By Mike Wade
NRVCS Community Relations Specialist

It is often said that it takes a truly special person to care for others. While many of us find ourselves in this role at some point in our lives – whether it’s parenting a young child or supporting a sick or aging friend or family member – only a select few declare this to be their calling in life.

Fortunately for the residents of Fairview Home, April Earhart is among those uniquely dedicated individuals who thrives upon serving the needs of others.

“The residents need me – it’s as simple as that,” says Earhart, a Medication Aide at the Dublin facility. “Being able to help them gives me way more in return than anything I can ever do for them…These people – they’re mine.”

Earhart, who recently celebrated her four-year work anniversary at Fairview, was first introduced to the caregiving profession at an early age. The mother who raised her worked at Randolph House (a facility similar to Fairview Home that no longer exists) – not far from the home where Earhart grew up. In fact, she remembers walking over to Randolph House as a child and spending time playing and coloring with the residents.

“That was just my life – it’s what I knew,” recalls Earhart.

She eventually began to follow in her mother’s footsteps and spent time working with a gynecologist’s office while in high school. After a brief stint at the Pulaski Retirement Center following graduation, Earhart eventually found herself employed as a medication technician at Randolph House, working side-by-side with her mother for 10 years until the facility shut down in 2003.

Earhart’s career path took a bit of a detour after that. She began working production for a company that manufactured simulated hand grenades and trip wires, while also holding down a second job at the local Wal-Mart in the jewelry department.

“That was back when people working the jewelry counter at Wal-Mart still dressed up, so I’d be in heels from 1 – 10, get off and go to my other job, change clothes, and work there from 11 – 7, go home, take a nap and do it all over again,” Earhart explains. “I did that for about six months and realized something had to give.”

“It is fun though to see people’s reaction though when I tell them I’m certified in explosives,” Earhart adds with a chuckle.

Earhart soon returned to her roots and landed a job at Highland Ridge Rehabilitation, where she worked for eight years before coming to NRVCS and Fairview Home.

Caregiving has not only been a mainstay of Earhart’s professional life. The mother of two now adult children has also devoted much of her time away from work to caring for others, including her husband, Stephen, who was stricken with a rare genetic disease that claimed the lives of his mother and sister, as well as an aunt.

Fortunately, Stephen received a kidney transplant five years ago and is doing well these days, no longer requiring the dialysis that his wife one helped routinely administer in their home. Realizing just how precious time with family can be, Earhart says she is grateful for her job at Fairview. “I’ve truly got no complaints,” explains Earhart. “I feel like I get more family time and more time at home…It’s been great for me.” Getting to work on time is never a problem for Earhart. In fact, if you’re up early enough, you’ll usually spot her car in the Fairview Home parking lot an hour or so before her shift begins.

“I know it sounds weird but I can’t wait to come to work,” declares Earhart. “I love working here – there’s really no other way to describe it.”

Earhart says her bond with Fairview’s residents and her co-workers has grown deeper with time, causing the work environment at the facility to feel more like visiting with family than going to a job.

“I’m telling you, when you get ready to leave here in the evenings, it sounds like ‘The Waltons’,” adds a smiling Earhart. “They [residents] they all come out to tell you goodbye, ask you how your day went, and tell you to go home and get some rest.”

“And I love the people I work with just like they are my family,” Earhart continues. “There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for one another.”

Earhart says she also appreciates the benefits that come with working at NRVCS, particularly health insurance coverage, the flexibility of hours, and the continuous training and professional development opportunities that are provided to staff.

“I wouldn’t trade working here for the world,” concludes Earhart. “As long as I’m able and Kristy (Fairview Home’s Administrator) will have me, this is home.”