A day of service

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Every day, the staff at the Autumn Care nursing home spends a great deal of time waiting.

Waiting for residents to get up, dressed and clean. Waiting for them to make it to the next activity. Waiting on them when it’s mealtime in the cafeteria.

On Thursday afternoon, however, someone else was waiting for the waiters.

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Armed with food they’d purchased from Lakeland High School’s food service, members of the Suffolk chapter of the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) held a reception for the staff on the organization’s annual day of service, fixing them

lunch. It marked the third consecutive year that the group had done so for the caretakers.

&uot;A friend of mine used to live here,&uot; said event chairman Jeanne Banks, &uot;and when I came to visit her, I noticed how nice the staff was.

&uot;We wanted to come to the staff and show our appreciation for all they do. If I had to live at a nursing home, I would want to live here.&uot;

Nurse Cynise Sarbello and data set coordinator Mary West were blown away by the AARP gesture.

&uot;It feels wonderful that they appreciate us and that they would do this for us,&uot; Sarbello said. &uot;I was excited, because I’ve never been picked for anything in my life.&uot;

&uot;It’s weird, because we rarely get appreciated,&uot; West said jokingly. &uot;It’s very nice that we got good food.&uot;

As the line at the makeshift buffet slowed down, Carol Mitchell prepared for the next group of employees.

&uot;This is a wonderful idea,&uot; she said. &uot;They do so much for the elderly of Suffolk, and we wanted to do something for them.&uot;