Loretto’s mission is “To be a family of exceptional people caring for and about one another.” To see that mission come to life, visit Loretto’s The Bernardine, one of the largest and most affordable senior living communities in Syracuse.

There, you will meet long-time Loretto employees Pam Townley (16 years), Weonta Brown (17), Teonia McGrew (13). Their tenure is impressive, but what makes this group unique is the friendship they share and their philosophy of care.

“The residents are at the center of everything we do,” says Clinical Manager Antoinette Prince, who manages Pam, Weonta, and Teonia and has worked at Loretto since 2006. “We are their family, and as coworkers, we see one another as family. It’s hard not to when we have worked together for so long.

It’s that care for each other and the residents that make The Bernardine a special place, and those bonds of friendship have helped these healthcare professionals grow their careers at Loretto.
From CHHAs to Operations Supervisor
Operations Supervisor Pam Townley began her Loretto Career as a Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA), a critical part of the Loretto Care Team. CHHAs ensure residents’ safety, help them maintain physical and emotional comfort in their homes, and distribute medications when necessary.

Pam is a graduate of the Loretto CHHA paid training program, a 12-day course that combines classroom learning with hands-on clinical training and guarantees employment upon completion. This program is one example of the career pathway programs Loretto offers to help employees advance their healthcare careers.

Pam said, “Antoinette was my trainer when I first became a CHHA at The Bernardine. I was overwhelmed at first because CHHAs distribute medications, and I saw that as a huge responsibility. I was going to quit! I didn’t think I could do it. Weonta said, ‘You can do it. I’ll show you how,’ and that act of kindness changed everything for me. I understood what I needed to do, liked it, and 16 years later, here I am.”

Pam, Weonta, and Teonia all started their Loretto career as CHHAs at The Bernardine, ultimately earning promotions to become Operation Supervisors because of their dedication to the care of the residents and one another.

Clinical Care Manager Antoinette Prince was their direct supervisor and noticed these CHHAs were different. “They didn’t just come in and punch the clock; they stayed involved, were engaged, and ultimately, were promoted because of their work performance and leadership skills.”

Because of these women, Rick Mills, Executive Director of Housing, created the Operations Supervisor position at The Bernardine. The role is multifaceted and involves managing housing staff and 25 Certified Home Health Aides while ensuring that Loretto standards, policies, and procedures are met.

In short, they run the building under the guidance of Rick Mills. Rick said what makes these women extraordinary is their willingness to do whatever is necessary to help support The Bernardine’s 130 residents.

“They oversee all departments and resolve resident, family, and staff issues in real-time while managing building operations. Because they all have retained their CHHA certification, they can assist nursing staff and distribute medications when necessary. Our building is successful because of their expertise and dedication to residents. Their work truly makes a difference.”
More than “Just a Job”
Pam said the team at The Bernardine is more than just her coworkers; they are her family. “We have raised our families together; watched each other’s kids grow up, baby showers, weddings, heartbreaks, funerals—we have done it all together.”

That personal bond carries over to work; they are stronger as a team. “We all have our strengths, and we lean on one another for support,” Antoinette said. Pam makes us laugh; she always knows how to keep everyone smiling. Teonia is kind and patient. Weonta always knows what to do and is willing to help. We know each other so well, and our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out, and we can provide the best care for our residents.”

Caring comes in many forms at Loretto: the care provided to the over 10,000 individuals Loretto serves each year, the care and support our over 3,000 employees show one another, and the care Loretto administrators have for employees by offering career advancement opportunities.

Loretto employees at The Bernardine understand the impact of that care. It is how they are, and continue to grow, as a family of exceptional people who care for and about one another.

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