I welcome the New Year and Thank you all for the blessing of the Season. God has been gracious to me over the 25 years since we founded CaraVita back in November 1998. As we continue in our celebration of our 25th year, I want to share why I founded CaraVita, and then celebrate with some of the wonderful CaraVita care partners who have worked with us for over 10 years. Long ago as a teenager, I was confounded with the same dilemma many of my clients face. I was caring for a grandmother who imagined things and stayed up all night. She did not understand how to tell me things that were troubling her but simply got angry. Well, her aged little chihuahua was no better as she stayed under her bed nipping at my ankles every time, I had to put Florene back in the bed. As a 17-year-old wanting a date night or just to hang out on the phone, nights sitting with Grandma were tough. I got no sleep and struggled with many a bathroom dilemma or even worse Florene getting out of bed all night long and me tying sheets (God forgive me) to keep her in. But, eventually at 20 I left Armstrong in Savannah and went off to Georgia State College leaving my mother to manage this, plus my other grandparents who lived with my family. Yes, we were probably one of the first personal care communes on one piece of land with extended apartments off of our house. This endless sea of diapers on clotheslines flapping in the wind, keeping Florene from going down fire escape steps and helping her till she passed, getting my grandmother in a real personal care home, and caring for my granddad at home took its toll on my mother. You see no matter how selfless you are, sometimes journeying with Dementia and Parkinson’s is difficult. I realized seeing the health toll on my mom, that caregivers need help. So, I embarked on a career-long journey of learning all I could to help people in these transition times. God Blessed me with His purpose of caregiving and service. I asked for wisdom to know how to provide care the very best I could to rehabilitate, assist, and commune with those who had cognitive and physical challenges. He has blessed me in founding CaraVita after graciously providing for my career in several hospitals and industry-leading senior living/skilled rehab, and therapy companies across this nation. When my last company TheraTx was sold, I decided that I needed to bring this type of service to Metro Atlanta and stop burning out airplane seats traveling to far away senior living/rehab sites. As I shared my vision with my husband Mark, a great wordsmith, he suggested our company name, CaraVita. CaraVita means Care of precious life. Our calling is just that … caring for precious individuals. Our mission would be to help people transition from hospital to home or journey with a diagnosis where they need just the right amount of knowledge and assistance to help them. But to do that I needed a professional team of nurses and therapists to train and guide our caregivers. I want a professional hand in hand working with caregivers and families. And thus, we have. Over the years I can say thousands have come and gone through our ranks. Some have even risen in the healthcare ranks to become nurses, senior living executives, or a founder of a respite movement. Over the years, in-home care has changed and grown, but we still believe that our commitment to serve as God would intend us to serve makes us who we are. Today I want to celebrate those who I know have been with us for over 10 years. Now I admit some may have worked more as we just started keeping great records when there was a lot of time in the 2009 recession. If you read this and know your dates are more, or if you have taken a break and want to join us in working again, you need to let me recognize that because all your years are golden.They are 17 years, Helen Tisdale! At 15 or greater Catherine Kahoro, Janie Wallce, Lizzie Ngigi. At 12-13 years they are Anne Githuto, Karleen Bogues, Jane Shalom, Sarah Tannoh Price, Thopollo Mutasa, Benetta Bailey, and Rachel Nyingi. At 10-11 years they are Dorthy Greaves, Marian Adepoju, and Caroline Owolabi. We have some who have retired or moved to be with family. I miss them like Anna. Another ten will roll over to ten years this year. We have 56 who have been with us for over 5 years! And almost a hundred over 2 years! We and our clients are blessed to have such selfless servants. I have such stories to tell with each of them. One I remember that I was told by a client, that she was a little on the ”in charge side” and could I speak with her about that. I told the caregiver, that I know we are all gifted in certain ways, but that God made her client different, so we needed to try to meet the client’s needs and it worked. Another I shared with how her angelic singing made the transition a peaceful and beautiful place. Another shared how she thought the client (as I did my grandmother) was deliberately mean. I shared the virtual dementia tour, and her eyes were opened and have been ever since. All great teaching moments to a staff who grew and learned well. This brings me to my last wish for CaraVita. Before I stop teaching, I will have given all I have learned in my journey of health care and caregiving to those who will come after me. Because that is what caregiving is all about…. Caring for others with knowledge and skill that will make a difference in the lives of those they serve. Because as I say, for the grace of God it may be me one day who needs them.