Martha Velasquez joined the team at Avamere Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Malley in 1976, before the community was even a part of the Avamere family.
After 43 years of wonderful service as a CNA, restorative aid, and mentor, she is now enjoying her well-earned retirement.
“Martha was such an important part of our Restorative Program and always brought smiles to everyone’s faces,” said Laura Desroches, Payroll & Benefits Coordinator at Avamere Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Malley.
Martha loved all her roles, but especially her work as a restorative aide, because it challenged her. Her favorite part was seeing patient improvement.
“It was really rewarding to me as people went home,” she said.
The Avamere family in Malley is more than just a workplace for Maria – it’s a family affair! Her sister Maria worked there for 39 years, her nephew Johnny for 30 years, and her nephew Michael for almost six years.
Avamere family support
Martha’s world changed on July 3, 2017 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she wasn’t in this journey alone. Avamere staff at Malley rallied around her and participated in events in her honor.
They raised money and participated in a run to show their support. And they were there for her on the job too.
Dietary staff offered crackers or soda when they noticed she was nauseous, and therapists encouraged her to keep exercising. And when she returned to work following her mastectomy, they created a job just for her as a CNA mentor while she recovered.
“I had all their support,” Martha said. “It made me stronger when I was feeling down and weak. They motivated me and gave me the courage to keep going.”
Martha recently celebrated one year being cancer-free. After three months of chemo and a mastectomy, she was free of breast cancer on September 11, 2018.
A grand sendoff
Martha treasured her time at Avamere. One of her favorite memories was Halloween. Each unit decorated in their own theme, and the patients and residents would vote on their favorite. Martha remembered one Halloween where one side was Wizard of Oz and the other was Peter Pan – and the employees dressed the part.
She also loved joining the patients and residents in dancing. She loved seeing them enjoy the activities.
When it came time for her to retire after 43 wonderful years of service, the team provided a carne asada meal for all employees and residents on May 16. She officially retired a month later on June 15, 2019.
Thinking back on her 43 years, Martha is endlessly grateful for her team.
“I would like to thank everybody at Avamere,” she said. “Everybody was so good to me.”
Thank you, Martha, for 43 years of selfless work, love, and dedication to your team and patients. It’s people like you that make Avamere a wonderful place to work and live.