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Hickory Ridge STNA is Shining Example of Brian Colleran's A Culture of Care


From L to R: Bob Speelman, Keith Larry, Tyler Larry, Karen Ginder

October 25, 2018
Have you ever met someone in your life, and afterwards you walked away wanting to be a better person? That was my experience today as an STNA at Hickory Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, our 170 bed skilled nursing Facility in Akron, Ohio. Yesterday, I had the honor of working with Keith Larry, a truly amazing caregiver and human being, and I am now a different person because of it.

Keith has been a nursing assistant at Hickory Ridge for 12 years. He got into nurse aide work when his mother in law got cancer in 1992. He cared for her during that difficult time and after she passed he decided that he wanted to continue and care for others the way he cared for his mother-in-law. So in 1993, Keith became an STNA. Now to fully understand the sacrifice that Keith made to follow his heart, you need to know a little more detail. Prior to taking care of his mother-in-law, Keith was a supervisor at Kmart making $15 an hour (in 1992). He gave that up to take care of someone that was very important to him, and become an STNA. At Keith’s first job as an STNA, he made $5.35 an hour. It was a massive decrease financially, but he knew he was doing the right thing.

If that isn’t enough to make you question what you are trying to get out of life and what’s important, let me tell you about Keith’s family. Keith has four sons and four daughters. All four of his sons, and one of his daughters, are nursing assistants. I had the privilege of meeting Tyler, one of his sons, that happened to be working the same day on a different unit. I told Tyler that I was super impressed with his Dad and how invested he is with his residents and making a difference. Tyler’s response blew me away, when he said, “Yeah, I’m blessed.” I love this family, and if you have the opportunity to meet them, I believe you will walk away feeling the exact same way. Here are some of the things the residents had to say about Keith:

“He’s so kind to us. He respects us and we respect him.”
“He takes the time to listen to you.”
“He’s a professional.”
“We are his priority and that’s a wonderful feeling.”

His residents speak highly of him, just like his son does.

I asked Keith who his hero was, without hesitation he said, “My Dad.” In the same way that Tyler spoke of his dad, Keith spoke of his. It was clear his family has a legacy of integrity.

He continued by telling me that his mom and dad have been married for 51 years. His dad, Kenneth Larry, retired from King Machine in Akron and never missed a day of work. Even the days when he wasn’t feeling well, he went to work to make sure his family’s needs were met. Keith credits his work ethic, and passion for caring for his family and others, to his father’s example.

When I asked Keith about his passion, he responded, “caregiving and my family.”

Keith – I love you my friend. I am truly humbled beyond words that we have the privilege of having you and your family work with us. Working with you was a true blessing for me that I will never forget. You are Hickory Ridge and you are Foundations! Thank you for fostering “A Culture of Care.”

Bob Speelman, STNA

Hickory Ridge Website

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