The Northwest Florida Long-Term Ombudsman Council’s jurisdiction spans 100 miles east to west and is currently serviced by three active ombudsmen who will go anywhere at any time to alleviate and resolve the concerns of residents in long-term care facilities. Never have I experienced a group of volunteers with such a passion and dedication for the elderly. And, how can I praise one and not all three when each draws his strength and commitment from the shared values and mission of the Council to which they have pledged themselves?
Anne Manning currently serves the Council as its Chair, a function she has performed many times in her 12-year tenure. Even with the personal hardships she is experiencing, she refuses to give up and continues to provide the Council with her wisdom and grace and residents with her tenacious (but always disarmingly friendly) determination to resolve and correct facility practices that impinge on their rights. She is the epitome of self-giving.
Jim Evans, in his nearly 11 years of service, has always been a pillar of strength and wisdom for the Northwest Council. His huge heart has a permanent place in it reserved for the elderly. In spite of the oil spill that wreaked havoc on his business ventures in the area last year, Jim still found time to reach out and help the elderly – lending his voice, his clear reasoning, his extensive knowledge, and his passionate persuasion to their cause. He is the quintessential humble servant.
Ray Sykes has served on the Council for nearly four years and in addition to fulfilling his responsibilities as a representative on the State Council, Ray completed over 1/3 of the Council’s assessments in 2010 and was asking if there was more he could do to help out because of our shortage of ombudsmen. Intelligent, soft-spoken and filled with compassion, Ray meticulously investigates the residents’ complaints as if they were his own and doesn’t quit until a suitable resolution is found. Couldn’t find a gentler and caring man than Ray.
Without a doubt because of the effort and dedication of these three volunteers, long-term care residents in Northwest Florida are getting their voices heard.