Denise Murphy can’t say enough about two young men who came to the rescue during last week’s snow storm.
As the director of resident care of Upper Canada Lodge, she woke up to a different world that Monday morning, and wasn’t sure how she, or anyone else, would get to the long-term care home on Wellington Street.
“The first thing I asked myself when I looked out the window is how is anybody going to get to work.”
While many businesses could remain closed and let employees enjoy a snow day, staff at long-term care homes are essential — without them, residents wouldn’t be fed or given the daily care that is a necessity, she says.
Murphy, who lives on Dixie Avenue in Chautauqua, was relieved to get a phone call from Lori Sentineal, one of the nurses at the home, to say her son would pick Murphy up.
Lori’s son Wyatt had woken her up early, knowing how important it was for her to get to work and ready to drive her, and he then offered to help Murphy.
“I walked to the top of Dixie,” she says, knowing he wouldn’t have made it down the street.
But that wasn’t all — he spent the day driving around in his pick-up truck getting Upper Canada Lodge staff to work, through two shifts, with his friend, Maksat Shasaparov, travelling with him. They often had to help shovel around the door and walkway so the person they were chauffeuring to work could get to the truck, and to help them over the snow banks.
“We wouldn’t have had any staff without them,” says Murphy. “Thanks to them every resident received full care,” and not only that, “they even got the cooks to work, and residents also had a hot breakfast.”
It was also important that family members who couldn’t get to the home knew the staff were at work looking after their loved ones, she says.
“I just started off planning to get my mom to work,” says Wyatt. “I know that with the job she does, she doesn’t get snow days.”
As staff called the lodge saying they couldn’t get there, Wyatt took their addresses, and went to get them, travelling to Virgil, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines to pick them up.
He works at Niagara Falls Craft Distillers, and checked in there, but other than that was going non-stop until late afternoon.
Shasaparov is an international student from Turkmenistan, who has lived with the Sentineals for about five years, and works with Wyatt. He graduated from Vineridge Academy, and is continuing his education, but was happy to help out.
“It was an exhausting day,” says Wyatt. “It was difficult to get through the snow, and I had to stay focused on driving. I got stuck a few times, but there was always someone to help us out, and we got about 10 cars out for others who were stuck. It was definitely a long day, but there were others who had a much worse day than we did.”