“When Dan arrived here, he would only nod and shake his head. Every day, we worked on conversations so he has a voice, said Susie Willard, health information specialist. “Dan has come a long way. He looks you in the eyes and reaches your soul.”
Said Lupe Garcia, CNA: He’s such a sweet guy. He always appreciates what we do for him. He asks, ‘How do you say thank you in Spanish?’ He remembers my name. He knows where I’m from and he’s very happy that I know he likes coffee and bananas in the morning.
“I really care about him.”
In April, Willard and Community Life Director Jennifer Felberg took Dan to see singer LP.
“It was neat because his friends are all tour guys and they hadn’t had a chance to see him because they’re traveling all the time,” said Felberg. “His friends arranged for VIP status and showered him with attention.
“He got to be himself with his buddies, a lot of handshakes and dudes and he even drank a beer. It was a magical night and reminded me again of our mission.
“Dan could not say ‘thank you’ enough. It was nice to make the night happen for him.”
Dan is an avid reader and particularly enjoys the Jewish history books shared by former volunteer and board chair (1993-1994) Ruby Sachter, with whom he still Facetimes.
With four years at Cedar Sinai Park now, Vicki hopes that Dan will be willing and able at some point to use a wheelchair so he can go to a group foster home. Pain management is another issue.
Until then, Vicki said she feels welcome when she visits Dan every Tuesday.
“I feel like I can get Dan what he needs when he needs it,” she said.
“I love you, mom,” said Dan.
“I love you. See you next week. Bye, honey.”