NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Inside New Haven’s senior care community of Mary Wade, you will find Resident Assistant Xiomari Caban Garcia and Certified Nursing Assistant Laurene Ortowski.

These ladies are compassionate and caring.

“My job is directly with the residents, it just means a lot,” Ortowski said.

“Some of our residents don’t have a single visitor. At the end of the day, we are their family,” Garcia added.

Most of all, these ladies are committed to enriching the lives of the residents who call Mary Wade “home.”

“I feel like we have the opportunity everyday to impact our residents,”  Ortowski said.

Ortowski has been working at Mary Wade since she was 17.

“I never even thought, not once about going somewhere else or leaving here,” Ortowski said, 40 years later. “The friendships you build with the residents, I think you take that away forever with you. I know I will.”

That’s something she and Garcia have in common: they love the residents.

“We care caregivers but at the same time, they have so much to give to us,” Garcia said.

The job of a caregiver is not easy, as the pair noted “some days, you have long days here.”

However, sometimes the simplest things make it extra rewarding.

Garcia recalled a sweet story when a resident was thrilled to see her:

“She smiled and went, ‘Sweetie it’s you,'” Garcia said. “She said, ‘I’m so happy it’s you.’ In the back of my head, I was like, ‘Man, its been such a long day, I’m really tired.’ But it just gave me a reminder of why I’m here. This is what we’re here for.  This is my purpose here, to see that smile. Just your presence makes huge difference in their world.”

Garcia and Ortowski were both recently recognized for their compassion and care. They received the “Caring Hands” awards from LeadingAge Connecticut, an organization that represents senior care communities.