angela’s eyes, Home Instead Senior Care is a special employer. “Greg Gomez-Mira is concerned, caring, friendly and sweet,” D’Angela said. “The office staff has prayed for me when I’ve faced adversity. When my car broke down, they stopped what they were doing and came for me. Stacy McClennon, our recruitment and retention coordinator, found a car for me. When I was sick, they called me and checked to see how I was doing and if I needed anything. I feel God sent me to Home Instead Senior Care.”It is not hard for clients and their families to see D’Angela’s strong faith. After a client began an extended hospital stay, a family member sent D’Angela a thank-you card filled with an elaborate note and three pennies joined together. On the pennies was an etched Scripture reference from Matthew 19:26 that said, “With faith, all things are possible.” In the note, the client’s daughter wrote: “I never had the time to describe our family’s love for you. You have never heard us thanking God for His bringing you into our life. You were a godsend to us.”D’Angela explained: “The client was hospitalized and later moved to a facility when I was away, and I never got to say goodbye. She was sweet, but she had dementia and could be challenging. It is the disease, not her. We would bring her ice cream because sometimes it was the only thing that would pacify her. Her husband was not a client, but I would help him when he forgot things. I feel he also needed someone to talk to, and would be waiting when I arrived for the night shift.”No matter the challenge, D’Angela said, “Everyone I work with is a blessing. My aim is always the same: Keep them safe, treat them with dignity and help them remain in their homes.” Referencing her favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, D’Angela said, “ ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ This is my job now; I will go wherever God leads me.”
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