Esmeralda “Esmie’’ Perales is the ultimate “extra-miler,’’ forever going above and beyond.
Recently, Perales, a dedicated and enthusiastic Technician (WorkSteps) at Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s Muscatine, Iowa-based Cedarwood clinic, noticed a coworker was dealing with residual symptoms from a concussion.
The concussion-related mishap happened months prior, but lingering effects of a fall and ensuing head trauma, had found their way back.
Understanding the situation, Perales stepped in, began assisting the coworker with his workload and notified management.
When things were secure, Perales, in her sixth year as a member of the Rock Valley family, put the coworker in her truck and drove him to a nearby hospital’s emergency room.
Despite the urging of the coworker that all was well, Perales made sure her workmate was secure and stayed for what would be a six-hour hospital experience. Then, after a battery of tests showed her Cedarwood workmate was OK to push forward, did Perales move on with her routine. This after she made sure her friend was home home safely.
“I could tell he was under the weather that day in the clinic,’’ said Perales, a bundle of positive energy, who wears her heartfelt appreciation for her job and her workmates on her sleeve.
“And me taking him to the hospital is what family does,’’ she added. “We are family here, there is no denying that. The truth is we all look forward to being here and we all look after each other. If someone is in need, we all pull together to make sure those needs are met.’’
For her tireless efforts each day to make Cedarwood a special place for patients and staff– and her assisting with her struggling coworker — Perales is Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s August, 2021, “Making Better Lives’’ recipient.
In addition to her framed certificate of recognition, Perales will have $200 donated in her name to Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa.
“The Cedarwood family is just that, a family,’’ said Amanda Crouch, PT, DPT, Assistant Clinical Manager at the Cedarwood Clinic, who also serves as the Coordinator of Student Affiliations and Southeast Iowa Regional Coordinator of Clinical Education. “Our family was blessed five-and-one-half years ago when Esmie joined the team. She has served in a variety of roles within the building, from completing Work Steps testing and drug screens to helping with scheduling and covering various front offices in the region, but the most important role Esmie does every day is caring for people. Esmie does this every day with patients, with clients, and with staff. She cares deeply for those in our building and those we bring into the building.’’
Perales, according to her peers, has gone out of her way to purchase activity books for the children of clinicians who stay at Cedarwood on late-start school days. She has prepared countless dinners for Rock Valley families — just because — and is the go-to staffer when it comes to clinic food days celebrating college students gaining valuable clinical experience.
For the single mother, Rock Valley is the perfect fit. Both staff and patients — friends and family as she sees it — give her an amazing sense of self-worth
“I want to share this,’’ said Perales, touching her hand to her heart and sporting a gratitude-filled grin. “A few years back, I hit a slump, but I had a goal to take my boys to an amusement park. I didn’t know this at the time, but they — the Cedarwood staff — all pulled together and bought tickets for myself and my boys to go to an amusement park.This place is special; so family oriented. I’m so lucky. I cannot believe I would ever want to work anywhere else.
“And the outcome we get from patients,’’ added Perales, a huge smile crossing her face. “Someone coming in here in a wheelchair and leaving — on their own two feet — is amazing. The passion the therapists have toward their patients is beautiful. And we all come together in time of need.’’
Boy, do they.
The Rock Valley difference is alive and thriving in Muscatine.
By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller