Sherry Roper, a housekeeper at John Evans Supportive Living, received the 2017 Outstanding Caregiver Award during an awards presentation in Springfield this month.

The Outstanding Caregiver Award is given to a direct care worker over the age of 55 who has provided outstanding caregiving in Illinois senior housing. The award is presented by the Illinois Department on Aging and the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition.

Each year, judges review nominations for remarkable caregivers from across the state — and determining the five winners is a difficult task, said Jean Bohnhoff, director of the state’s aging department.

“These five individuals truly deserve honor and recognition for the work they do,” Bohnhoff said. “Their exceptional work not only demonstrates their dedication, devotion, and commitment to helping others, but has also touched and continues to touch, the lives of countless residents across the state.”

Melanie Daniels, the administrator at the affordable assisted living community Gardant manages in Pekin, Illinois, wrote this nomination letter for Sherry:

“I am honored to nominate Sherry for the Outstanding Caregiver Award. When deciding which employee to nominate, Sherry’s name did not readily come to mind. This is not because Sherry does not do an outstanding job, but because it is easy to forget she is over the age of 55 – considerably older, actually, at the age of 66. She has the enthusiasm and spirit of someone half her age.

Although she now only works one day a week, it is a day that everyone looks forward to. Her smile and cheerful nature spreads through the community like sunshine. She arrives like a breath of fresh air. After her years working as a housekeeper, she has learned the little “extras” that each resident likes, whether it is extra carpet shampooing for Jackie or extra polishing and dusting of Bonnie’s angel collection. She knows that it is the little things that make a big difference.

Sherry is always gentle, patient and caring with everyone she encounters and is always happy to go above and beyond to make others happy. She makes crafts in her free time and is always happy to bring them in on her days off for the residents to share and enjoy. She has the same caring nature with our staff. She is an example of her faith, not by words or “preaching”, but by her patient listening skills and concern for others.

I am privileged to know and work with Sherry, even if it is only one day a week. It is one day that makes a big impact on everyone!”

Visit the Illinois Department on Aging website for more information about Roper and other honorees who go above and beyond to help seniors.

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