CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An at-home caregiver was given an award for going above and beyond her job. 

Four days each month Leah Smith got in her car and drove 20 minutes to care for client Ernest Caldwell. It was the highlight of her week.

“I always look forward to it,” Smith said. “It was an absolute joy.”

What You Need To Know

  • Leah Smith was awarded the Regional Southeast Caregiver of the Year

  • She is a CNA of BrightStar Care Charlotte

  • She was nominated by her client's daughter

In August, she wasn’t visiting Caldwell. She was visiting his daughter, Lisa Bowman. Caldwell passed away in June. The two ladies have both shared his loss and kept in touch ever since his death.

“She didn’t just come in and do the things on her task list, she cares,” Bowman said. “She always went above and beyond in her job.”

Smith helped take care of her father for a whole year. During that time she also became his friend. She wrote his thoughts for him in his diary.

“He would just tell me his stories and I would ask him questions,” Smith said. “He loved to tell me about his life because he loved it so much.”

Caldwell talked about how he grew up on a farm and served in the Air Force. Bowman was thrilled when she found out about the diary. It’s a relic that her family will now have forever to remember him.

But that’s not all she did. Smith also cooked for Caldwell. She made a special meal for him on Father’s Day.

“She whipped up eggs benedict that were so beautiful it looked like something you would get from a very fine restaurant,” Bowman said.

Caldwell loved history and Smith would search for information on the internet to read to him.

“She would read articles to him while they were sitting outside,” Bowman said. “That was one of the few things that he could still enjoy.”

Bowman said nobody asked Smith to do these things. She just thought of them and did everything in her power to make her client feel at home. The acts of kindness still resonate with Bowman today knowing someone else cared for her father as much as she did.

“She treated him like he was her family member, like he was her dad and how her father would want to be treated,” Bowman said. “I want to thank her.”