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BrightStar’s Caregiver of the Year keeps on giving

Deborah Bailey | 10/28/2016, 6 a.m.
Kathy Carter demonstrates again and again why her clients and co-workers alike at BrightStar Care of Baltimore consider her a ...
(Left to right) BrightStar Care of Baltimore owner, Lynn Berberich with Ada Sanchez and Kathy Carter, winner of the 2016 Caregiver of the Year award. Carter decided to give the $5000 scholarship prize that came with the Caregiver of the Year award to her co-worker Sanchez. A check was presented to Sanchez in a celebration of Carter’s generosity on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at the BrightStar facility in Lutherville where they work. Courtesy Photo/BrightStar

— Kathy Carter demonstrates again and again why her clients and co-workers alike at BrightStar Care of Baltimore consider her a national treasure. The recent winner of the company’s national 2016 Caregiver of the Year competition lives her life by giving generously not only to her clients, but to her co-workers as well.

Ada Sanchez, one of Carter’s co-workers got quite a surprise on Thursday,

October 20, 2016, when she learned that Carter decided to give the $5000 scholarship prize that came with the Caregiver of the Year award to her. Sanchez is currently enrolled at Baltimore City Community College with the dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.

Sanchez has been working with Carter at BrightStar Care for just a little over a year. She works two jobs and supports a grieving mother after the death of her father just two months ago. Like Carter, Sanchez gets energy from connecting with the senior adults she takes care of at BrightStar Care.

“They surprised me. It’s still like a dream right now. My dad was like my support. This feels like one of the blessings that my dad left. Right now, it’s just me and my mother here, we don’t have any other family here,” Sanchez said.

Lynn Berberich, owner of the Lutherville-based BrightStar facility where Carter has worked for the past six years, shared the astonishment felt by the entire staff upon hearing the news of Carter’s generosity.

“This is an incredibly unusual occurrence. First, the fact that Kathy was the national caregiver of the year [was] nominated by two clients. Kathy is just so generous,” said Berberich. “She’s really doing what she loves, but to see that there’s somebody else that she can help and it’s one of her co-workers. You don’t see that kind of generosity very often.”

Sanchez, who met Carter through a mutual friend, will use the prize money to pay tuition for her second year at BCCC, to help with books, uniforms, equipment and the many non-tuition expenses of a nursing program.

“I was inspired that she’s holding down two jobs. She’s going back to school, she’s had the recent loss of her father, and through it all, she rises.

“When I won the national [award], one of the ladies came up to me and asked what was I going to do with the scholarship. I said ‘I’m going to give it to Ada— I knew it immediately,” Carter said. “We’re a team. I couldn’t do the job that I do without my team behind me.”

Berberich said that the best thing about Carter being named National Caregiver of the Year was that it came with a gift that has already multiplied.

“After she won the national caregiver award of the year at this big banquet with all the owners from all over the country. Somebody asked her, ‘what’s your dream job’ and she said, ‘I’m doing it.’” Berberich said.

The fact that Carter wants to use her gift to make another staff member’s dream come true reveals the spirit of what the caregiver’s award is all about, according to Berberich.

Both women demonstrate a love for their clients when they’re together. They can’t stop talking.

“There’s so much that you want to give to them. You want to give them life,” said Sanchez. “I love what I do.”

“I love just what I’m doing too,” said Carter, smiling.

It’s the genuine care for the clients who depend on them, which makes them both champions, Berberich said.