Samantha “Sam” Laird-Villegas grew up in Jamaica, with her grandmother’s benevolence and generosity a strong influence on her life. “My grandmother was one of those people that will take anybody and everybody in,” Sam shared. She carried the lessons her grandmother taught her all the way to her new life in Florida at just 18 years old.
Sam built a career as a correctional officer in Florida before moving to Colorado four months ago, looking for a fresh start. Her mother-in-law works for HHS and helped her get hired as a housekeeper at a local hospital.
Sam knows she is a part of a bigger picture, a piece of the puzzle, making an impact in the lives of patients. “I like to learn and I like to observe. Multiple patients come through [and] you get to see different aspects of what is going on and learn from it,” Sam explained. “[I like] being a link in the whole chain as far as keeping everything flowing. Doing my job and keeping every room clean helps another patient be seen.”
Sam maintains a positive outlook that she credits her upbringing with. “That’s always how I’ve been as a person. I try to not let negativity get the better of me regardless of what is going on. I try to do my best to stay positive, stay in a good mindset, and just stay goofy,” she said with a laugh.
Recently, Sam’s background as a correctional officer came in handy while on the job. “[My experience] definitely gave me a sense of awareness as far as paying attention to what’s going on around me and having a quick response.”
She was finishing cleaning the rooms in the behavioral health unit when she noticed something was “just not right” with one of the patients. She walked by that patient’s room three times and on the final time, she saw that the patient appeared to be strangling herself with a blanket. Sam rushed to get help from a nurse, remaining calm and steady the whole time. The nurse was able to intervene and prevent the patient from further harming themself.
“I’m proud to know that I have a team member that pays attention to her surroundings to recognize something like that. The nurse [told me] that had Sam not alerted her it most likely would have been bad. It was a pretty proud moment [for me],” EVS Director Charlie Twiggs said of the incident.
Sam currently lives with her fianceè and two sons, living out her grandmother’s example not only in her work but with her family as well. She is grateful for the opportunity she has for a new beginning with HHS.
Tag(s): Team Member Stories
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