Valireteen Carter has occupied Room 403 of Union County’s Health and Rehabilitation Center for almost four years today and, in all that time, has tried her best to put other residents and staff members above herself.
“I love to be with the people here,” Carter, 93, said. “I love these people. We just have a great time everyday.”
Carter came to Union Health and Rehab in August of 2003 with her second husband, Troy Carter.
“His health was getting worse and my sons thought it would be better if we moved here together,” Carter said. “He passed away two years ago and I had a sad week that week. But the Lord kept looking out for me and I realized that everyday is a gift.”
Carter said her motto is to try to be jolly with everyone and that is exactly what she does -through her service to others.
“I like to look after everyone else here,” she said. “I love to just walk down the halls and talk to everyone. A lot of times, some of the residents will have a frown on their face, but I’ll smile at them and then they’ll smile back. It’s true that a smile really helps to encourage others.”
Carter said she also likes to help out by working in the center’s laundry room.
“I try to keep busy and I’ll work in the laundry room if they get behind,” Carter said. “It helps keep me busy and I like to help out anyway I can.”
One of her other favorite ways to pass the time is to play piano for the other residents and staff members.
“I’ll play piano during some of the worship services,” Carter said who is also a member of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church. “I love to play Gospel songs for everyone.”
Carter said she first began learning how to play the piano after her father traded a mule for an organ when she was nine years old.
“He was really good playing the violin and so he started teaching me to play the piano,” Carter said.
Carter said her reason for trying to serve others is her faith in God.
“God has blessed me with life and everyday is really a gift,” Carter said. “I just want to shine a light for everyone around me.”
Terry Rodgers, pastor at Northside Baptist Church, said knowing Carter has been a blessing for him.
“One thing that I’ve seen is that she does everything through God,” Rodgers said. “God gives her strength.”
Social services director Kathleen Messer agreed.
“She has been a joy to know,” Messer said. “She is such an encouragement for all of the staff members.”