In a world that could benefit from more positive stories recognizing and celebrating the everyday contributions of good people, we decided to reach out to Butterfield residents and employees to learn who they observe actively making a difference. The question posed was intentionally broad, “Who inspires and impresses you through their actions, accomplishments and, importantly, how they make you feel?” We received an array of responses, but there were a few nominations that fell into a particular theme of caring for others’ emotional and physical health and wellbeing – a very important part of BTV community life. For our first edition of “Someone I Admire,” we have three vignettes to share.
Nominated by Martha Westberg and Chris Hale
Patricia Poertner is an undeniably special part of the fabric that makes up Butterfield. Her tenure on campus spans an impressive 17 years, where she serves as the senior director of resident services and as a social worker for independent living residents.
Long-time BTV resident Martha Westberg said, “I nominate Patricia because she welcomes everybody into her presence with a smile. She is patient to hear things she has probably heard a hundred times and she has a heart which wants the best for everyone.”
And not only residents appreciate Patricia – her coworkers clearly recognize her value, too. Butterfield Executive Assistant Chris Hale works a few steps down the hall from Patricia and sees the kind of person her colleague is every day. “Patricia always presents a professional, helpful and Christian way of handling every situation. I admire her work ethic and her calmness under pressure! She is such a valuable asset to Butterfield Trail Village!”
When asked why her work is fulfilling to her, Patricia’s story dates back to childhood. “I’ve wanted to be a social worker since I was in first or second grade, so I have to believe that the Lord put that desire to help others in my heart. At the end of each day, knowing that God has been able to use me to help even one person is such a great feeling.”
Patricia has learned a lot about people through her role, and those lessons have made her very compassionate towards others. She said, “Over the years, I’ve worked with folks from one end of the financial spectrum to the other, and the most important needs are pretty much the same for everyone. Obviously, having money eliminates the problems of paying rent and utilities, or buying food. But aside from that, people are people. We all want to be loved and accepted, and we want to have purpose for our lives. We all face illness, loss and our own mortality, and we all need help at one point or another. It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to provide that help and support when it is needed.”
Over the years, Patricia has received encouragement from many people through her work and she takes what they say very much to heart. Describing what invigorates her, Patricia jokes, “Most recently, I have had residents tell me I can’t retire as long as they are still here. Needless to say, that blesses me and keeps me motivated. It’s also problematic, since I’m older than some of our residents!”
Nominated by Lenora Metz
There are some people with a personality or a sense of purpose that make them impossible to miss. Those who know Jay Green, Butterfield’s director of healthcare services, know he possesses both of those characteristics. It is important to be passionate about what you do when you’re responsible for the oversight of multiple healthcare settings, and Jay ably conveys that to residents, their families and among his coworkers.
Butterfield resident Lenora Metz admires what she has observed about Jay, and had this to say, “Jay is always upbeat and helpful. He inspires confidence in the residents when we hear him give healthcare updates at our Town Hall meetings and when he answers our questions. We can tell that he appreciates the hard work of his team. Having a great director of healthcare is very important to a place like Butterfield. Jay is well respected not only at BTV, but also in the local community.”
Jay is very thoughtful about why his role matters and the responsibility he feels. He said, “The kind of work I do is important for me on a personal level because it fulfills an inward desire to provide service to my fellow humans. It matters to me if I can help make even the smallest part of someone’s day bright, and helps me feel I am fulfilling my part of a greater mission.” He gained some of that perspective from his own father, “It wasn’t really something he said, it was more of my father’s example. He showed me that just the slightest bit of humility and humbleness will take you far.”
Jay has learned a thing or two in his role and through simply living life, “I have been amazed that you can never really know someone until they are in a time of crisis. Some people surprise you by rising to the occasion, and some people unfortunately reveal a different tone. I will also say, you truly cannot judge a book by its cover! This is where the Lord wants me. I used to scoff when I would hear this kind of work is a calling – but I can tell you after thirteen years, it truly is a calling by the highest power I know.”
Nominated by Tonya Tabor
An especially heartfelt recommendation submitted by certified nursing assistant (CNA) Tonya Tabor about coworker and fellow CNA Chelsey Freeman really speaks to the core of what makes Butterfield special. Tonya is typically found in the Special Care Center with patients who are experiencing cognitive health disorders, but she occasionally works in the Health Care Center and shadows Chesley during a shift. She said, “Chelsey is so present with her patients, even when things can get difficult. She has a unique level of compassion that draws others out of their shell and puts them at ease. The people she helps in the Health Care Center automatically respond to her and she makes everyone feel important. When Chelsey tells me something, I know it’s the truth and it helps me to feel more competent myself.”
Chelsey is humble about the impact she has on others, but she also recognizes that her 16-year career as a CNA is something she was truly meant to do. She began taking CNA classes while she was still in high school. At the same time, Chelsey helped to provide at-home care for her grandmother, who encouraged her in every possible way but eventually passed away from an aggressive form of cancer. She insists there are a million reasons why she loves her work, but it really boils down to having a life passion for caring for people and being there for them when they need someone most. “It’s important to me to be a person my patients know, connect with and are happy to see so they might feel less anxious or worried about what they may be going through.”
Chelsey maintains a strong sense of responsibility for everybody she serves, but especially for those nearing end of life – and family members who surround them. “Being there and completely present during someone’s last days and hours means so much. It is a really big deal to have a family’s trust when you care for their loved one. It’s everything, really.” Chelsey has been a part of the BTV team since 2016.