Super Fan of The Wright Center Shows Appreciation in Heartfelt Letter
Scranton woman’s spirit-lifting gesture for team members is true treasure
To call Scranton resident Vera Moran a “fan” of The Wright Center for Community Health doesn’t capture the full extent of her devotion.
She is a super fan.
Her appreciation for the organization and its hundreds of employees runs deep, a feeling so powerful that the grateful patient recently started a one-woman letter-writing campaign calling for all of the workers to receive … uh, let’s say, astronomical pay raises – or perhaps a more realistic form of recognition.
“I want to give something back to them, because they’ve given me so much,” says Vera, 49. “They made my life normal. Nobody in my entire life ever took the time to care about me as much as they do.”
Vera spent years in institutional settings, including the former Eastern State School and Hospital and the Clarks Summit State Hospital, she says. She credits The Wright Center’s healthcare providers and support staff for making her a partner in decisions about her treatment (especially regarding medications), for promptly returning her “millions” of phone messages, and for continually being willing to listen.
She recently wrote and delivered a one-page, handwritten letter, explaining later that the words represented “the way I feel in my heart.” It is addressed to “All Wright Center Offices.”
“Thank you for caring about me so much,” the letter states. “You all are so nice, friendly, helpful and understanding. … I can open up to you and be myself. You don’t get mad, yell or scream at me. You listen carefully, understand, give feedback and help any way you can.
“Don’t ever change!”
The brief letter – ending with Vera’s fanciful suggestion for the awarding of blanket, multimillion-dollar raises – landed on the desk of Lauren Nardelli, manager of our Scranton Practice. “I read it, and it just put the biggest smile on my face,” she says.
Lauren copied the letter and distributed it to certain colleagues, providing it as a pick-me-up during this prolonged and emotionally punishing pandemic era. Lauren keeps one copy in her desk drawer. “If I’m having a bad day,” she says, “I will pull out the letter and re-read it, because it helps to bring me back to the essential mission: This is what we do, this is what we’re here for. It’s calming.”
Vera, who makes frequent visits to our Scranton Practice, copes with a range of physical and behavioral health conditions including congestive heart failure and diabetes, she says. She relies on Lackawanna County’s public transportation to get to her appointments at the practice and for occasional unscheduled drop-ins when she “needs to talk.” Vera knows many employees by name, and many of them can gauge her state of mind as she enters the building, she says.
“They know when I’m in a good mood. They know when I’m joking. They know when I’m serious,” says Vera. “They can just look at my face.”
In a subsequent, longer letter that Vera drafted, she called The Wright Center’s employees her “guardian angels.”
During an interview, she explained that her deep appreciation took root, in part, because The Wright Center’s employees “got to know me” before forming any judgments. At times, they have advocated for her to receive support and services, such as assistance through the Scranton-based Friendship House’s outpatient program, she says.
They have celebrated with her (for example, at the birth of her nephew’s child) and they have consoled her (as she dealt with loved ones’ serious illnesses and deaths).
Reflecting on those important conversations, Vera briefly got emotional and stopped talking. Then she quietly said: “They have saved my life millions of times.”
Now, in her self-appointed role as a cheerleader for The Wright Center’s employees, Vera has her sights set on initiating a significant show of appreciation. “If a raise isn’t possible,” she says, “they deserve a ceremony, a plaque or something.”
Perhaps what Vera doesn’t realize is she has already provided our team with the greatest of thank-you gifts.
She put it on paper, and it is priceless.