Merrifield Honored With Wayne N. Ladouceur Award
OGDENSBURG – One of the highest compliments any nurse or caregiver can receive is, “you’re the kind of person I would want caring for my parents.”
That’s a compliment received by this year’s Wayne N. Ladouceur Award winner, Robert “Bob” Merrifield, a long-time LPN at United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care in Ogdensburg.
At the close of this year’s presentation, which was held in front of a small audience made up of Mr. Merrifield’s family and co-workers, United Helpers Vice President of Development Christa Carroll shared the sentiment which was passed to her by a member of the nominations review committee.
Mr. Merrifield received two nomination for the award, one from Director of Nursing Brittany Thornton, and another from his nurse supervisor Marie Woods.
Criteria for the award includes giving generously of one’s self, the ability to see beyond one’s own needs, a strong personal drive to provide the utmost in care, the ability to feel and express empathy, and exuding a love for life.
These are all areas where those who know Mr. Merrifield say he excels.
“One of Bob’s greatest qualities is his generosity,” wrote Mrs. Thornton in her nomination. “I have worked with Bob since 2013 and have witnessed this on many occasions.”
When a co-worker was studying for her GED exam, Mr. Merrifield tutored her, on his own time, to help ensure she would pass the test. When another co-worker’s home was lost in a fire, he was the first person to suggest, and establish a fundraiser to assist her and her family.
Another time, several employees shaved their heads in support of a co-worker with cancer. Mr. Merrifeld was one of the first to participate.
More recently, employees of the facility were fit-tested for N-95 respirators to allow them to work with resident whom had COVID-19. Mr. Merrfield typically sports a “chinstrap,” however, his facial hair was interfering with the mask’s ability to provide a proper seal on his face.
“Bob was unable to secure the seal the first few times, so I told him we would try again later. A short time later, he returned to my office after going into the bathroom and shaving his facial hair. He said, ‘I’m ready now,’” Mrs. Thornton recalled. “While many people were scared about the possibility of being exposed to the virus, Bob was determined to be there for his residents.”
Mr. Merrifield has been a nurse in the United Helpers family for 30-plus years. He resides in Heuvelton with his wife. He has two grown daughters.
Mr. Ladouceur’s wife, Cheryl, chose the criteria for the award picking traits exhibited by her husband and things he was known for, not just in the United Helpers family, but also across the entire city of Ogdensburg.
Each nomination must also include an additional letter of support from someone other than the nominee.
In her letter, Bobbi Jo Holmes noted that Mr. Merrifield works in the building’s dementia unit, something that requires patience, caring, and a special set of skills.
“He is one of the most caring and generous people I have ever known. He is always there for his co-workers, and his residents. He is very deserving of this honor,” she wrote.
The Wayne N. Ladouceur Award was created in memory of and in honor of Mr. Ladouceur, a longtime United Helpers volunteer, board member and former board president. The award is funded through an endowment created by Mrs. Ladouceur and more than 80 other friends and family members.