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Answering the Call to Serve

The Good Shepherd Home-Raker Center welcomes a new administrator.

“I’m extremely proud to be working alongside such a fantastic team,” Chris says of the Raker staff. “There’s a lot of longevity here.”

Starting a new job during a pandemic was not exactly Chris Fistner’s ideal scenario. But when the opportunity arose to apply for the position of administrator of the Good Shepherd Home-Raker Center, Chris set his sights on rising to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and applied for the job. He’s glad he did. In August, Chris stepped into the administrator role, ready to make a difference in the lives of Raker’s 99 residents with a dedicated staff of caregivers, many who have been long-time Good Shepherd employees.

Chris comes to Good Shepherd after serving as administrator for another local skilled nursing facility. This is his second tour of duty with Good Shepherd having previously been admissions liaison covering eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Chris has deep local roots. He was born and raised in Bethlehem and graduated from Saucon Valley High School. With two degrees in criminal justice from Northampton Community College and Kutztown University, Chris was focused on a career in law enforcement.

He was accepted into the Allentown Police Academy, but life had other plans. “After sustaining a leg injury I found myself having to scramble to find another career,” says Chris. “A family member of mine who works in the long-term care arena encouraged me to look for an entry-level position in the field. That was six years ago, and here we are!”

Chris was drawn to the field of long-term care because he wanted to serve others and better their lives. He sees in Good Shepherd a special culture not typically found at other skilled nursing facilities. “It was clear to me that Good Shepherd’s philosophy has always been to provide resident-centered care, and that really appealed to me,” he says.

With safeguarding the health and wellbeing of residents and staff from COVID-19 a priority, Chris and his colleagues have worked with heart and soul to uplift the residents’ spirits (and their own) during the long months when they haven’t able to enjoy in-person visits with family and friends or go on community outings.

“Our main goal has been to find innovative ways to increase our residents’ quality of life,” says Chris. Virtual visits with loved ones, creative dining with take-out meals from residents’ favorite restaurants, and weekly devotionals recorded on a cell phone and shared with residents have helped everyone get through difficult times.

COVID-19 remains the number one challenge, says Chris, but with careful management, a team dedicated to serving the best interests of the residents and hopes for eventually resuming some sense of normalcy, Chris knows better days are ahead. “I am confident that we have the resources to succeed,” he says.

Chris lives in Cetronia with his wife, Catherine, and two-year-old daughter, Reagan.