Tell us about your background: I was born and raised in South Bend. I graduated from South Bend Washington High School, then later attended Brown Macke college where I received a degree in health care administration.
Why did you change from health care administration to home health care? Originally, I intended to work in back-office administration. When I started working in a group home setting, it was scary and different at first. But then once I became used to it, I found I loved working with people and doing hands-on work. After the group home, I went into home health care. I’ve been working in the field for over ten years and I’ve been with Firefly for five years. It’s very rewarding knowing that I can do something that makes a difference in someone’s life.
What are a few of your favorite things? I love music, dancing and all things artsy. My friends and I enjoy finding different restaurants to try. I love fall and winter—this cooler weather we have now is definitely my thing. I enjoy traveling, and before Covid, my niece and I traveled together to New York and Florida. We want to go to Oklahoma over Thanksgiving to visit an aunt I haven’t seen for years.
Do you have any pets? I have a dog named Remi. She’s an eight-year-old dalmatian-pit bull mix, which is an unusual combination for a mixed-breed dog. She has bright blue eyes and is so sweet. Unlike dalmatians, she has more brown and gray spots on her. She has one spot on her leg that is heart-shaped.
You’ve had one client, Mike, for four-and-a-half years. Tell us about him: Mike is a veteran. He’s confined to a wheelchair and everyday tasks aren’t always easy for him. If he’s having a rough day, I’m straight-forward with him, and tell him I’m going to give him a few minutes on his own. Then I come back and ask if he’s happy now and we get on with what we need to do. And he’s usually much better by then and we get along great. He can sometimes come across as a little gruff, but when you get to know him, you realize he’s really a teddy bear. I can eventually get him to laugh, and he’s very easy to talk to. He has an amazing sense of humor.
What do you wish people knew about being a caregiver? You develop a bond with clients, and they become like family. It’s very rewarding.
Mike and his girlfriend Mary had this to say about Roni: “She’s been my caregiver for four-and-a-half years, and she’s like a daughter to us. Out of all the caregivers we’ve ever had, no one is as compassionate or as attentive to my needs as Veronica. She’s the most patient person, and she knows just how to calm me down. It’s incredible how patient and attentive she is. She’s wonderful. I wish she was just all mine!”