Richland Place Senior Living employee Shirley Perdue has been awarded the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Noble Caregiver of the year award.

Perdue has worked at the residential home for nine years as a resident aid. She works closely with the nurse assigned to the A Hall. She has never missed a day of work and has never been late during those nine years.

Her job assignment calls for her to work weekends, which makes the attendance record especially unique. During winter snows, she has been known to come with her sleeping bag and spend several nights at the facility. At age 73, she gives care to some people who are younger than she is.

Administrator Jennifer Hudson said, “Her work ethic is based on love and caring not obligation.”

One of the residents said it best, “Every time Shirley comes in my room, it’s special to me. She is special to all of us.”

Perdue is called upon to serve in a leadership role giving orientation to new second shift employees. In addition, she helped Richland Place implement a community integration plan. She does whatever is asked of her whether it is housekeeping, maintenance, dietary activities, or administration.

It is not unusual for see her stop to listen to the residents tell stories of what it was like when they grew up. She enjoys meeting the families of the residents and they often do nice things for her.

Perdue is known to use her own money to buy Christmas gifts for the residents or buy items they may need from time to time.

“I never dread coming to work,” Perdue said. “I try to get here early to learn what’s been going on during the day. I haven’t even thought of retiring. As long as I can do it. I will continue. I love everyone.” Hudson nominated Perdue for the award in March. She interviewed all the residents in A Hall to gather information for the 500-word nomination.

Hudson said the comments were very moving and it was difficult to condense them. She forgot all about the nomination until on July 10, she got a call at 6 a.m. telling her to go read her email. She was so happy when she read that Perdue had won the national award from thousands of nominations. She kept it a secret until Friday, July 12 when they had a special event at Richland to announce that she had won. The Tennessee Health Care Association will acknowledge Perdue next year at its convention.

Perdue is married to Charles “Alton” Perdue. Over the years she helped him farm and do construction.

They have four children, Jane Ann Krulik, Charles Richard Perdue, Anthony Wayne Crowder and Tammy Lynne Civils.

Perdue said she gets her strong work ethic from growing up in a hard-working family of 14 where they all had to work.

Richland Place Senior Living is located at 201 Richland Lake Drive in Portland.  

Recommended for you