August 6, 2020
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Staying Strong

Essential worker Joni Baker shares her story

In March, business changed. With stay-at-home orders, people packed up and prepared for several weeks of working remotely. Joni Baker, however, continued reporting to her job in Downtown Evansville each day.

“Everything during that time was all new,” says the Evansville native. “It changed the whole line.”

As a home caregiver during the day and an employee of Clean Suites in the evening, Baker was deemed an essential worker. She adopted new procedures when caring for homebound residents and was trained on new cleaning guidelines for offices. A big change for Baker was watching as those she had come to know through her evening job moved to remote work.

“It was a sad day for me, seeing everyone pack,” she says. “But I had to keep on and keep things going until everybody comes back in.”

Baker describes herself as a caregiver, always going above and beyond to help. She checks in with each office floor to ensure there are no issues to be addressed before workers leave for the day. As quarantine went into effect, she visited several stores to shop for an elderly woman, often sharing her own groceries. She also bought homemade masks to share for anyone unable to find one.

“Even though I’m taking out trash and cleaning, I’m still the same giving person,” says Baker.

Though she lost a family member at Signature Healthcare to the virus, Baker never thought about stepping away from her work during the quarantine.

“I look at myself as being a person who helps. I’m just giving my all,” says Baker. “It’s not about a paycheck. I put all in all. Anything I do.”

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