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From The Heart: Honoring Area Caregivers

We lost our friend Nancy Morrill on October 5, 2021. She was a case manager, friend and caregiver. When we knew we would be losing her to cancer, we wanted to honor and remember her for her strength and knowledge. The AAA Five County Caregiver Advisory Board put together an award and named it the the “Nancy Morrill: From the Heart Caregiver Award.” They then sought nominations and chose this year's recipients and runners up. Today, we would like to share their stories of strength with all of you.

Keith and Sandi Bettridge have been caring from someone for years. AAA Five County first met them in 1998, when they were assisting Sandi’s mom in caring for her father. They were a young family with preschool aged children.

After her father passed, their oldest son Erik was in a motorbike accident at the age of 14. He suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the family’s life changed forever. Keith had his job transfer him to Salt Lake City and he stayed with his son in long term care while he was completing part of the journey of lifelong rehabilitation. Sandi stayed in Cedar City with the other children and kept them going. Erik has needed on going care his family has assisted him in physical therapy, brain remapping and many other treatments. Erik is now 27. During that time, Sandi’s mom developed Alzheimer Disease and Sandi, along with her siblings helped care for her too until she passed away.

As a family, and a couple, they have continued to enjoy family activities, such as camping, visiting parks, eating out and much more. They have been a family of love and inclusion. To recognize all they have done and great example they have shown, we are honored to name them this years runner up, for which we gave them a plaque with a quote from actor Edward Albert who gave up his career to care for his father, then died shorty after. We thought the Albert's story and quote: “The simple act of Caring is Heroic,” were very fitting for the Bettridge family!

This year's Nancy Morrill: From the Heart Caregiver Award was presented on October 29, 2021, to Tony Bertucci of Escalante, Utah. Tony is a caregiver for his older brother Dennis, who suffered a stroke and now needs extensive care. The help he receives from his brother allows him to be in his home instead of a long-term care facility.

When he first started his caregiving journey, Tony moved to Boulder, but they moved to Escalante to a warmer home and an area with a few more services. Tony gave up his home and his business to assist his brother, moving to Utah from Needles, California.

Tony and Dennis are close friends. Tony assists his brother with everyday tasks from meal preparation and cutting food, to assistance with dressing and mobility. They also take rides, hound for rocks, and exercise (usually a stationary bike) and watch television together. Tony has also been a caregiver for his parents and others throughout the years.

Dean Morrill, Nancy's husband, was able to present the award to Tony at his home in Escalante. Dean and Nancy both know the Bertucci Brothers and were told of the choice prior to Nancy’s death. Nancy was happy to know that Tony would be receiving the award and Dean was happy to present the award in honor of his late wife.

Do you know a caregiver who deserves recognition of their caregiving? Check back early next year for your chance to nominate them for the 2022 Nancy Morrill: From the Heart Caregiver Award.

Tracy HeavyRunner is our Home and Community Based Program Director.

She has been with AAA-Five County since 1996. Tracy graduated from Southern Utah University and is a Social Service Worker. Additionally, she is a certified caregiver coach through the Rosalyn Carter Institute and a Master Trainer for the Chronic Disease, Diabetes and Pain Self-Management Programs.

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