Throughout the holiday season, WestJet asks Canadians to nominate hardworking individuals as a part of their Holiday Heroes Christmas Campaign. Nominees dedicate time away from loved ones over the holidays to help others, and go above and beyond within their industry. For one of our resident’s families, Ionia, a Licensed Practical Nurse on our memory care floor, was an obvious choice.

When the WestJet selection committee received Ionia’s nomination, they were touched by how the family spoke about the kindness, empathy and dignity Ionia provides when caring for their loved one, who lives here at Trico LivingWell.

The care Ionia provides extends to everyone she interacts with – she has gained the love, trust, respect and adoration from Trico LivingWell residents and team alike.

After confirming her nomination, a Global Calgary TV crew and Ionia’s colleagues came together at Trico LivingWell to watch as the WestJet “elves” surprised Ionia.

As she exited the elevator, a wave of emotions registered on Ionia’s face.

WestJet confirmed to Ionia that she was receiving a round-trip to the WestJet destination of her choice as one of this year’s Holiday Heroes. Ionia’s confusion quickly turned to joy, and she shared that she will be using this trip to fly to Jamaica with her husband and children – the first time she will visit home in 11 years.

We could not be more thrilled that Ionia was chosen as a Holiday Hero. Her dedication, positivity, and compassion for her work and our residents makes her a hero at our community year-round. In the words of our Director of Nursing, Cathy Lockhart,

“She is so compassionate, so kind, so smart. She’s just an absolute gift.”

As we head into the New Year, we are inspired by Ionia’s words around being chosen as a Holiday Hero:

“The things you do, you should do to the best of your ability. There is a reward in the end.”

You can watch the magical moment WestJet surprised Ionia here