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Jay Winters has come a long way in the last few years. Between January 2017 and February 2018, he went from working in housekeeping services to becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at University Heights Health & Living, a CarDon & Associates senior living community on the southside of Indianapolis. Before he found CarDon at a job fair late in 2016, he was living in a shelter for homeless veterans provided by the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF).

Jay served in the Marine Corps from 1979 to 1984, carrying out overseas duty as a supply administration clerk in Okinawa, Japan and the Philippine Islands. His military experience infused him with an appreciation for teamwork and sense of empathy and compassion that he carries in his heart to this day.

“As a veteran, I naturally have a concern for people and want to be protective of their needs,” Jay said. “I’m a people person, and I love the people here at University Heights. It’s a real joy to see them every day.”

As he fell in love with the residents, Jay quickly found himself compelled to move from housekeeping into a caregiver position. CarDon directed him toward a five-week CNA training course with the RESQ Health & Safety Training organization.

Jay has long been interested in the medical field, and after serving as a CNA for a little more than a month now, he feels inspired to pursue a nursing degree from Marian University. Most of all, though, Jay just wants to further his education as much as he can and continue to grow in every way possible.

Jay credits CarDon and University Heights for boosting his strength and helping him “get back on his feet” after his bout with homelessness. The relationships he forged with residents and colleagues lifted his spirits and made him soar toward a positive path.

“CarDon is extremely encouraging and career-oriented,” Jay said. “They make me want to succeed and keep pursuing a bright future.”

The motivation behind his work ethic can also be traced full circle back to his experience in the Marine Corps.

“The Corps definitely gave me the discipline I have today,” Jay said. “That experience helped me appreciate the importance of learning, working hard and always being a team player.”

CarDon is grateful to have Jay on its team. Since he started as a housekeeper back in the winter of 2017, he’s been gracing the halls of University Heights with a willingness to help and a warm smile on his face.