Coronavirus: Kettering woman there for hundreds of residents everyday

Although city offices might be closed due to coronavirus, one Kettering employee is busy making sure everyone has a shoulder to lean on.

Kettering Senior Services Coordinator Vickie Carraher formed a Senior Safety Task Force to check on elderly and vulnerable residents to make sure their safety and well being is taken care of during these uncertain times.

Carraher made a long list and was able to call over 800 residents who she knew might be at risk.

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“We called everybody who has had contact with us in the last five years,” Carraher said. “We narrowed that down to about 200 people who didn’t have any family, didn’t have anybody checking in on them.”

Carraher is working with local grocery stores, Meals on Wheels and pharmacies to set people up with these services for delivery. She also taught individuals to shop online for groceries and other necessities.

The Senior Safety Task force now continues to check on these 200 individuals daily.

“I usually meet with people in their homes but I’m not going into the homes right now obviously so we’re trying to do everything that we can over the telephone,” Carraher said.

The task force includes a team of volunteers from the city’s parks department, cultural arts department and volunteer office who Carraher said did not hesitate to help when called upon.

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“I have been so humbled by the volunteers and coworkers who joined together to take care of our residents,” Carraher said.

On a mission to make sure no one is left in the dark, Carraher gives her personal number to the residents who have said they might not have family in the area or anyone to turn to because of coronavirus. Some elderly residents without computers are now able to order their groceries through Carraher who will place their order for them.

“She is busy but she doesn’t think twice about any of it,” said Mary Azbill, Kettering community information manager and volunteer on the task force. “She just wants everybody to be taken care of. It’s just really cool.”

With the help of volunteers, Carraher is often running errands herself for the residents who are desperate for groceries or maybe their prescriptions.

“Our residents never cease to amaze us with their kindness, generosity of time, talent and ingenuity,” said Kettering City Manager Steve Bergstresser. “When our senior services coordinator decided to call a thousand people, I was not surprised. Very proud of her initiative; but, it’s what she does — it’s who she is.

“We are grateful to be able to offer our senior citizens services to help make their lives a little easier,” Bergstresser said. “And, we have plenty of people who give back ten fold.”

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