“That’s the card I wanted.”
This is one of Wilber Yankey’s favorite phrases when the cards don’t seem to be going his way. But he’s also quick to remind his opponent when momentum seems to be swinging back his way.
“That’s all right. It’s only a game.”
Yankey is a senior companion. He has eight senior clients that he sees once or twice a week to make sure they can stay independent.
“If we keep them in the house, in their own home, they live longer. They enjoy life better, and that’s basically what I like to do.”
For Yankey, most of his time with clients is spent playing cards and helping with anything they need around the house.
“After so long, you know, they talk to the television, talk to the cat or the dog, and nobody answers back, so basically, I’m just a human voice that they can talk to.”
Wilber Yankey is a Jefferson Award Finalist this year. Vernita Lackey who coordinates the senior companion program nominated yankey for the Jefferson Award.
“Wilber is amazing. I mean he really doesn’t think he’s doing anything special. He just thinks he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s supposed to be helping other seniors.”
Lackey says Wilber will go above and beyond for his clients.
“If they’re his client, they’re not just his clients. They are, they’re his family.”
During the pandemic, senior companions weren’t allowed to visit clients but Yankey found a way to connect still.
“He continued to call them every week, ‘Do you need anything? Can I go to the grocery store for you?’ That sort of thing.”
Nancy Nemitz who is the one playing cards with Yankey says Wilber Yankey doesn’t try to be a wonderful man he just is.