On meeting Julner Remy, known to all as “Remy,” the first things you’ll notice is his warm and friendly smile and his soft, lilting Caribbean accent.
Remy was born in Haiti, the fourth of six children. At about age 9, Remy lost his parents and was moved to an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Remy and one of his brothers were raised in the orphanage by caring staff.
As he grew older, Remy began to give back at the orphanage by teaching art. He later worked on the staff of an orphanage for children with developmental disabilities and spent time working with Alzheimer and dementia patients.
While working in Haiti, Remy met his wife, who is a native of Whiting, Vermont. At the time, Alison was working as a volunteer teacher at an orphanage in Haiti. In 2008, Remy traveled to Iowa to attend an art class at a mission school. This was Remy’s first trip to the USA and when he returned to Haiti in 2009, according to Remy, their “love continued to grow.”
At the end of 2009, Remy, Alison, and their young son moved to Whiting, Vermont. When he first arrived, Remy worked a variety of jobs, primarily in camp counseling and caregiving. Remy came to EastView as a caregiver in February of 2014 and loves his job.
He says, “If I ever leave here, I don’t think I’ll find anywhere else as enjoyable to work. We have a good group, good community.” Remy’s Haitian heritage impacts the way he thinks about his job. “The residents, they are like family to me. In Haiti,” he explains, “we have a custom that we respect our elders. I think of all of the residents like family to me…[I] love them and respect them as I would respect my own family.”
Remy who is devoted to this field, hopes to become a nurse and work with dementia patients. He has taken some classes in an effort to achieve this goal. He says that he wants to better understand what dementia sufferers go through and to give back to society as others have given to him.
Remy, who now has three sons aged 11, 2, and 7 months, has come to enjoy Vermont, though he is not a fan of the cold winter months or the snow. However, he celebrates his Haitian culture and roots, often sharing his heritage at Eastview.
For example, Remy is a very accomplished drummer and dancer. The orphanage where he grew up had a theater group that once performed for the Pope. Haitian cultural dance has its roots in African dance and Remy has performed for the residents. He says, “It is something different for the people here in Vermont to see and enjoy.”
Remy also continues to work on his art and has his work displayed at Creative Space in Vergennes. His work was also displayed during the Arts Walk in Vergennes this past summer. Most importantly, he has had his work featured here at Eastview where we have all been able to enjoy it.
It is such a pleasure and privilege to have caring, loving people like Remy working here at EastView. If you get a chance, stop by and get to know him…and enjoy his accent.