Welcome to the Community Spotlight. Each week, Park Central features a member of the community who lives, works in, or is a regular visitor of the central corridor of St. Louis. This person may be front-and-center or be working behind the scenes, may be a local entrepreneur or a dedicated customer, a long-time homeowner or a new apartment dweller. We will bring you the folks who generally make life special in our neighborhoods.
Verna Franklin is the manager of McCormack House, an 89 unit assisted living facility in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. For the past nine years, she has been a part of the McCormack House community. We spent some time talking to her about her experience there and learning about her enthusiasm for her job.
Question: How did you begin working at the McCormack House?
Answer: I’ve been working with McCormack Baron Ragan for 13 years. I started out as a temporary worker in 2001. After my 90 days they asked if I would still be interested in becoming an employee and I said yes and I’ve been here since. I started out at Westminster Place. I kept working my way up, first as a receptionist, then leasing agent, and then as an occupancy specialist. From there I was asked if I would like to be a manager at McCormack House. I’ve been the manager at McCormack House for 9 years.
Question: What do you do as manager of McCormack House?
Answer: I’m responsible for managing and maintaining the building. My duties include looking after resident’s safety and enjoyment. I try to find different activities for them to get involved in. I also help them with reaching out to their doctors and relatives and I help them schedule transportation and getting to and from places. I also handle the business side of the property including processing invoices and work orders and maintaining the building. I do a little of everything.
Question: What kinds of programs and services does McCormack House offer for their residents?
Answer: We have a lot of organizations and agencies that work with us to bring in programming and services. Saint Louis University High students come every Thursday to do ballroom dancing. There is a group called OASIS that does peer to peer discussion with the seniors. We have different home health agencies that come to check the resident’s blood pressure and help them with prescriptions. We have a benefits specialist from St. Louis Area Agency on Aging who meets with the residents on a monthly basis. We have an agency that takes them to the bank or shopping. We do movie nights every other Friday. And we have a beautician that comes every other Tuesday and Wednesday.
Question: What is your favorite part of your job?
Answer: I’m just satisfied that I am able to provide a service to help seniors. I enjoy helping them. I just treat them the way I would like to be treated, so I try to give them the best service possible.
Question: Tell me about the change you’ve seen in the neighborhood in the past 9 years.
Answer: It has been a great change. The Grove itself has more businesses and restaurants than ever and the neighborhood has more housing. They have revamped the overpasses and they are now really nice. The additional police officers are great to see and with having Barnes Hospital only 3 blocks away we feel that we are in the perfect location.
Thanks to Verna for giving us the opportunity to know her better. We look forward to having her as a part of the community for years to come.