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Tommie Russell, certified nursing assistant, has been named the most recent Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Russell joined NMMC-Pontotoc in May 2017. She earned her CNA in 1999 and completed work for her phlebotomist certification in 2018.
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is my residents and their stories,” Russell said.
In her nomination, coworkers praised Russell for her positive attitude and skills in her job.
“Tommie has to be one of the most caring and compassionate ladies that I have ever encountered,” one coworker wrote. “Tommie always shows a deep love and respect for mothers. Although it is not her duty, she will pick out clothes the mother is to wear the next day and lay them out, so she will be dressed in them the following morning. She is always going far and beyond her call of duty to help in ways I would never think of.”
“Tommie always makes sure her residents are well taken care of,” another coworker adds. “She is a shining example of what good customer service is supposed to look like. I always receive praise for Tommie from different staff and family members.”
Russell has two sons, Joshua Daigre, 20, and Caleb Starnes, 17. She also has a newborn grandson, James Daigre. Russell attends Hayseed Cowboy Church in Thaxton. In her spare time, she loves camping, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and everything to do with being outside.
Denise Senior, admissions counselor and receptionist for Business Services, has been named the most recent Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Senior started at Tupelo Service Finance in 2001. She joined NMMC-Pontotoc a year later before moving to NMMC-Tupelo to work in the Business Services department in 2009. From 2014 to 2017, Senior worked at Pontotoc Medical Clinic. She rejoined NMMC-Pontotoc in March 2017.
Senior graduated from Tupelo High School and attended Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is meeting and greeting people,” Senior said. “The awesome people I work with also make my job more enjoyable.”
In her nomination, coworkers praised Senior for her positive attitude and skill in her job.
“Denise is very knowledgeable of her job,” one coworker wrote. “She treats patients, families and coworkers with respect. She is welcoming to customers that present to the Business Services area and projects an excellent first impression.”
Senior and her husband Steve have two daughters—Ivy Claire and Ashley Morgan. The family attends Chesterville Calvary Baptist Church. She also serves as a hospice volunteer and teaches a women’s class at her church. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and watching her children dance and play sports.
Derek Bowen, systems technician for Facility Operations, was recently named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Bowen has been with NMMC-Pontotoc since 2011. He previously held positions as a landscape technician and a landscape specialist before being promoted to his current position. Bowen attended Okolona High School and received his certification in Incident Command Systems 100, 200, 700 and 800 from the Emergency Management Institute.
In his nomination, coworkers praised Bowen as a dedicated worker who goes to great lengths to solve problems on the job.
“Not only will Derek work on just about anything that is broken, he wants to know why it failed and will drill down to the root cause,” one coworker wrote in his nomination. “He is never satisfied that he fixed something unless he understands the reason it needed fixing.”
“He is always willing to go that extra mile,” other coworkers wrote. “Derek is very good at using technology to do his job faster and better.”
Bowen and his wife Vanessa live in Okolona and attend Friendship Baptist Church in Aberdeen. He enjoys woodworking, drawing and pyrography and is a member of the North-South Skirmish Association.
Sonia Fuller, certified nursing assistant and activity assistant, has been named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Fuller joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2004. She is a graduate of Houlka Attendance Center. She says the things she enjoys most about her job are “doing for others and meeting new people.”
In her nomination, coworkers praised Fuller as a hard worker who is kind and compassionate to patients.
“Patients smile when they are around Sonia because she makes them feel special,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She makes sure the patients are always safe.”
She and her husband Paul have three sons—Thomas, Nicholas and Johnathan, and grandchildren Bryson and Stella. She attends Pearson Chapel Nazarene and in her spare time she enjoys hunting, riding bicycles and spending time with her family.
Stacy Dillard, certified occupational therapist assistant in Rehabilitation Services, has been named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Dillard joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2011. She attended Itawamba Community College and Mississippi University for Women, attaining an associate of arts degree in applied science and a bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders.
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is helping my patients regain their ability to function at their maximum potential so they can enjoy their lives,” Dillard said.
“Stacy shows a personal interest in the patients and their recovery,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She listens attentively and finds ways to make them feel special, like celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries while they are hospitalized, or providing books and magazines to keep them occupied during their stay or visit.”
Dillard is married to Andy Dillard and they have three children—daughters MaKynlee, 6, and Evie, 5 months, and 3-year-old son Sawyer. They reside in Hurricane and attend Martin Baptist Church in New Albany.
Donna Blansett, RN, has been named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Blansett joined NMMC in 1989 at age 18 as a secretary on 2 West. She also worked as a support secretary for Home Health before transferring to NMMC-Pontotoc in 2015.
She graduated high school at Bethlehem Christian School in Potts Camp. Blansett earned an associate degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College while working full-time as an EKG tech in the NMMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Tupelo.
“I love meeting new patients and getting to know them,” Blansett said. “I like making them feel special while they are in my care. I like that many of my patients are from here in Pontotoc, so I am actually meeting many members of my own community. I really enjoy my coworkers and appreciate our teamwork.”
“Donna provides excellent patient care,” a coworker noted in her nomination. “You can feel comfortable knowing the patients are well cared for at night when she is on duty. She demonstrates excellent judgment in her decisions for care.”
“Donna goes way beyond the call of duty,” another coworker wrote. “Not only is she an exceptional nurse, she pours her heart into caring for the patient’s personal needs.”
Blansett resides in Pontotoc and has two sons—Ryan, age 25, and Hunter, 23. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, fishing and home improvement projects.
Amber Tunnell, certified nursing assistant, was named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Tunnell joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2014. She is a native of Lawton, Okla.
“What I enjoy most about my job is taking care of the patients, seeing them improve and feel better about themselves,” Tunnell said.
“Amber goes above job requirements to care for her patients,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She provides activities when the activity assistant is off-duty. Without being asked, she provides the service, also helping the nursing home with outings and transporting patients.”
She is the wife of James Tunnell and has a son, Payton, age 9, and a stepson, Braden, age 7. In her spare time, she enjoys watching football and basketball. She is a fan of the Oklahoma State University football team and also a fan of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
Corey Thompson, floor technician for Environmental Services, was selected Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Thompson joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2015. He is a West Point High School graduate.
“Corey seems to be in the right place at the right time,” a coworker wrote in his nomination. “He takes advantage of all opportunities to help others. Corey’s day is made when he can help someone, and he always does it with a big smile.”
When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Thompson said it is the people as well as learning things and interacting with patients and residents.
Thompson is the son of Patricia Thompson and Michael Watkins. He is married to Tamara and has four children—Corionna, Corey Jr., and Corvin Thompson and Jacob Tallie.
In his spare time, he’s a football coach for the Houston Chargers, an 11- and 12-year-old youth football team. He also enjoys playing all sports, reading and working out. He attends Faithway Missionary Baptist Church.
Laurie Wells, data analyst in Business Services, was selected Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Wells joined NMMC’s hospital in Tupelo in 1996, working as a computer room operator, MIS analyst and FMS analyst. She has worked at NMMC-Pontotoc since September 2015.
“Laurie is customer and coworker friendly,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “Other departments have expressed their appreciation for her wealth of knowledge. She never seems frustrated.”
A graduate of South Pontotoc High School, Wells received an associate’s degree in data processing from Itawamba Community College.
When asked what she enjoyed most about her job, Wells said “Working with the people at Pontotoc Health Services and a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day that I have made a difference.”
Her family includes husband Mickey, daughter Emily and son-in-law Charlie Britton and three stepsons—Scotty, Lane and Blake Wells. She lives in Pontotoc and attends Toxish Baptist Church. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and cooking.
Brent Sanders, radiologic technologist in the Radiology Department, has been named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Sanders, a Tupelo resident, is a graduate of North Pontotoc High School. He earned an associate’s degree in radiological technology at Itawamba Community College.
Sanders said the things he enjoys most about his job are the patients and his coworkers. “It is fulfilling to know I am part of a team that cares for people. Having a patient or family member tell me how much it meant to them that I cared for them means so much,” he said.
In his nomination, coworkers praised Sanders for his hard work and unselfishness. “Brent always has a positive outlook and shows exceptional care and concern to patients and families,” one coworker wrote in his nomination. “He always looks out for his coworkers in Radiology by keeping supplies stocked and he takes care of other team members in other departments, especially the ER, by helping in different ways.”
Sanders is a member of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
He and his wife, Johnnie, celebrate their 25th anniversary on May 18. They have two children—son Caleb, 22; and daughter Madison, 17. They attend New Hope Baptist Church, where he leads music. In his spare time, Sanders enjoys spending time with his family, music, and working with the choir and musicians at church.
Dalphne Keith was recently chosen as the Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Keith is an assistant buyer and inventory analyst in NMMC-Pontotoc’s Purchasing Department. She joined the hospital in 2009.
“Dalphne’s personality is infectious and causes people to want to be around her,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “In her daily responsibilities, no one has to come back and ask her for more because of her efficiency. Her love and compassion shine every day.”
Keith attended Itawamba Community College and Creations College of Cosmetology. She has also worked as a unit coordinator and in NMMC-Pontotoc’s Food and Nutrition Department.
When asked what she most enjoyed about her job, Keith replied “Serving others and allowing God to use me while I work.”
Keith’s family includes a daughter, 17-year-old Airieuna, and a 13-year-old son, Edward. She is the daughter of Donald Keith and Frankie Holcomb and has a brother, Dakota Keith and a sister, Shanda Keith. She lives in Pontotoc and is a member of West Heights Baptist Church.
In her spare time, she enjoys singing, reading and “absolutely living life in all of its measures.”
Virginia Bean was recently named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Bean is a unit coordinator with Nursing Services. She has worked at NMMC-Pontotoc for 34 years. She is a graduate of Pontotoc High School.
“Virginia is very attentive to detail,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She always works with a smile and kindness. She provides excellent care to the patients and knows the hospital inside and out, which is advantageous in her job role.”
Bean and her husband Randy have been married for 34 years. They have four children and eight grandchildren. She attends church at East Baptist of Pontotoc and is a member of the Masonic Order’s Heroines of Jericho Houlka Court #145.
In her spare time, Bean enjoys watching movies, cooking and spending time with her family.
Leita Wilder was recently named the latest Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Wilder, a medical transcriptionist with Health Information Services, has been with NMMC since 1999. She previously worked at NMMC’s Cancer Center before moving to the Pontotoc facility in 2004.
Wilder was lauded by coworkers for her dedication and respect to patients and coworkers. “She interacts well with others and demonstrates a willingness to assist in other job functions to ensure coverage,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “When a need arises, Leita goes above and beyond to meet the demands of the job.”
Wilder graduated from South Pontotoc Attendance Center and earned her data processing degree and transcriptionist certification at Itawamba Community College.
“I enjoy the knowledge that I am keeping an important part of patients’ lives by maintaining their medical records, and doing so with care,” Wilder said.
Wilder has three daughters—Monica, Meagan and Robin. She and her husband Leslie attend The Orchard Church in Tupelo.
In her spare time, Wilder enjoys gardening, taking care of her family and helping with the Relay for Life organization.
Kimberly Wilson, certified licensed practical nurse for the Long Term Care Unit, was selected as the most recent Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Wilson joined NMMC in 2009. She has also served as a unit coordinator, cardiac monitor technician, an LPN in the float pool and a physician analyst. She began her current job at NMMC-Pontotoc in January 2014.
“Kim comes to work with a smile and leaves with a smile,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She is the first to assist team members in need, first to help train new employees, first to cover an open shift, come in early or stay late. She leads by example for all other employees to follow.”
Wilson is from Houston and attended Northeast Mississippi Community College. She earned her CLPN in 2005. Wilson received the CLPN Excellence in Nursing award in 2011.
“I enjoy people; it gives me great pleasure to care for the residents,” Wilson said. “This is a rewarding job that gives to me as I share the gift of nursing that God gave to me.”
She and her husband Tom have been married for 13 years and have four children—Trey, 18; Jasmine, 16; Justin, 12; and Khloe, 5. The family attends Good Shepherd Church of God in Christ.
In her spare time, she enjoys events planning, spending time with family and friends, cooking and baking.
Bobbie Terry, registered nurse with Nursing Services, was selected as North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc’s Employee of the Quarter.
Terry joined NMMC in 1991. She is a graduate of Pontotoc High School and received an associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College in Fulton. Terry also earned a certification in cosmetology.
In her nomination, Terry was noted for always having a positive attitude and smile on her face. “Bobbie goes above and beyond to take care of her patients,” said coworker Christy Fleming. “She shows respect and treats them with the dignity that they deserve. She demonstrates compassion with both the patient and family and seems to really enjoy her job role,” Fleming said.
“Patients come here for services and specifically ask about her to see if she is working and on-duty to meet their needs,” Fleming added. “Bobbie works hard to meet patients’ needs and strives to improve customer satisfaction.”
Terry said that the part of her job she enjoys most is helping others. Her hobbies consist of reading, traveling, shopping and going to horse shows.
Terry and her husband of 50 years, Billy, live in Pontotoc and attend West Heights Baptist Church. Their family includes one daughter—Tonya; two grandsons, Ryan and Cory; one granddaughter-in-law Mikki; and a great-granddaughter due to arrive in June.
Joyce Ivy of the Environmental Services Department, has been named Employee of the Quarter at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Ivy joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2009. She is a graduate of North Pontotoc High School.
In her nomination, coworkers noted Ivy was very conscientious of her fellow employees, patients and their families and has “a heart for others.”
“Joyce works ahead to allow time to help others in her department,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She often makes suggestions about additional cleaning that could be done to improve our facility. She is very professional and respectful in her interactions with patients, residents, families and coworkers.”
“I enjoy interacting with all my friends in all departments,” Ivy said when asked what she likes most about her job. “They are a joy to work with every day. We have a great staff of caring and compassionate workers who give great care to our patients and care for each other just as they do their families.”
Ivy is a native of Pontotoc. She has four children—Heather, Jordan, Taylor and Thomas—and three grandchildren—Carmen, Jacob and Tyler Lewis. She also has four siblings—Tony, Teddy and Julie Wilbanks and Jenny Roberson. Ivy attends Cornerstone Family Fellowship in Amory. In her spare time she enjoys bowling, cross stitching and reading and writing poetry. But what she enjoys most is cooking for her friends and family.
Jamie McMillen, security officer, has been named Employee of the Quarter for North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
McMillen joined NMMC in 2004. He attended Pontotoc High School and Itawamba Community College. McMillen began working for NMMC in the Security Department in Tupelo before transferring to NMMC-Pontotoc as a landscape technician. When the Security Department was developed for NMMC-Pontotoc, McMillen began working as a Security Officer. He also covers shifts for the Security Department’s Control Desk at NMMC-Tupelo.
“Jamie is concerned for the safety of all staff, patients and visitors,” a coworker wrote in his nomination. “He is very observant of buildings, grounds and property, monitoring activity by continually walking buildings and grounds and viewing surveillance camera footage.”
McMillen appreciates the opportunities he has to help people while doing his job. “The thing I enjoy most about my job is working with people, often in their most stressful of times,” he said. “I also enjoy interacting with employees and visitors and knowing that, at the end of my shift, I’ve helped keep people safe.”
McMillen is the son of the Rev. James R. McMillen. He and his wife Christi have three daughters—Jayme, Peggy and Morran. The family resides in Pontotoc.
He is a Past Master of Pontotoc Masonic Lodge #81; a 32nd degree member of Scottish Rite, Valley of Corinth; and Venerable Master of the Knights of St. Andrew, Valley of Corinth chapter. In his spare time, McMillen enjoys Civil War history and presentations, blacksmithing, hunting and fishing.
Connie Dodson, nursing home CNA, has been named Employee of the Quarter for North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Dodson joined NMMC-Pontotoc in April 2013. She says the best part of her job is “taking care of the residents and making sure they are happy.”
Dodson graduated from Houston High School. She earned an associate’s degree from Itawamba Community College in Fulton and completed the Certified Nursing Assistant program at ICC.
To highlight seasonal changes and holidays, Dodson often purchases décor for the nursing home hallways. “Our residents have learned to look forward to what is coming next,” a coworker said.
“Connie always has a smile on her face and takes extra time with each resident to make sure their needs are met,” another coworker wrote in her nomination.
A Houlka resident, Dodson enjoys walking in her spare time and “anything to do with being outside.”
Kenny Pennington, landscape technician with Facility Operations, was named Employee of the Quarter for North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Pennington joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2011. He is a graduate of North Pontotoc High School and continued his education at Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with concentration in history, geography and special education.
When asked what he enjoyed most about his job, Pennington said “getting to do different things and the people I work with.”
“Kenny seems to have a genuine concern for other people,” a coworker wrote in his nomination. “He is always looking out for his team members and is willing to help with any task.”
“When there is a situation that needs attention, Kenny is always willing to help,” another coworker wrote. “His goal is always to fix things right the first time.”
Pennington is the son of Bob and Wennie Pennington. He married his wife Holly on April 26. They live in Thaxton, where Kenny is a member of the Thaxton Volunteer Fire Department. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and paintball.
Linda Tutor, testing technician in the Pathology Department, was named North Mississippi Medical Center’s Employee of the Quarter.
Tutor joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 1985. After graduating from Pontotoc High School, she earned her phlebotomy technician certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Tutor was recognized for her dedication to patients and ability to perform her job duties, among other things. “We have a number of recurring outpatients who want only Linda to stick them,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “We have some patients who, due to poor health, will call and let us know when they are coming to the hospital. Linda goes outside and draws their blood without their having to leave their vehicles.”
“Linda epitomizes everything that NMHS wants and needs in an ideal employee,” another coworker wrote.
Tutor said she is fortunate to work with and for great people. “NMMC-Pontotoc is my second home,” Tutor said. “I love the team of people that I work with. I have a great boss, a wonderful supervisor and I have efficient, caring and knowledgeable coworkers. My job gives me the opportunity to care for others in their time of need. I find my job very fulfilling and rewarding knowing that I'm going to make a difference in someone’s life. I always go home blessed each and every day.”
A Pontotoc resident, Tutor is the daughter of Christine Griffin and the late Billy White. She is married to Terry D. Tutor and they have three children and four grandchildren. Tutor is a member of the Pontotoc Church of Christ.
Tutor contributes to the United Way, Angleman Syndrome Foundation, the Salvation Army and Special Olympics. In her spare time, she enjoys yard work, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying her grandchildren.
David Andrews, a systems technician with Facility Operations, has been named the most recent Employee of the Quarter for North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Andrews is a native of Greenwood and graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Greenville. He has earned certification in HVAC. “Anytime we are involved in a large project, David wants to be involved in order to continue to learn new things,” a coworker wrote in his nomination. “He has taken time with new employees, orienting them to Facility Operations.”
“David takes ownership of issues and offers input in areas for the improvement of the situation,” it also noted in his nomination.
Andrews said what he enjoys most about his job are his coworkers.
He and his wife Angie Andrews have two children—14-year-old Branden Lopez and 4-year-old Mariann Andrews. In his spare time, Andrews enjoys hunting, video games, watching NASCAR races and camping with his family.
Lesia Mann, C-SWCM, was recently selected Employee of the Year at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Mann is a social worker who has worked at NMMC-Pontotoc for 18 years. She earned an associate’s degree in business from Northwest Mississippi Community College-Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Society of Healthcare Social Workers and contributes to the United Way and Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi.
Mann was named Employee of the Quarter for January-March 2011. The other Employees of the Quarter for NMMC-Pontotoc were Lee Moss, Christy Fleming and Marchelle Gates.
Mann was praised by her peers as an unselfish worker who does all she can to help patients, their families and coworkers. “Lesia is always first to volunteer to help others—patients, family members, physicians and fellow employees,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She puts her patients first at all times, making sure their needs are met. She will find a way to provide for the needs of others.”
Mann lives in Bruce with her husband Loyd and has one daughter, Jesika. In her spare time, Mann enjoys yard work and carpentry.
Tammy Cobb, a certified nursing assistant and unit coordinator for Emergency Services, was selected Employee of the Year for 2010 at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Cobb is a Pontotoc resident who joined NMMC-Pontotoc in 2007. She said she enjoys her work in the Emergency Department. “The best part of my job is getting to meet different people.”
In her Employee of the Quarter nomination, Cobb was described as a continuous bundle of motion. “Tammy is a very dedicated and diligent employee and coworker. She demonstrates impeccable work ethics and has a high level of integrity,” a coworker wrote in her nomination.
“Tammy goes above and beyond her job,” another coworker wrote. “She is very knowledgeable and always willing to assist when needed. She takes care of each and every patient with a smile and a personality that would light up even the gloomiest of situations.”
She and her husband Kevin have two children, son Brandon, 15, and daughter Ali-Claire, 20 months. The family attends Piney Grove Baptist Church.
In her spare time, Cobb enjoys swimming, gardening and spending time with her children.
Linda Whitehead, RN, regulatory nurse in Nursing Administration, was selected Employee of the Year for 2009 at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc.
Whitehead joined NMMC in 1995 and transferred to NMMC-Pontotoc in 1998. The Potts Camp High School graduate earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College. “I love working at NMMC-Pontotoc and hope to stay here until retirement,” Whitehead said. “I enjoy helping people and working with all the departments.”
In her nomination for Employee of the Quarter, Whitehead was praised for her job performance and attitude. “Linda is very competent and her nursing experience has been a great help in regulating the Emergency Room records,” a coworker said. “She is very conscientious in her job performance.”
Katherine Souter, restorative care technician at North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc Nursing Home, was named Employee of the Year for 2008.
Souter, a certified nursing assistant, joined NMMC-Pontotoc in February 2007. She attended Pontotoc High School. Souter was selected the Employee of the Quarter for the third quarter of 2008.
“Katherine takes pride in her work, always performing with a smile,” a coworker said of Souter in her nomination for Employee of the Quarter. “She truly cares about our residents and this shows in the way she responds positively when asked to take on extra responsibilities.”
Souter said the best part of her job is “making sure the residents are happy and making them feel more at home.”