Each year, Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. honors caregivers from various facilities throughout East Tennessee that display exemplary skills, knowledge, compassion and rapport with their clients. Among those honored at 2012’s Annual Caring Hearts Recognition Program was Samaritan Place’ Sister Dorothy Cassian.
Sister Dorothy, originally from Tanzania in East Africa, has been in the United States for 6 years, the last two spent with Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. She began as a house supervisor in the Horizon Homes facility and was later transferred to Samaritan Place, where she is a Personal Care Assistant. Program Director Joy McNeil explains that there was some concern about communication between Sister Dorothy, with her East African accent, and the mostly Southern clients, several of whom also have speech issues related to stroke or other trauma. It was also unknown how the overwhelmingly Protestant client base would react to having a nun on staff full time, but Sister Dorothy’s personality, calm demeanor and willingness to do whatever is asked of her without hesitation, has won over both the residents and staff of Samaritan Place and CCETN. “The clients often ask for her by name when needing transportation or assistance,” McNeil says.
In April, Sister Dorothy attended the annual presentation dinner, accompanied by Joy McNeil, and received a certificate for outstanding service. Visitors entering Samaritan Place can now find Sister Dorothy’s name alongside former award recipients, engraved on the Caring Hearts plaque that hangs in the lobby. Congratulations and thank you, Sister Dorothy, for your caring heart!