Carol Stevens earned the July Long-Term Care Hero of the Month award from the Health Care Council of Illinois. Photo courtesy of Little Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Some stories begin out of necessity.

When Carol Stevens was 28 years old, she needed a job. She became a nurse aide before the certification process even existed.

Little did she know she would stay in the long-term care industry for more than 50 years, even inspiring her employer to name a facility wing (the Carol Stevens C-Wing) after her. Today, with her 79th birthday approaching, she is a fixture in the stories of all the patients that come her way at the Little Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

“Sometimes it’s somebody that don’t have nobody to come see them but you end up being close and being a family to them,” said Stevens. “That’s a lot of responsibility. That’s why I come back. I just love my job and I love the residents here. They treat me nice.” 

Because of her compassionate care and love for her patients, Stevens was named the July Long-Term Care Hero of the Month by the Health Care Council of Illinois.

She is known to go above and beyond for her patients, and her care is not limited to the four walls of her workplace. Sometimes it persists even when a patient leaves a facility. Those interactions can blossom into beautiful friendships like Stevens’ relationship with a former Little Village resident also named Carol. 

“When I met her, I made her smile, I made her happy. She did so well that they were able to get her her own apartment,” said Stevens. “I took her shopping. I took her to get her hair cut, and I just made her up like a beautiful lady before she left. We still call and talk now.” 

While she enjoys the recognition, Stevens didn’t take her job for it. As she puts it, it is about doing the right thing when nobody’s watching. Today, she has a bigger audience. 

“Evidently I must have been doing something right for this [award],” said Stevens. “When they put my name on the wing, the residents immediately treated me more like I’m family. It’s wonderful to have your name on the wall, it makes you feel real good.”