A 90th birthday bash for Bendetti
Citizen Telegram Editor
“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes…and we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes,” Joe Kasper, a resident of the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home sang as a large group of residents and employees waited and stared down the hallway.
They were waiting for Betty Bendetti, who turned 90 on Monday. But she’s not a resident. Bendetti works at the nursing home and has for nearly 20 years.
The gathering was a surprise birthday party that came complete with 90 “cake pops,” loads of different kinds of cake and of course, birthday cake. Lisa Adams, admissions coordinator, who was instrumental in putting on the party, along with the other employees, went downstairs to get Bendetti, which seemed to take awhile.
“She’s not going to want to come up because she’s working,” Bendetti’s niece, Tanya Hall of Silt, said knowingly.
But she finally did. The petite woman, who looked to be no more than about 4-foot-11 inches, had a very surprised look on her face when she walked into the room.
“I”m wowed,” she said, with a big smile. “I’m delighted and very shocked.”
She then began going around the room and giving everyone a hug.
“I love hugs,” she said.
Carolyn Reser, administrator of the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, read a letter to Bendetti from Viki Manley, director of the Office of Community Access and Independence, wishing her a happy birthday.
“Your commitment to our nation’s veterans, their spouses and family members is beyond any and all expectation,” Manley wrote. “The dedication and work ethic that you have demonstrated over the past 20 years is an example for others to take note of, but few, if anyone, will match. You have personally made an improvement in the lives of too many veterans, families and staff to count. Our system has had many changes over the years, but you remain steadfast and true to the higher calling of serving our nation’s heroes.”
Bendetti wiped some tears from her eyes as the letter was read.
She posed for pictures in front of her birthday table with a large sign that was covered with well wishes.
“Can I have a week off?” she asked with a laugh. “I need a week off to read all this.”
Bendetti admitted that she really didn’t feel much different at 90 than she did five years ago.
“I enjoy what I’m doing and working with all the residents and all these nice people,” she said. “But I don’t think I can handle another surprise like this in another five years.”
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