Speaking Softly and Extending a Helping Hand

Sometimes, even the smallest measures of kindness weave themselves into the fabric of our relationships and strengthen the neighborly bonds that become the foundations of a community. For Bob Bates, a 27-year veteran staff member at Noble Horizons, understanding the routines of the many cottagers he has come to know over the years, lending a helping hand when needed, and the simple act of being around each day has made him a beloved member of the Noble Horizons family.

Undoubtedly, it’s Bob’s constant presence - based on a schedule he keeps religiously - that has fostered lasting friendships with those he sees each morning. “They all love me,” Bob says with a self-effacing laugh. “I thought when I first came here I might have to throw them a few bucks to like me, but they have managed to anyway. '' Bob's genial nature on nearly every subject is rooted in his many years in the field of long-term care where he has worked in a variety of different positions.

Bob grew up in Amenia, NY. He worked as an aide for the Wassaic Developmental Center for 15 years beginning in 1978 before coming to Noble Horizons in 1993. Over the course of his nearly three decades of service at Noble, Bob has played a number of roles (starting as a bus driver then moving to the evening shift as a security guard) before eventually becoming part of Noble’s landscaping team. He currently spends his days outside - often accompanied by resident sidekick Chris Galligan - pruning, raking and generally maintaining Noble’s beautiful vista.

In addition to outdoor maintenance, Bob has developed the routine of picking up cottagers’ garbage twice a week, a tradition that has proven critically helpful on more than one occasion. “I make sure I’m out there bright and early each morning because that’s what they expect. Knowing everyone’s routine - it’s important to them - it’s important to me, and if I don’t see a blind open, I’m going in.”

Bob currently lives in Lakeville with his wife who serves the residents of the Northwest Corner as a nurse in the ER at Sharon Hospital. When pondering the possibility of retirement Bob approaches the subject with a similar kind of jovial cynicism, “My wife told me to go to 62, which puts me at three years and counting. When I think about it though, maybe it would be OK to slow down someday and enjoy a little golf.”

Outside of Noble, Bob enjoys driving friends, family, and anyone in need of a ride to Florida for their winter vacations. “I’ve driven to Florida 81 times, but who’s counting? I enjoy the interactions that long road trips provide.” For Bob, interactions are the heart of everyday life, whether it be a friendly chat or a special delivery of home-baked treats to his shop at Noble Horizons - Bob enjoys the connections he’s made as much as residents enjoy seeing his headlights each morning. “Everyone here is different, no matter who they are or what their situation is, you can’t help but get hooked on them.”

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