Helping People Is “Best Reward” for Right at Home Southeast Region Caregiver of the Year
Despite the fact that Matt Tripp worked in the corporate world for the majority of his professional life, he always felt a higher calling to do more to help others. Matt, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army, always dreamed of going to nursing school, but with a desk job and children to support, that goal always seemed to be out of his reach.
“Ultimately, I walked out of a corporate career later in life because I was burned out,” says Matt. “I joke that caregiving became my midlife crisis job.”
Settling Into a Second Career
After spending nearly two decades climbing the corporate ladder working in banking and then insurance sales, Matt started to feel like “everyday was Groundhog Day.” Since his wife, Deborah, had been able to successfully make a career change in her 40s, Matt was driven to revisit his old dream of going back to school for nursing. While pursuing a degree at Marchman Technical College as a Patient Care Technician, Matt discovered Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas, Florida, owned by Paul Lallanilla. Matt interned at Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas to log more clinical hours toward graduation. During his internship, he worked with Paul and Michelle Curry, Administrator.
“Working with Michelle and Paul was just incredible,” says Matt. “They taught me so much and helped me tremendously. I loved working with them so much that I asked them how I could apply for a job when I was done with school, and Michelle just told me to give her a call when I graduated. It was all very easy and seamless.”
Giving Back to Vets
Now as a caregiver, Matt feels as though he’s found his calling. Recently, he was named Right at Home’s 2021 Southeast Region Caregiver of the Year.
“I love the fact that I can help people stay in their homes because I feel like the people I help wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” says Matt. “And I love getting to know people. Everyone has such a great story.”
One of his clients happens to be a 97-year-old World War II veteran, and Matt loves hearing his stories and gaining a new perspective on life through him. As a fellow veteran, Matt volunteered for a local Honor Flight event that Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas sponsored, which celebrated World War II veterans.
“I saw Matt work with these senior vets in a friendly, caring and compassionate manner,” says Paul. “Being an Army veteran, Matt was able to talk to these gentlemen in a way others could not.”
Right at Home Is Family
In the years since he has joined the Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas team, Matt has become part of the family, both with his co-workers and clients.
“Matt always has a great big hearty smile and this contagious laugh,” says Michelle. “We could not ask for a better representation of Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas.”
The feeling is mutual for Matt, who prides himself on having never missed a shift for a client.
“I worry about my clients when I’m not there,” says Matt. “I sort of adopt them. Right at Home Pasco and North Pinellas is like my second family, so I was very surprised when I heard that I won this caregiver award. I didn’t even know I had been nominated! It’s nice to receive recognition for something that I truly love to do, but it’s just an added bonus. Getting to help people every day is the best reward.”