The Caring Force Blog Workforce Hero Spotlight: Ron Bernard

The Caring Force is pleased to announce that our next TCF Hero Spotlight honoree is Ron Bernard, a Nutrition Program Meal Service Manager at Bristol Elder Services. Ron runs the Meals on Wheels program, ensuring that every consumer receives a meal every day during this challenging time. Described as a dedicated team player, Ron does whatever is needed to help the Nutrition Program.

Here is what Ron said when we asked him about his career:

How did you decide to pursue a career in human services?

“I started off in the medical equipment field after high school.  I did this for over 30 years in various positions with various companies.  I have always enjoyed working with the public and helping them as much as possible.  When I applied for the Nutrition Program Meal Service Manager job, I knew it would be a change, but I knew I would still be helping people by making sure they were safe and had food to eat.  I really wanted to be more hands on.  I knew that I would be helping our most vulnerable population and that makes me feel humbled.

Through the years I have seen firsthand what a positive impact we make on older adults.  To know, that for many homebound elders, we are the only person that they see and that is inspiring.  I try to instill in the nutrition staff what an honor it is to be that person who is making a change in an elder’s day.

In my current position I am always thinking of the wonderful work that everyone in the Nutrition Program does.  Many are retired and want to give back to the community.  I never take for granted the fine work that they do, and I always try to be there for them should they have any concerns or issues.  Once you see the struggles that some people live with it makes you appreciate what you have.”

Your work has been impacted a lot by the pandemic, how have you coped with this challenge?

“First and foremost, I wanted to be sure that we could continue to do our work in a safe manner for both the homebound elders and also our staff that is there everyday and makes the nutrition program run smoothly.  I have learned new ways of working remotely while still being able to do my job to the very best.  Thirty-five employees and agencies deliver meals for Bristol Elder Services, and I have worked diligently with management to be sure that everyone has the PPE needed to do their job daily.

My style is to maintain a calm and caring demeanor with everyone so that they feel secure in carrying out the much-needed work for the population we serve.  I stay very positive and always try to have a smile on my face and greet everyone every day.  If needed, I will go into the field myself and deliver meals.  I really enjoy making people laugh so if one of my employees come in feeling down, by the time they leave they are smiling.  The way I have coped with this pandemic is to continually remind myself that there are a lot of people depending on me to get these meals delivered and I do not want to let anyone down.  Knowing I am getting this done motivates me and keeps me going.”

Share with us how you have gotten through the most challenging workday during this pandemic.

I try to take a deep breath and trust that my efforts have made a difference in the lives of both the elders we serve and also my employees.  I have gotten through the most challenging workday by staying focused on what needs to be done.  I also prioritize the tasks at hand.  I always take a step back and try to put myself in my employee’s shoes.  I pride myself in being a team player.  I ask myself how I would feel if this were me.  I am then able to tackle what needs to be done.  I am so fortunate to be able to still work during this pandemic.

Do you have a question for the next spotlight honoree?

In your experience what is needed to build a rewarding employee experience?

Thank you to Ron and all the other tireless staff helping to provide services to clients and families throughout the pandemic. You are the Commonwealth’s human services heroes!

The Caring Force will be publishing additional workforce spotlights through the pandemic in an effort to raise the voices of workers on the front lines. If you know someone who inspires clients and embodies the spirit of The Caring Force, please nominate them by emailing Ravi Simon at rsimon@providers.org.

 

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