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A Joyful Arrangement

Shirley Timmons can light up a room with her warm smile and hand crafted flower arrangements

Shirley Timmons takes a quick break in the lounge of the University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) to talk about her passion, flowers and her job as an Environmental Service Worker for the 54-bed nursing home located on the hospital’s 6th floor.  Almost before it begins, the discussion is halted because a resident needs help, or as it turns out, a bit of comforting.  A few minutes later, she returns and explains, “I try to find ways to help.” 

The lounge is decorated like most living rooms, complete with a TV, recliner and some end tables which serve as great showcases for Shirley’s creations – silk flower arrangements that brighten the space and the lives of those who live here.

“I just love my flowers. I really enjoy making them (arrangements). It’s a great way to relax after working all day,” she explained. “My house is just filled with them!” Luckily, she shares her flowers with her CVPH family. Silk arrangements dot the common areas of the SNF and can be found in many of the residents’ rooms.  Spring flowers in April, May and June; fall arrangements after August and poinsettias for the holiday season.

“I remember bringing a bouquet into one resident and he lit right up; couldn’t believe they were for him. It makes me happy to see others smile,” she said.

“It really brightens my day to give. The gift comes back to me in so many ways,” she said.  Sharing photos of her work, she stops at one that now adorns her mantel at home.  It belonged to a resident, now deceased, who was special to Shirley. “The flowers also help me keep memories of the residents who passed,” she said. 

A member of the Environmental Services staff since 2008, Shirley has been part of the SNF family for 5 years.  Prior to that, she was assigned to the Intensive Care Unit.  The job, she says, has opened many doors for her and has also opened her eyes to many of life’s important lessons. Shirley credits her manager, Beth Giroux with much of that. “She wants us to understand what our role is here. We help keep patients safe by keeping the facility clean. There is a lot to it.”

Her job reminds Shirley of how important it is to enjoy life and family and to take care of herself.  The mother of four, she speaks with great pride of her children and lovingly of her 3 precious grandchildren, now adults.  “I try hard to take of myself so I can take care of others. The people here are like my second family. I’m very lucky.”