The three long term employees that were interviewed this month are Lisa Lewis, Etta Owens and David Grody. It’s Lisa’s voice and helpful manner that you hear many times when you call a request to maintenance. You see David in a yellow security pick up; he helps to keep us safe as a security employee. Etta’s official title is Dean of Residents, but she is involved in many day to day events and activities. It is her wonderful smile that we all respond to.
As we celebrate Florida Presbyterian Homes’ 60th year, we asked these three dedicated employees about their first day, a special event and a favorite memory. All three have been employed at FPH for 22 years. We thank them for their faithful commitment to residents and to each other.
What do you remember about your first day?
Lisa: “When I started working I was in housekeeping. Dene Woods was the housekeeping supervisor and Diana McCourty was her assistant. Diana worked with me the first few days, showing me the ropes, and I thought “oh my gosh” what did I get myself into! As that day went on, I met residents and soon decided this is where I belonged. There were special residents like Mrs. Fruit, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. McGrath, Mrs. Patrick and so many more. Dene was a memorable person and supervisor and Diana was such a great mentor.”
Etta: “I was hired as a dietary assistant. I had been working in food service in a prison and was very glad to have a different workplace. When I arrived I had a wonderful welcome, I was met in the parking lot by Betty and Fran Collins and Dorothy and Warren Slack. Then, and even today, I still hear “Miss Etta.”
David: “I had worked here three years as a Lieutenant for a private security agency. When their contract ended I was asked to continue, as a FPH employee. Most of the residents already knew me so it was as if I was already home!”
What would you say was your funniest event or activity?
Lisa: “I remember many functions at FPH, but a certain summer picnic stands out. Lynn Rainey and I were in charge of planning and decorating for the picnic. We created a summer-beach theme. There were so many laughs and everyone had a great time with the funny games.”
Etta: “My favorite memory was of the Christmas parade when I was asked to be the angel (with beautiful, very large, open wings). I was on the very back of the Homes float and Rev. Jim McWhinney was driving the bus that was pulling the float. On the way home they nearly lost me – wings and all! Terri left her seat as Mary and rescued me from low hanging limbs!”
David: “One Christmas I played Santa for the residents. Everyone tried to guess who I was and only one ALF resident guessed correctly!”
Share a favorite day or memory.
Lisa: “I remember when John Hehn was beginning the additions and upgrades to the renovation, colors changed! Instead of all white houses with colored shutters, he asked Rick and me to renovate the units with granite countertops, wood flooring, carpet, etc. and paint colors inside and out. I think that was the most rewarding time for me at FPH.”
Etta: “There are lots of bus stories that come to mind; if only the bus could talk! On one trip, the passenger doors wouldn’t open, only the driver’s door. Someone had a tight schedule and had to get off the bus by climbing out the driver’s door. Maintenance arrived and solved the problem. Every day I’m here brings a new favorite memory!”
David: “Of course my favorite memory was when I met Carol who is a nurse here! Then and now, 22 years later, the residents were and are very supportive of us.”
Lisa: “I feel honored to have worked at the Homes with other employees and residents for over 20 years. I feel like it is being part of a large family and I truly enjoy coming to work every day.”
Etta: “Taking health center residents swimming was and always will be a special time. Volunteers helped where they were needed with the walkers and unsteady participants, but the residents love being in the water and we both enjoy a hug before they were lifted out.” “At FPH I have learned how to live and how to die. Here there is so much wisdom, love, and understanding. Residents allow me to be me. I believe this is where I am sharing God’s plan for me – to love others.”
David: “This has been a wonderful journey and each resident, when you get to know them, is like a ‘living library’.”
— Carol Brown