Faithe Luanna Bava came to nursing late in life. By the time she started licensed practical nurse school, she had raised several children and she already had a grandson.
However, when she retired in late April as a registered nurse from the Parsons Senior Center, she left behind a legacy of compassion and dedication of remarkable breadth.
Senior Center Director Roxanne Tuefing said Bava's work is the reason that most of the center's programs are so successful.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Hoover
Parsons Senior Center nurse Faithe Bava enjoys retirement with Gracie, her boxer puppy.
"Luanna always went above and beyond and she had an incredibly big heart," Tuefing said.
Bava began working for the Senior Center as an in-home nurse in 1990, before the program was fully organized.
"At first it was trial and error," Bava said. "Nobody knew exactly what we were supposed to be doing.
"It was a wonderful job though. I absolutely loved it, and I could not have had better clients."
She said she worked with people all over the county, providing in-home medical services such as taking blood pressures and preparing pills, as well as developing meaningful relationships with her clients.
Bava said the relationships she developed with her clients were invaluable, because they taught her compassion, tolerance and humility.
"One of my earliest clients lived one mile up the side of a mountain," she said. "There was an entire family living there, and they did not have running water or a television. Their heat came from a pot-bellied stove in the center of the house. And they were some of the nicest people I have ever met.
"You could see they were perfectly content. Every time I left, I felt totally humbled. It taught me to appreciate what I have."
Bava mentioned another client, a cantankerous old woman, with whom she became close friends.
"The first time I visited her, she wouldn't let me into her house. We had to sit in the yard for the visit.
"However, she let me in after a few visits, and I became her best friend.
"She was so intelligent. She did not own a TV, but she loved her radio. Everyone knew that when Paul Harvey's program was on, you didn't talk to her.
"I used to tell everyone, 'She's so feisty you've got to love her.'"
Bava said one of the hardest times of her career was when this client passed away.
"I get attached to the ones with spunk. I could just love them to pieces," she said.
Coping with death, however, is part of the job. Bava said even though it was difficult at times, she learned to accept it.
"I don't think you ever get used to it, but you do realize you can't let it get you down. You have to move on."
Bava said she would change nothing about her experience as a nurse. She said she found her place.
"Nursing is a wonderful career. It can be hard - you have to love people and have a lot of sympathy, empathy and understanding - but I loved it," she said.
Tuefing said Bava will be deeply missed by the Senior Center's staff and clients, however she also wished her the best.
Bava said she her retirement plans consist of training her boxer puppy, Gracie, and experimenting with homemade wine.
"Last year we grew grapes and made our own wine, this year we're trying dandelion wine. We grew the dandelions, too," Bava said.
Contact Joe Hoover by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.