‘If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody’: Heroic Janitor and Cook Cared for Elderly Patients after Shut Care Home was ABANDONED by Staff

‘If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody’: Heroic Janitor and Cook Cared for Elderly Patients after Shut Care Home was ABANDONED by Staff

When a California care home shut down last year, at least 16 elderly residents were left behind, some of whom were sick and bedridden. But while most staff at the now-infamous Valley Springs Manor abandoned the facility when they stopped getting paid, two stayed on. Check out this amazing story and how two regular men became everyday heroes:

Sign proclaiming Spring Valley 'Closed for Business' - While Residents Remained Inside

Sign proclaiming Spring Valley ‘Closed for Business’ – While Residents Remained Inside

Now, janitor Miguel Alvarez and cook Maurice Rowland have explained their reasons for remaining at the assisted living home in Castro Valley.

Speaking to National Public Radio’s ‘Morning Edition’, Mr. Rowland, 35, said: ‘There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, “What are we going to do?”‘

‘If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody,’ 34-year-old Mr. Alvarez concluded.

Valley Springs Manor, which homed senior citizens with dementia and other ailments, was shut down on October 24, 2013, after its operator’s license was suspended. The suspension was reportedly the result of a long list of violations, including failing to properly train employees or run criminal background checks and making false claims to regulators. Owners abandoned the Alameda County facility after placing a sign reading ‘closed for business’ on its front door, ABC 7 reported at the time.

Although some residents were removed by their loved ones, at least 16 – as many as 19, according to a number of reports – were left behind with nowhere to go. Following the subsequent ‘mass evacuation’ of staff, Mr. Rowland and Mr. Alvarez were forced to work together to provide round-the-clock care for residents. This included frantically changing patients’ diapers, as well as bathing and trying to feed them.

‘I would only go home for one hour, take a shower, get dressed, then be there for 24-hour days,’ said Mr Alvarez, a stay-at-home father of a son and a stepson.

Mr. Rowland added that many of the pensioners – who quickly became his ‘family’ – could not take care of themselves and may have been seriously injured if left alone.

‘I just couldn’t see myself going home – next thing you know, they’re in the kitchen trying to cook their own food and burn the place down,’ he said.

The pair – who each earned around $8-an-hour at the care home, but were paid nothing after the facility’s suspension – spent several days caring for residents. However, they decided to call 911 on October 26 out of concern for the pensioners’ health and welfare, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters shortly arrived at the scene, before rescuing residents from the home. Most of the patients were later taken to hospitals in the area. As the incident hit the headlines, police said officers and county social services officials had been assured that patients would be cared for over the weekend after the suspension was issued.They said they believed new places were being found for the residents, but this was not the case.

Over the past year, Mr. Alvarez and Mr. Rowland have received a number of awards and commendations for their actions, which many have deemed ‘heroic’. The shocking incident also prompted California authorities to create new legislation, known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014. The Act aims to ensure care home residents are not abandoned by owners and staff in the future.

Listen to this heart warming audio giving accolades to the heroes:


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