Yajaira Perez, a registered nurse at MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Connecticut, is one of many health care professionals working around the clock to care for patients who have contracted COVID-19, and for her selfless dedication to her community all year-round, she was recently awarded AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award.

Colleagues tell stories about Perez filled with admiration, including the time she came into the hospital at 3 AM to insert an IV into a patient who needed antibiotics.

Perez balances her time at the hospital with her home life, where she is the mother of two teenage boys, and in the midst of a pandemic, keeping her family safe can be a challenge. “As soon as I get home, I walk in the door and go straight to the washroom, put my uniform and coat and everything into the washing machine and turn it on, then jump into the shower,” Perez says.

Even so, she is committed to patient care. “Working in this field was always my goal,” she says. “I do it for [my patients]. When I go that extra mile it’s for my patients, and usually because I’m helping someone learn something new. If we can research something together, four eyes are better than two. I enjoy that. I enjoy being able to help.”

Read more about Yajaira’s dedication to nursing and AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award here.