People in life scarcely get the chance to recognize their true calling; but for Bridget LaMacchia, she has not only found her place, she also shares her passion with her daughter, Kathleen, as well as her husband, Thomas, and son, Anthony. Together the family works side-by-side to bring comfort and peace to others in times of need as they run their company, Comfort Keepers.
Bridget and Thomas opened the franchise location in 2001 to bring the families they serve a new level of comfort and care. Comfort Keepers provides care services and living assistance to senior citizens and individuals with a disability, giving them the opportunity to live as independently and comfortably as possible.
“When my parents passed away, I started taking care of my father’s relative to help her and quit my job to stay home and care for her. She moved in with us and, from there, I just realized I was doing a lot to help the company we had brought in to help, and I just knew I needed to do this for a living. I just knew this is what I wanted to do with my life,” Bridget said. “Everything just fell into place, and I never had a question. When we started, I never second guessed myself.”
“A lot of people were telling her how good she was at it — family, friends, everyone could see it,” Kathleen added.
Bridget and Thomas own the franchise, but Kathleen and Anthony play a large part in Comfort Keepers’ success. They all agree that what makes the company different is that family is truly at the heart of everything they do.
“When you call, you talk to us,” Thomas said. “You don’t get pushed around to different people; you talk to one of the four of us, and we work to give you answers. Even if we aren’t the answer, we want to give people the information they need to make the right choices. A lot of times, we can find a way to help. When people call us, they don’t always know what to do, but our family is here to help.”
This family is anything but ordinary. Their passion and kindness are palpable the second you meet them, and each one shares Bridget’s passion in their own way. Kathleen admires her mother especially, and she has found ways to support her mother’s dream while making it her own to support the company’s success.
“There are not many people that are lucky enough to do the things they were chosen to do,” Kathleen said. “Bridget was born to do this. There is no doubt in my mind. It amazes me, and I envy her in a lot of ways. I’ll never achieve what she has for these families, but I know I can make a difference here. And we are making a difference as a family. We are there for people when they need us most,” Thomas said.
What it always comes down to, for this family, is being there – for each other, their employees and their clients, most of all.
“We are such a close-knit family, and we show our appreciation. We like to make sure we express that same feeling to our staff. We go all out for our team, especially around the holidays. We also make sure to share that with our clients,” Bridget said. “We send cards and gift baskets and keep them engaged. It means a lot to us that we let people know what they mean to us.”
“Some of our clients have no family, but we try to make the holidays special for them — really, any day is special for them – so, they’re given a present to unwrap and a personalized card. It’s the little things like that which make us different. Even for our staff, we tend to go overboard, but that’s just who we are,” Thomas added.
This family is not short on passion, but even more so, they bring to the table an array of talents. While Bridget and Kathleen bring passion and compassion to the table, Thomas and Anthony bring support and commitment, and together they are an unstoppable force.
Kathleen, Anthony and their sister Christina Panvino grew up understanding the value of putting others first and being an active part of the community. This is a lesson the pair brings back to their work at Comfort Keepers.
“For me, the best part of my job is giving back to the community I grew up in,” Kathleen said. “I love to support small businesses, and I have a soft spot for the elderly and find ways to give back. It all goes together.”
“We run the company to make a difference, but we are making a difference in the community we grew up in. You can see the impact. I wanted to be part of a community, not an anonymous cog,” Anthony added.
But they don’t just give back to the community, they like to show their support for their caregivers as well. This family knows that without the hard work and compassion of their team, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
“We thank God for our caregivers. They are the backbone of the company. They are the silent heroes to these families,” Thomas said.
Never one to shy away from a party, with event planning in her veins, Kathleen ensures the team feels the love, and Bridget is just as committed. This industry can be draining at times, but when a family works together and supports their team, it can change everything.
“We keep all the thank you notes from clients,” Thomas said. “We have hundreds now and we keep them all because it’s an amazing gift to be able to go through and read them. There are struggles just like any business, but in this business, sometimes it’s more than that. You do it for the families, and to go back through those reminds us we are on the right track.”
With an entrepreneurial spark living in all of them, Comfort Keepers has four passionate leaders committed to the best service, and are always looking for the next best way to serve their community.
“We are all entrepreneurs,” Kathleen said. “I have worked for other people and had great mentors, but it’s different when you can actually see your ideas in action, to have someone say we trust your judgment and you can implement your ideas. As a family, we can see that growth, and when the four of us can connect and say these are our principles and our values, we can all go forward together.”
But for the LaMacchia family, it’s not just about their family, it’s about serving families.
“What we aim to do is to let families be families without the worry,” Thomas said.