‘All of the residents love mom’

Shirley Rhodes celebrates 23 years at local assisted living community

Shirley Rhodes, 76, recently celebrated her 23rd work anniversary at The Neighborhood at Cullman assisted living community. (Sharlotte Oliver)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s Shirley Rhodes was recently honored for her more than two decades of service at The Neighborhood at Cullman (formerly Morningside of Cullman) assisted living community. Rhodes celebrated her 23rd work anniversary at the facility.  

Over the years, Rhodes has been named Employee of the Year and Employee of the Month several times, her daughter Sharlotte Oliver told the Tribune.  

“Her husband and my father, Doyse Rhodes, passed away in 2003. He and my mother always worked side by side for years doing drywall,” Oliver said. “My mom had been working for a few years when my dad passed away; my mom started this job 23 years ago. A memory that I hold onto is her taking all of the Christmas  decorations we had to decorate with her to work— she used them outside. You see, my mom and dad always decorated their home heavily in Trimble on Highway 222. It was the highlight in our area for many years. I would even dress as Santa and would stand and wave at cars as they would drive by. They really both enjoyed doing that.”  

Rhodes is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the residents’ apartments at The Neighborhood at Cullman– some days in excess of 10 units, Oliver told The Tribune.  

“When she started she was a resident assistant, meaning she helped with baths, laundry, etc.,” Oliver said. “Now she cleans them top to bottom – dusting, vacuuming, etc. Mom has always been a hard-working lady. She believes if people can try to continue to work, it will truly make a big difference. Mom being 76 years old and working five days a week is a blessing. Up until last week, she has been doing 12-hour shifts. She says, ‘Never give up and always do your best and the hard work will pay off.’”  

Oliver said that when her dad passed away, it was hard on her mom, but working consistently helped her become who she is today.  

“All of the residents love mom; they are like family,” Oliver said. “She has a very bubbly personality, and to the residents, she truly is an angel. To us, she is our hero. She’s very proud and will never admit to needing or wanting anything and will give anyone the shirt off her back. She really needs a vacation. I hope one day that can happen. She would love to go see Dollywood. I’m truly blessed to call her mom. She also has two grandchildren. Brandon Oliver, he works with Sprout Internet, and Brittany Oliver is a senior at Good Hope High School.” 

Oliver added, “She would encourage all to do something you enjoy because it is so rewarding, and you will enjoy everything you work for even more.”