STAMFORD, Conn. -- After watching her mother and grandmother die, a teenaged Daisy Cruz set her sights on becoming a nurse.
Cruz, the director of Nursing at BrightStar Care, was honored Tuesday in a surprise ceremony as she was named 2016 Nurse of the Year for BrightStar's Northeast Region. The brief ceremony took place at BrightStar Care's office at 45 Church St., in Stamford. It is a home care agency.
"I never wanted to do anything else," she said while surrounded by family and friends. "It's the best career move."
She said she was touched by the award and said nursing is a rewarding career.
"Even with all the stresses that come on a day-to-day basis I still feel some reward when I go home at night and I think that is the best part of being a nurse, just knowing that you are doing any little thing to make somebody's day a little bit better even if yours wasn't so great," she said.
The Bridgeport resident moved to the city from the Bronx, N.Y. to live with her uncle Carlos Otero when she was 15 after her mother, also named Daisy, died.
She graduated from Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk followed by the Bridgeport School of Nursing where she graduated in 2008. She joined BrightCare in 2010 and then left to get some clinical training before returning two years ago to the agency.
Cruz will now attend a national conference in mid-April where one nurse out of the four regional BrightStar winners will be chosen as national Nurse of the Year.
BrightStar Care owner in Stamford Ray Boller praised Cruz for her work.
"She is not only compassionate and really, really caring with the clients and the patients we have...but she also plays a really great part in training and keeping our staff in line," he said. "She is very firm but fair."
Cruz has four sisters and three brothers. Her sister Marlene was at the event.
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