WESTFIELD – Terrie Choquette, executive director of Genesis HealthCare Westfield Center on 60 East Silver St. presented the Compassionate Caregiver for 2021 in a surprise ceremony with cake on the recipient’s last day as an employee.
Daniel Seals was a volunteer at Westfield Center for 13 years before being asked to join the staff during COVID. At the time, volunteers could no longer come into the building. Choquette asked him if he would work for them instead.
Seals subsequently arranged all of the visits with families over Zoom for residents. “Because of Dan, families stayed connected,” Choquette said. She said all of the families were very appreciative, and they nominated him as Compassionate Caregiver of the Year for Westfield Center.
During the surprise announcement, Choquette read some of the comments by the families who nominated Seals.
“He goes above and beyond to keep families connected.
“He is always understanding and compassionate and kind to all. He is a gentle, kind, human being.
“Even behind the mask, you could tell he was smiling when talking to us.”
“His daily visit to mother was the highlight of her day.”
“When families could not be with loved ones, Dan was a bridge to us all,” Choquette said.
Then it was Seals’ turn. “When Terrie asked me to quit being a volunteer and come on as an employee, (at first) I was reluctant. I would have done it for nothing,” he said.
Westfield Center is a skilled nursing facility offering post-hospital, short-term rehabilitation as well as long-term and respite care, and is part of Genesis HealthCare System. Choquette said she has forwarded the nomination of Seals to Genesis to be considered for Compassionate Caregiver of 2021 for the whole system.