By Lynnette Esse
In 2001, after a successful 18 year career as an IT manager, Warrenton resident Cherie Vermillion was laid off. She found it difficult to find employment during a time when many of the dot-coms were failing or shutting down.
“I started praying for God to reveal who He wanted me to be and what He wanted me to be doing,” Cherie recalled. “How could I best serve Him?” Several months later, it was like a light bulb went off – she felt a calling to assist the elderly.
The only prior experience Cherie had was helping elderly friends and neighbors, so she spent the next few months performing research to learn more about the senior care industry. After determining where she could best serve, she put together a business plan and created Heaven Sent in 2002. She then disseminated information regarding her services to senior communities in Warrenton. She had her first client the day after she sent out the information.
“At the end of the first day with my new client, I was overwhelmed with emotion from my feelings of compassion for this total stranger,” Cherie said. “I recognized that people with mild dementia could easily be taken advantage of, and I just felt a passion for preventing that from happening to those in my care.”
Due to the success of her business, she hired additional people to work for Heaven Sent after 18 months. “I connected with other women who were like minded, who wanted to take care of the elderly,” Cherie said. “This job is a perfect opportunity for someone over the age of 40, who has already raised their children, and has flexible hours for work. I especially like hiring elderly people to take care of other elderly people – it gives them a purpose.”
In her efforts to ensure that her clients are well-cared for, Cherie remains highly involved in the oversight of all client care. She says that providing peace of mind to the family members is the best part of her job. “Since this is as much a ministry as a business for me, the personal reward of knowing that someone else’s life is made better by what we do cannot be matched,” Cherie said. “My staff feels the same way.”
“At first I offered just companion services, but later I pursued licensing for personal care so I could provide continuity of care through the end of life,” she said. “As part of our internal training program, a registered nurse educates my staff about how to work with people who have a variety of health issues, including dementia. We work closely with hospice agencies and home health care agencies who provide physical and occupational therapy. Most of our referrals come from word of mouth.”
Cherie and her dedicated staff at Heaven Sent provide a variety of services, including light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation to appointments, toileting, dressing, and personal hygiene, which includes bathing, shaving, and hair washing. They service residents in Fauquier and surrounding counties.
“It takes compassionate hearts to serve in this industry well,” Cherie commented. “We are always looking for those individuals to join the team. It is not a business for everyone. I would love to find like minded individuals to open additional offices.”
For more information on Heaven Sent call Cherie at 540-349-7772 or visit the website heavensentpca.com.
Heaven Sent’s Mission:
“To help our clients lead dignified, independent lifestyles in the comfort and safety of their own homes and to ensure a better quality of life by providing dependable and affordable care.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynnette Esse is a freelance writer who loves to hear stories about people serving God and their communities. She hopes that in writing and sharing those stories, others will be inspired to use their gifts, too. When not busy writing, Lynnette can most likely be found working in her yard with her husband Jon.