We are all called to serve others as part of our mission in this life, even more so by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in this Year of Mercy. The staff here at Good Counsel see their work as a vocation, an answer to the call to serve the least among us. When we aren’t working, we are serving our own families, loved ones, and communities. One staff member, however, also serves her country at the same time.
Victoria Castanela has been a Senior Residential Aid for nine months at our Staten Island home. In that short time she has endeared herself to staff and residents alike. We will have to make do without Victoria for a few weeks as she has deployed for a mission in Germany as part of her U.S. Army Reservist responsibilities.
Victoria, who has been in the Army Reserves for eight years, is an E-4 Specialist. While in uniform, she has two jobs. She said, “My first job is Transportation Management Specialist and my second job is Transportation Fueler.” Although this deployment is only for a few weeks, Victoria served in Iraq from 2010 to 2011.
Not only will Victoria be missed by her Good Counsel family, but also missing her will be her young daughter. Thinking back over her deployment times, Victoria shared, “It has always been difficult to be away from my daughter whenever I have a mission to complete. The hardest was being away in Iraq and not being able to hold her in my arms for 12 months, but I knew deep down that she was being taken care of by my Aunt who is like a mother to me.”
Victoria continued, “the family support I have is phenomenal and I am grateful for it. I want to be the best role model for my daughter even if it means sacrificing my time with her to do my job. I chased my dream and succeeded and I want her to have the same drive for her own dreams.”
Of her work at Good Counsel, Victoria shared, “These moms here are my life. I go home thinking of ways to help them succeed and strive for better things in life. I had always had family support and to see them not have that breaks my heart. It is my job to be that support for them.
Being someone’s mentor is my favorite part of the job. It gives us time to really understand the residents and their state of mind. They seem to open up more in one-on-one conversations. I don’t sugar coat anything for them because I want them to be realistic about life and their choices.”
Please keep Victoria, her daughter, and her Unit in your prayers as they complete this latest mission. We are anxious for her return, but it’s obvious that she is doing work according to His will and not our own.
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