Caring for the elderly, like our aging parents or grandparents, is something that many of us take seriously. A good number of people rely on the services of places like nursing homes to give our loved ones care. But a California nursing home that shuttered last fall lost most of its staff, leaving its residents behind, except for two people — cook Maurice Rowland, and janitor Miguel Alvarez.
Their story has been highlighted by national news media all over the country and rightfully so. It pulls at each of our heartstrings.
“There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, ‘What are we going to do?’” Rowland said.
“If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody,” 34-year-old Alvarez said. “We were just the cook and the janitor.”
The team spent several days providing round-the-clock care for elderly patients, doling out medication, bathing, feeding, and looking after them.
“I just couldn’t see myself going home,” said Rowland.
The team stayed until the local fire department and sheriff took over Valley Springs Manor nursing home, and their actions eventually led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014, which protects nursing home residents from being abandoned in the case of a shutdown.
“Even though they [weren’t] our family, they were kind of like our family for that short period of time,” said Alvarez
In the weeks since Rowland’s and Alvarez’s story went viral, the two have been honored by the American Veterans Association and received commendations from the office of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) and from the California Legislature.
By the time the pair was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year, Rowland had reportedly gotten more than a half-dozen job offers in the day following! So far, representatives for Dr. Phil and The Doctors on CBS have called to request appearances.
In gratitude for their incredible services, US Bank in San Francisco has set up an account where donations can be sent to Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez.
If you are interested, you can send donations to US Bank using the routing number 121122676 and account number 153469203851. Checks can also be mailed to U.S. Bank, 344 20th St., Oakland, CA 94612.