WHITEFISH — The COVID-19 pandemic brought sudden change and confusion to assisted living facilities across the nation.
Residents were isolated from the outside world as workers fought hard to keep the most vulnerable among us safe.
This was true in the Flathead Valley as Sheri Millward and Dondi Fisher worked tirelessly to bring some sense of normalcy to residents at Springs Assisted Living in Whitefish.
“They were so good to me, everybody was, and most all of us stayed well,” resident Donna Benson told MTN News.
Millward and Fisher went above and beyond during the pandemic to keep more than 70 residents at Springs Assisted Living safe and happy.
“To ensure that their needs are met and their well-being is our priority, so we just do what’s needed,” said Fisher.
Fisher -- the executive chef -- makes close to 270 meals a day for the residents.
“They come from a generation of comfort where it’s meat, potatoes and vegetable and pie on Sundays,” Fisher explained.
Fisher works long hours in the kitchen making comfort meals that bring joy to her residents, giving them something to look forward to every day.
“They’re an extension of your family and you can’t help but just pour in that labor of love because you love them,” Fisher told MTN News.
“She tried to make us all happy by her cooking,” noted resident Donna Benson.
Benson said Fisher's homemade pies were her favorite comfort dish during the pandemic.
“Piece of pie every week, so that always made us feel good too,” Benson said.
Sheri Millward -- a medication aide to residents -- said it was a complete team effort throughout the pandemic to make sure all residents received proper medication in a safe and effective way.
“Working as a team makes everything so much easier and it’s a team effort here completely,” said Millward.
When delivering medicine, Millward connects with all her residents on a personal level, becoming fast friends.
Fisher said it’s awe-inspiring seeing firsthand how much care and effort Millward puts into her work.
“She does whatever it takes to ensure that our residents are happy, jokes with them, she’s just so personal to them because she cares,” said Fisher.
She also said she couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.
“It's a humble experience doing what we do here and all of us are here for the same reason and that’s for our residents and each other,” said Fisher.