b'That didnt stop him.I saw a collapsible tandem kayak, he says, laughing. Are you kidding me? He bought the two-piece tandem kayak and brought it s SANTAFE SENIOR LIVING | EAST RIDGE AT CUTLER BAYback to East Ridge. It was such a big, exciting deal for us thatCwe decided to have a christening ceremonyO Vin the pool at East Ridge.I DHe named the boat Sea for Two. On the big Hday, in front of a group of 30 residents, Garyerdemonstrated how to assemble the kayak.toS rh eThe vessel was christened with a bottle ofa ba oa Rc r champagne, placed in the pool, and Gary and his kayaking partner paddled around to the delight of everyone there. He laughs, Thats one of the exciting activities we canH ealth care heroes like Shacara Roberts, a do here! CNA in the isolation wing at East Ridge at While he loves his life here, he admits heCutler Bay, work tirelessly each day bringing had moments of uncertainty when moving.compassion and comfort to quarantined or When I first came to East Ridge, I had asick residents while trying to avoid catching problem, he says.and spreading COVID-19. The CNA role in skilled nursing centers I didnt tell my friends for six months.is critical, says Ken Cormier, Executive I thought theyd think I was in a nursingDirector at East Ridge. In normal times, they home. He continues, But now that Imdo much of the heavy liftingliterally and here, I gotta tell youslam dunkthis wasmetaphorically. In times of crisis like during the best decision I ever made and theresthe COVID pandemic, their job is even more no other option out there for me. crucial because, for many residents, the CNAs are a lifeline. Throughout this pandemic, weve been putting ourselves at risk, says Shacara. But we took a pledge to serve and care for these people, and thats what Im going to continue to dono matter what.Each day, Shacara suits up in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that includes an ISO gown, N95 mask, face shield, gloves and headgear to take care of her residents. Every day is an unknown, she says. We dont know what were facing from one day to the next, but weve become family to our residents, and thats a real upside to everything weve experienced this past year. Knowing we are helping to fill a void for them makes it all worth it. I wouldnt change it for the world.Shacara said she never questioned or expressed hesitation when asked to work in the isolation wing. I am called to serve, she says.So, I serve where I am needed.7'