Coralie Benson’s sacrifice to get to America is hard to imagine. She left everything she knew — even her daughter — in the Philippines to build a life here.
Suzanne Sedrak left family, too, when she moved from Alexandria, Egypt to Wisconsin. She came with her two children to the welcoming arms of her brothers and their families.
The stories and backgrounds of both women clearly are distinct. But they provide a unique window into the rich makeup and big hearts of the caregivers at North Central Health Care in Central Wisconsin.
Both women are CNAs who have found caring for seniors to be not just fulfilling but an important part of their lives. Both love their residents and are loved in return.
During conversations with both women, it’s easy to grasp their sincerity and how they’ve built relationships with the vulnerable elderly residents in their care. All of us want and need exceptional elder care.
Coralie wasn’t new to caregiving when she arrived in the U.S. She had worked as a nanny in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong before she was introduced to the man who would ultimately marry her and bring her to the United States.
Once in New York, she worked as a babysitter, saving enough money to complete her citizenship paperwork.
In Wausau, she doubled-up as a hotel housekeeper and personal care worker, saving money to bring her daughter here four years after she arrived. Coralie said: “I’m so happy because I accomplished, I get my daughter, and she’s my everything.”
Suzanne studied dentistry in Egypt and had an active dental practice when she decided to come here to provide opportunities for her two children. Ultimately, she found herself helping organize activities for seniors. She said: “It just feels like my close friends.”
It’s been more than 20 years since Suzanne arrived. She’s seen her son become a health care administrator and her daughter return to Africa, if temporarily, to teach English with Americorp.
While the life paths for both of these caregivers have been different, it’s impressive to see them bring their experiences, work ethic and caring approach to the same place. The community, the residents, all of us, benefit from their willingness to journey here.