Uvalyn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She was part of a large family, as one of 8 brothers and sisters. She attended St. Andrew’s Technical High School, studying to be an accountant. After her schooling, she worked at several grocery stores and then a shoe store and in 1992, came to the US. Her husband, Augustus, who she married in 1984, brought her over and together they settled in Norwalk CT. A year later, they moved to Springfield MA. They also welcomed their only child, Kyle, into their family in 1992. Kyle is now 28 and is living in Oregon.
When she arrived in this country, Uvalyn began working in homecare and then attended school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. She started working at the Jewish Nursing Home in April 1997 and has been here ever since. “I love my job,” Uvalyn said, “I always wanted to be a nurse but I didn’t have that opportunity. So this is the closest I get to what I wanted to do.” As she reflected on the more than 23 years that she has been here, she said, “I love to come to work here at JGS. I work with good people and I feel like I’ve been treated fairly. I feel like I’m treated with respect by my boss. I enjoy the picnics, and the raffle baskets, and all the giveaways they provide to us throughout the year. And mostly I love communicating with the residents and taking care of the elderly. They are like my family especially those that don’t have any family. They really need us and our love.”
During the COVID crisis, Uvalyn was home sick, battling the illness. She still feels the physical effects of the illness and emotionally she mourns the residents on the C-1 unit who died. “I miss my residents,” she says. “Before all of this, I used to hug them, dance with them, and sing with them. Now, I miss all of that. Tears come to my eyes when I think about it and all that we have been through.”
When she’s not working, Uvalyn enjoys playing bingo and going to the casino. She tries to get back home to Jamaica once a year, to visit family. She was last there in 2018, when her brother died.
While she was recovering at home, Uvalyn experienced God’s caring presence very directly and as a result, she feels her life has taken a new direction. “I really want to get closer to God,” she shared. “God has done so much for me. I am so grateful and I want to work on becoming a better person.”
We are so grateful for Uvalyn’s humble and devoted service for over 23 years at the Jewish Nursing Home. She has served faithfully, and tended skillfully, to so many residents with a heart full of love and compassion. Each day that she comes to work, she brings her whole self, and a desire to be of help and of service. We wish for Uvalyn and her husband, who also contracted the virus, good health, renewed strength, and much joy.
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