By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
A guest trudged down the hallway at Reba’s Ranch House. She was coming in from the hospital where her mother had just passed.
Something hung from the doorknob to the room where she was staying, a note with a Bible verse from Psalms. At that moment, the card with the scripture verse was what she needed.
A few years later, this guest returned to Reba’s Ranch House when her mother-in-law was hospitalized. The guest went to the front desk and found Jeri Carosella, the one who had hung the card on her doorknob years before. She expressed to Jeri what it had meant to her.
“Her sister took her mother’s robe and made her a pillow,” Jeri says. “She keeps that card in the pocket of the pillow. She said she will have it the rest of her life. You never know who you’re touching, even with something as simple as writing out a message.”
Jeri has worked at Reba’s Ranch House since 2013. In those days, her husband — who held degrees as an aircraft engineer, aerospace engineer, and was a Ph.D. Nuclear Fusion Scientist — had a full schedule with volunteering for a senior exercise class.
“I would tease him by saying, ‘You have all those degrees, and you married a simple high school teacher,’” Jeri recalls with a laugh. “He responded by saying that without teachers, there could be no engineers or scientists.”
Jeri sought the Lord to uncover what she should do for His Kingdom in the next season of her life. She believes He led her to Reba’s Ranch House.
Serving in Guest Relations, she prays for people, writes poems and scriptures on cards to hang on their doors, and gives them hugs when they need it so desperately.
“Everybody who comes through this door is going through a tribulation in their life,” Jeri says. “If they come through this door, somebody is in the hospital.”
Jeri has faced her own tragedies. Among them, her husband of 31 years passed at the end of 2018. But he loved the work she did at Reba’s Ranch House and wanted her to continue being a compassionate prayer warrior. She is known as, “The Ranch House Angel.”
With Jeri’s shift starting in the mornings, she greets guests as they come and go from the hospital. They sometimes congregate around the front desk, where her arms are always open to offer a hug. She calls it “God’s medicine.”
“When you give somebody a hug, you don’t know what it’s doing for them, what they’re going through, how much they needed that hug,” she says.
Every day, Jeri puts on her most beautiful accessory for work: her smile.
“I believe I am where I’m supposed to be, walking in the plan the Lord has for me,” Jeri adds.
Countless guests, some experiencing the worst circumstances in their life, have been touched by this Ranch House Angel.