An ex-soldier who serves evening drinks to residents at the bar of an Anglesey care home has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
But being the barman at the Gwyddfor Residential Home at Bodedern near Holyhead is just one of the myriad tasks carried out each day by Stephen Heath.
Director Glyn Williams said the 52-year-old former soldier has become his “right-hand man” at the 28-bed facility.
Stephen, from Valley near Holyhead, Anglesey has been shortlisted for the Commitment to Quality in Hospitality at the Wales Care Awards which is sponsored this year by Care Home Life.
Sponsored by healthcare products company Ontex UK the glittering Wales Care Awards ceremony will take place at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 21.
The host for the evening will be the popular tenor, Wynne Evans, and for the first time the event will be live streamed online.
Stephen, originally from Shropshire, said he was delighted to have been nominated and very pleased to have been shortlisted for the award.
He said: “It means a lot to me but just as much to the residents and staff at Gwyddfor. It’s great that Gwyddfor is being recognised in this way. I found it quite unbelievable to be nominated for any kind of award.”
He has worked at Gwyddfor for the past 12 years having first visited as a contractor – he is a qualified plumber – and his talents were quickly spotted by the home’s managers and was asked to join the staff.
Stephen, who served with the Welsh Guards for 16 years, has become qualified in various areas of facilities management since joining the staff at Gwyddfor but continues to use his plumbing skills and the medical training he received in the Army.
“I’ll often be called if there are any out of hours maintenance issues which is never a problem as I’m not too far away and there most days. I enjoy working with the residents and getting to know them and their families. I hope they see me as a friendly face who is pleased to see them when they visit,” he said.
Glyn Williams said Stephen is also responsible for implementing upgrades in facilities at Gwyddfor and recently investigated the options for a new dementia care spa room which would include a Japanese deep whirlpool bath and hoist.
Glyn Williams said: “Steve can turn his hand to anything, nothing is too much trouble. If any of our residents have a problem with anything in their rooms then Steve is onto it like there is no tomorrow.
“Health and safety is always paramount to Steve. He is actively involved in all client risk assessments. He is also responsible for implementing several modern technological features to reduce the risk of falls at Gwyddfor.
“He doubles as the Gwyddfor barman at all our functions. He will often be found entertaining the troops via our interactive display or maybe running a team quiz, or simply having a chat with our clientele in the bar.
“Steve has become my right-hand man, I would be lost without him, a fact that I’m constantly reminded of by all our residents and their families.”
Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the aim of the Wales Care Awards was to recognise the unstinting and remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
He said: “The social care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are people who go the extra mile for others.
“During the Covid crisis, this fantastic workforce rose magnificently to the challenge, putting their own lives on the line to do everything they possibly could to safeguard the people for whom they provide care.
“Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for many other people to realise how important and how significant our social care workforce is.
“Their incredible contribution was summed up best in the powerful and emotive words of the song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, which was set to the famous tune of Men of Harlech. The message that the diolch should last forever is one that we should never forget.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards people need and never recognise the value of people who need care in society.
“All the nominees deserve to be lauded and applauded and it’s a real pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists.
“I congratulate all the individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and professionalism. Every one of them should be proud of their achievement.
“They are Wales’s finest.”