Local employees receive portion of company founder's $20 million gift to staff

Staff writer

Late last month, home health care company Bayada founder Mark Baiada announced he would distribute $20 million of his own money to his nearly 32,000 employees in what he called a gift of gratitude.

This week, 140 Bayada employees working at the company’s James City County branch were given their gifts of gratitude in the form of a letter from Baiada thanking each of them for their service and a portion of the $20 million sum being distributed into their bank accounts.

Branch Director Nick Vollmer said amounts were calculated based on the time that each employee has spent working for the company, with gifts ranging from $50 to those who were recently hired to upwards of $800 for one employee working at the Williamsburg office.

“It’s unbelievable, such a generous man who’s been so influential in home care and so influential in the lives of other people,” Vollmer said. “It’s a completely selfless act just to say thank you and show love for everybody and the work that they do.”

Employees at the local Bayada branch specialize in in-home care for elderly patients in need of non-medical services, Vollmer said, which can range from companionship to helping out with daily tasks. Employees at the local branch help patients living anywhere from West Point to Hampton, he said.

Certified Nursing Assistants Deborah Combs and Sarah Brown have each worked for Bayada for a number of years, and said the gift was a shock to both of them.

“We didn’t expect it, they work really hard in here to satisfy their employees and the clients, and for them to take time out of their schedule to do all of this for us is very much appreciated,” Brown said. “I have a daughter in college and I have three children at home, so I’m sure it will be spent in a great way.”

Combs, who has spent seven years working for the company, said she plans to retire soon, while five-year veteran Brown said she’s hoping to enter nursing school. Both said that they started working at the company to start a new stage in their lives, coming from backgrounds in telemarketing and as a stay-at-home mom.

As happy as they both were to get the surprise gift, Combs and Brown said the time that they spend caring for elderly clients is its own reward.

“This is a feel-good job,” Combs said. “It’s not just about the gift of gratitude, there's gratitude all year round.”

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

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