Life Care Centers of America
Heidi Pino, Life Care Public Relations

A lot has happened and changed in the world since 1974.

But one thing that has not changed has been one of the smiling faces at Villa Manor Care Center in Lakewood, Colorado.

Ernie Gonzalez is about to celebrate 47 years as a housekeeper at the facility this May. He came after working as a housekeeper at another local skilled nursing center after his sister recommended Villa Manor. The move also meant a higher pay.

Ernie loves to clean. But his career in aging is about more than just disinfecting surfaces and sweeping floors, about more than a paycheck. It’s about heart and about family.

“I love it here,” said Ernie. “I love the residents, and I love the staff. I’m very close with the patients. I could never leave them, I don’t think. We’ve had a lot of good times here.”

Ernie visits with the residents as he cleans, and he has gone out of his way to set up drinks, coffee and water before meetings. He has helped grill hamburgers and hot dogs for fundraisers and donated some of his vacation days to an associate in need. He has served as a good leader for his department, leading his team to achieve no deficiencies on many state surveys. Once, he even got a tag for making the floors too shiny. He earned a President’s Award from Life Care in 1992.

Ernie knows the importance of his job more than ever this year. During a COVID-19 outbreak, he also got sick and had to stay home.

Despite the challenges of the past year, Ernie’s dedication continues to bring him in at 5 each morning, happy.

“He is the best housekeeper I have seen,” said Sara Dent, executive director. “Everyone loves him. He takes pride in everything he does and really puts the needs of others in front of his own.”

During Careers in Aging Week, April 18-24, we honor you, Ernie, for your dedication and making your career a true matter of the heart!

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