2013 Nominees Section

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Sherri Dukes

Sherri Dukes

Position: Senior Relationship Manager

Organization: United Way OC


Why should this person be nominated? (What makes nominee unique; why should they be selected the winner of this category?
Sherri was her Grandmothers caregiver for many years, and now currently works for the OC United Way.

What is this nominee’s involvement in senior care or senior issues
One day Sherri and I were talking about "caregiving" for seniors and how hard it really is for the children of aging parents. She shared her struggles as a family member caregiver, and said that although her Grandmother saved enough money for her retirement, she never thought she would need outside care. The day eventually came when Sherri and her children had to move in with her Grandmother because she was no longer able to care for herself. Sherri had no choice but to step up and become a caregiving granddaughter, full time mom, and provider.

As her Grandmother needed more care and time, Sherri was unable to work and money was very "tight." She did not realize there was very little support for family caregivers and tried her best to stretch every dollar; but eventually she had to reach out for help and found a few support agencies and applied for their help.

As she was waiting to meet with a representative from one of those agencies, a woman there said "I get so mad sometimes that my mom is so sick." Sherri said, her mouth dropped open in surprise and said to the lady, "you are the first person to say out-loud, what I have been feeling this whole time!" Sherri said, "it made her feel a little better that she was not the only one in the world who felt bad for feeling that way." The lady said, "we need to get you into a support group and don't worry, those feelings are normal." For the first time in years Sherri felt that she was not alone in her situation.

It was a struggle for Sherri to care for her kids, and her Grandmother; but she says she would not have done anything different. Sometimes, you have to give up your life to give others a life. She never complained once, and has always been determined to care for anyone who needs her. I am honored to know Sherri...

Today, Sherri is still giving back! She works for the United Way and is a wonderful addition to their team. She works with many agencies in Orange County, and is a strong community advocate for seniors, service agencies, and people who need a helping hand.

Sherri, you are my hero today! Thank you for your amazing story and support. As I look to my future I see that very soon I too will eventually have to care for my dad. I know I will not have to feel alone because I will have you as a mentor to reach out to.

For me, Sherri is already a family member hero, but she deserves to know how important she really is and how her caregiving experience not only helped her Grandmother; her story can help many others struggling with the emotions of becoming a family member caregiver.

Sherri, You deserve the Senior Care Family Member Hero Award, and I pray that my sons will care for me the way you cared for your Grandma!

God Bless You!