As head of protective services at St. John’s Home, Nelson Colon has a clear and defined mission: to serve and protect the people who live and work here. From the time he comes in at 5:30 a.m. to when he leaves for the day around 4 p.m., he does just that in a variety of ways together with his fellow security officers.
“People sometimes say, ‘It’s just a nursing home, what could happen?’ Nelson said. “You’d be surprised.”
At age 54, Nelson celebrated 26 years on the job in February 2015, and two years as head of security in March. It is clear he could not be more dedicated to and proud of the work he does at St. John’s Home.
“Unlike any other profession, protective services security allows me to build relationships with the elders when they are most in need of help,” Nelson said. “The dynamic of that relationship is truly unique and leads to interactions that are genuinely sincere. Whether it’s being able to help deal with issues or just sharing some private time, the elders are my greatest teachers.”
As a devout Christian who has overcome challenges in his own life, Nelson said he is sensitive to what many residents and family members go through and wishes he could fix everything. However, he says it is an honor and a blessing for him just to be in the presence of the people he is tasked with protecting and to hear some of their stories.
“The ‘thank yous’ I receive while performing my duties as a security officer have been the most heart-swelling and humbling experiences of my life,” he said. “Every day is different in my role, and it’s the uniqueness of each elder that never ceases to bring me great satisfaction.”
Nelson said he has met many residents from all walks of life, all of which he has treated with respect, admiration, and compassion. He remembers one resident in particular he refers to as “Old Blue Eyes” with whom he was especially close. “He was a wonderful man,” Nelson said. “I had a great deal of respect for him and it hit me hard when he passed away.”
Through the years, Nelson’s approach to his job has been to stay positive and always on alert. At work more than at his home in Greece, Nelson says “I love it here. I always have and always will.”