Erick Abille started at Ryman in his manager's office in sandals and shorts.
He was picked up for an ‘on the spot’ interview, after waiting outside for his wife who was working for Ryman at the time. Erick had decided to apply too.
“I had applied for a job a while ago at Ryman, and when I came in that day to wait on my wife, I ran into the manager, who interviewed me on the spot and gave me the job! I was sitting in the office in my shorts and sandals!”
That was eight years ago, and Erick is still there, although he’s been promoted, and last week won the award for Support Team Member of the Year. The awards extend across all 44 operational villages in New Zealand and Australia.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I would win. I’m so happy! But we were all deserving of the award,” said Erick.
“I had mixed emotions! I was really happy and pleased, but I also felt so humbled in a way to represent myself and the whole village at the Ryman Awards.”
Erick works in the Special Care Unit at Hilda Ross as an Activities and Lifestyle Coordinator, planning daily activities and running events for residents in the unit.
“News and views is my favourite part of the day, we talk about events from the news, and share stories and memories of things that happened in our lives. I tend to be more personal, and there is lots of reminiscing and lots of personal stories. Coming from a foreign country I tend to learn so much from our residents, even about the New Zealand culture.
“We also do Triple-A exercises twice a day and listen to a lot of music. Music is a universal language, and very important, especially for dementia level care.”
Erick is known for being very warm and friendly and greets everyone every day with a smile.
“Erick is a standout team member. He loves his residents and their family members. He strives to ensure the special care residents enjoy their activities and puts thought and planning into their days. Nothing is ever too much trouble for him,” said one nominee.
“He is a kind, well organised staff member and is very much respected and loved by residents, families and staff. Erick goes the extra mile and is a very valued team member,” said Village Manager Wendy Taylor.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for him; he really deserves it.”
Erick’s gratitude goes further though, saying he couldn’t have done it without the people behind him.
“Thank you to all my colleagues and friends at Hilda Ross, I dedicate this award to you. Every one of you is deserving. Also, Wendy Taylor, our village manager who is retiring has been an inspiration. This award is equally dedicated to you and all your hard work.”