Unpaid Cook And Janitor Cared For Assisted Living Residents After State Closed Down Their Facility

A California nursing home that unexpectedly shut down last fall laid off all of their staff, leaving its residents behind, except for two people — cook Maurice Rowland, and janitor Miguel Alvarez.


"There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, 'What are we going to do?'” Rowland says.

Maurice Rowland (left) and Miguel Alvarez were working at an assisted living home last fall. When it shut down, Maurice -€- the cook --” and Miguel — the janitor --” stayed to take care of the residents left behind.

"If we left, they wouldn't have nobody," 34-year-old Alvarez said. “We were just the cook and the janitor."

The team duo spent several days providing round-the-clock care for elderly patients, doling out medication, bathing, feeding, and looking after them. Though they weren’t getting paid, Alvarez and Rowland worked around the clock, only taking quick breaks to shower.

“I just couldn’t see myself going home,” said Rowland.

The team stayed until the local fire department and sheriff took over Valley Springs Manor nursing home, and their actions eventually led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014, which protects nursing home residents from being abandoned in the case of a shutdown.

“Even though they (weren’t) our family, they were kind of like our family for that short period of time,” said Alvarez.

“The Department fell short of its mission to protect the health and safety of residents in Valley Springs Manor,” the Department of Social Services said in a statement. “The Division erred in not ensuring, through successful engagement with local partners, that relocation arrangements for all of the residents were complete.”

Thank God for wonderfully selfless people like Maurice and Miguel who stand up for the grandmas and grandpas that would have gone forgotten. 

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