Manitoulin Lodge staff member, resident honoured with prestigious awards

GORE BAY—Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home staff member Laurie Turley has been nominated for a prestigious award, while Lodge resident Millie Belanger has been honoured with an award for ‘Making a Difference in the Lives of Others.’

Laurie Turley, a personal support worker (PSW), has been nominated for the Jarlette Health Services Roberta Jarlette Award “for going above and beyond as a staff member.”

At a ceremony held at Manitoulin Lodge on November 3, Jamie-Lynn Kalmikov, administrator of the Lodge and activities coordinator Gloria Hall, recognized Ms. Turley for being nominated. “Honoured guests, residents, staff, family and friends. Let me tell you a little about Laurie and why she deserves the Roberta Jarlette Award.”

“Laurie Turley is one of the most caring people that I know. She is kind and compassionate,” said Ms. Hall. “She goes above and beyond for her residents without complaining and takes their needs into consideration before her own needs. She makes sure they are properly dressed, their hair is combed, glasses and hearing aids work. She is very resident focused and takes time to create relationships with residents and is family-oriented as opposed to facility-oriented. She makes the residents living here feel like they are at home.” 

“Laurie has a kind and caring way about her and has the patience of Job,” stated Ms. Hall who said Ms. Turley, “is the best work partner and often will help her partner with tasks not assigned to her. She takes great pride in everything she does. She is a real asset to health care and truly cares for all her coworkers and residents.”

“During care time, she engages in meaningful conversation or songs with the residents while getting them prepared for the day ahead,” said Ms. Hall. 

“Her work ethic during the pandemic has been stellar,” said Ms. Hall, who noted, “people like Laurie are the backbone of our home, providing excellent care.” 

Ms. Turley takes great care when orienting new staff, making sure they are properly trained and feel welcome and valued, said Ms. Hall. She is a team player and leader willing to answer questions and give guidance when needed or requested and is very knowledgeable. 

“Many of our staff today have been trained by Laurie,” said Ms. Hall. “Laurie lives the Jarlette way. She aspires to do everything with commitment and passion. She treats people with respect and goes above and beyond. She is proactively accountable, responsible and dependable. She strives to do the right thing. She makes an outstanding difference in the lives of everyone she encounters.” 

“As a staff member, Laurie has shown great commitment for over 40 years. She is accountable, responsible and dependable. A valued team member,” said Ms. Hall.

“Staff who work closely with Laurie say they can usually finish each other’s sentences or read each other’s minds, knowing where each other is and that they can depend on each other. In other words, ‘Friends for Life’,” continued Ms. Hall.  

Ms. Turley has held the position of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) president for a number of years and is currently the vice-president.

“We are grateful she decided to move to Manitoulin from St. Thomas with her husband Jan many years ago and raise her family here,” said Ms. Hall. She has a daughter Marie and son-in-law Chris, son Lee, son-in-law Brian as well as grand-daughter Karina.

Ms. Hall said, “in the words of a fellow staff member, ‘Laurie trained me in 2006. She doesn’t remember this. Was I not memorable, or has she just trained so many people she can’t remember us all? I remember she asked me where I worked before and I said ‘in a factory.’ She was quite surprised by that answer. I think she knew I was lacking any experience and likely fearful of how I was going to work out. She was quite impressed that I actually knew how to make a bed, though. Well, I’m still here so she must have trained me right.”

“She has a way with the residents when they are having a tough time that calms them down and they let help them with whatever task she is trying to do,” continued Ms. Hall. I have never seen her waiver from that patience with residents and coworkers.” 

“Laurie also has a great sense of fun,” said Ms. Hall. “She always shows up with a Halloween costume and has great Christmas spirit,” said Ms. Hall. “She has a great big laugh that is infectious and such a great sense of humour, she helps to make the days go smoothly and quickly with her laid-back easy manner and her sense of fun. You can tell that Laurie loves her job, co-workers and especially the residents.”

The letters in her name show who Laurie is,” said Ms. Hall. “L-loyal, A-accountable, U-unflappable, R-reliable, I-intelligent, E-energetic. Congratulations, Laurie, you deserve this Roberta Jarlette honour.”

Lodge resident Millie Belanger received the ‘Making a Difference in the Lives of Others’ award. “It gives me great pleasure to speak about our award winner.”

“Miller Belanger was born on September 14, 1933 in Massey, Ontario to parents Ernie and Dorothy (Fairburn) Dorion. She was the second youngest of five children, three sisters, Elva, June and Lois, and one brother, Ernie. Her father was a police officer in Massey, so she was made to tow the line, or at least learn bow to not get caught,” said Ms. Hall. 

When she was young, Ms. Belanger helped out on the family farm with the chickens and cows and went to public school in Massey, but left in Grade 6 to help out with the family, explained Ms. Hall, who pointed out Ms. Belanger later met her partner her partner Ellard, and they had a son, Vincent. 

Ms. Belanger, “has two grandsons, Landon and Ryan, and two great-grandchildren,” said Ms. Hall. “She is proud of the town she hails from and is proud to wear her Massey Nan shirt.”

“Since moving to Manitoulin Lodge in February 2015, Millie has continued with her love for helping people,” said Ms. Hall, noting Ms. Belanger assists with other residents by ensuring no number or pictures get missed being covered during a bingo game and makes sure certain residents are present for the game. She visits other residents who may be feeling  ill, helps to make gifts at Christmas and treats for Hallowe’en. Millie enjoys crafts, especially knotting, often donating items for various fundraisers. Before COVID-19 Millie was often heard playing CDs in the front entrance to the delight of many. Often a sing-along followed.”

“Millie and another resident enjoy each other’s company when out on their scooters going around town,” said Ms. Hall. “And you will often find Millie and a group of residents visiting, singing and laughing at the end of the hall.” 

“Millie makes an outstanding difference in the lives of many by bringing much joy and laughter. Her care and compassion has touched many,” said Ms. Hall. “On Millie’s behalf, a donation will be made to Manitoulin Pet Save to help with her beloved animals.”