Terry Petre: Plant Operations Director and Friend to Residents at Coffee Creek Senior Living Community
Above and Beyond, “It’s the little things that make our residents happy!”
How do you make a difference in the lives of all those residents looking for relief from every-day frustrating annoyances which become even more-so during a pandemic? Terry Petre doesn’t think of what he does “acting naturally” as anything special but the residents think otherwise. “TV operations seem simple to me, but it’s really frustrating when you don’t know how to fix a remote, find a channel, correct an error when you’ve pressed the wrong button,”said Terry. “I can tell by walking by, someone needs help, and it makes me think of my own Dad who was an ‘older gentleman’ when I was born,” explained Terry. “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for older people. They are so grateful for any small thing you do, you’d think they won the lottery if I can fix a microwave, TV, raise or lower a chair, adjust a wheelchair or walker,” he said. “Lost keys, phones, misplaced other items frustrate me when they happen. I think of how extra frustrating it could be when residents misplace items. Our residents have to depend on us, the staff at Coffee Creek for help. I try to understand how difficult it is to wait; so many times I just stop what I’m on my way to handle and do whatever they need at the moment.”
Other times Terry is hanging a picture, moving furniture around, even making a call with a resident trying to communicate with a cable provider. Terry said he is attached to the residents at Coffee Creek. “One of the younger residents is like a sister to me; she frequently misplaced her keys so I thought I’d pick up one of those lanyards she could wear. She likes ‘bling’ so I got the jeweled one for her,” he said, emphasizing it was no big thing to him but it was to her: “I just don’t feel like it’s a job, it’s more like helping your buddies.”
Terry arrived at Coffee Creek for his new position in July 2018 while the building was under construction. His experience in construction, member of Local 1005 in Hobart, and as owner of apartment complexes enables expertise as Director of Plant Operations, along with the recent responsibilities as a facility coordinator in the area. Terry resides in Porter; he and his wife have eight children, the youngest is 15 years of age, and there are now six grandchildren. He enjoys trails, fishing, and watching football.
He fondly recalls and misses one of his “buddies” at Coffee Creek, a resident who was a referee for Big Ten college games. On Monday mornings Terry would look forward to seeing him in the dining area so they could Monday Morning Quarterback the weekend games. The little things at Coffee Creek mean a lot, not only to residents but to Terry and all the staff as well.