For Alice Raposo, an accounting clerk at Providence Manor, Providence Care’s long-term care home, 46 years of service has gone by in a flash. Appropriately known as the spreadsheet queen, her vast knowledge and years of working at the home are soon coming to a close as she sets sail towards retirement.
Alice started a part-time role on the dietary team in 1977 making $1.97 an hour while attending St. Lawrence College. One year later, following graduation, Alice landed the role of Accounting Clerk – the same role she holds today – 45 years later. A career milestone not many can brag about achieving in their lifetime.
“I truly can’t believe it’s been 46 years. I have enjoyed my time at Providence Manor so much. It feels like just yesterday that after graduation, Sister Margaret, the home’s Administrator, asked if I wanted to train in the office. I said I’d love that. One of the girls in the office was moving out West. Sister Margaret said I could have the job. So, I took it and I’ve been there ever since,” explains Alice.
Alice’s office was located in the current Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul residence on Ordnance Street, or the “big castle” as one of her son’s referred to it as a child. At the time, Providence Manor was only three stories high. After an extensive renovation which saw the home’s expansion to five floors, Alice moved to her current office in the administration wing within Providence Manor in the early 1990’s.
Alice’s connection to Providence Manor also extends beyond her employment. As a child she attended church at the Lady of Sorrow’s Chapel within Providence Manor with her family. Her mother worked at the home for 22 years, along with her sister-in-law, a cousin and a family member from her husband’s side.
In fact, it was through one of Alice’s friends that she worked with in dietary that she met her husband. “I was a bridesmaid in her wedding and he was the groomsmen and my partner. We’ve been together for almost 42 years now,” says Alice. Alice’s family life has been deeply embedded in Providence Manor.
As the second most senior staff member in the home, the residents and her coworkers have become an extension of her family. Alice says the people she interacts with on a daily basis have always made a positive difference in her life and make Providence Manor a great place to work.
“I grew up around my grandparents, so I have always enjoyed working with the residents. It’s been wonderful here. Some residents stay in your heart. I could always expect one resident to come down and visit every Monday because he really enjoyed hockey and so do I. It would make his day just to come down and chat about the games we watched.”
In her role, Alice is responsible for accounts receivable, resident accommodation billing, renewing resident health cards, running reports and tracking resident admission, discharge and transfers. Alice works closely with the Ministry of Long-Term Care, processing and completing resident rate reductions, when required. Over the years, Alice has seen many changes including new systems, processes and updated rules and regulations from the Ministry.
But the number of residents and families that have walked through the door of the business office and interacted with Alice over 46 years are easily in the thousands and are the memories she holds the closest. Alice often assists family members with finance and billing related questions, especially during the admission process, which she says can often be quite stressful for families. Alice is always available to assist with any questions they may have along the way.
“We have a fantastic finance team. And I couldn’t have a better manager now and have had the pleasure to work for other amazing managers in the past. They’re fantastic and heartwarming. They back you up. It has really made me stay put and focus on my work. I’ve worked with my colleague Lori Lawless who is also an accounting clerk for over 20 years now in the business office too and we get along so well.”
The feeling is mutual for current Manager of Financial Services, Brad Ethier.
“In my 20 plus years of being Alice’s manager, I have never had to worry about the business office at Providence Manor. There is no better feeling to me than knowing that the office was in good hands. Although I have spent most of my Providence Care career located at the St. Mary’s of the Lake Site and now the Providence Care Hospital site, Alice was always just a phone call away and we always talked through the many challenges that were presented to us throughout the years,” says Brad.
“She treated all residents and staff with respect and compassion throughout her career at Providence Manor and I have seen this firsthand many times. I am obviously excited for her retirement after a 46-year career but I will miss her dearly. Alice was not only a staff member of mine, she is a great friend. Her dedication to her job and the many laughs we had together will never be forgotten,” continues Brad.
What will Alice miss the most? She says it will be all of the people she has met and the friends she has made.
With her husband set to retire in the fall of 2024, Alice is looking forward to slowing down during retirement.
“I want to get back to my sewing, which I love to do so much. And I’ve got Mom at home with me – she’s 92 now. We will be doing little daytrips together and things around the house.”
“I won’t miss the work,” Alice laughs. “But I will miss everybody. Working in long-term care is not as easy as people may think. But I just don’t know where the last 46 years have gone,” she reflects.
Alice’s last day of work is January 12. Congratulations on an incredible, inspiring and amazing career Alice. To say you will be missed is a huge understatement. Thank you for your years of living the Mission and dedicating your career to Providence Manor!