Stacy Bachtel A Giving Life

Writing, Video Production and Photography By Tony Spiker

As I explained the project to Stacy Bachtel, I was met with a chorus of repeated uh, huh…uh huh’s. I told her that I wanted to come to work with her and spend a lot of time hanging out with her. She was fine with that. I exchanged phone numbers with her and her mother, and her mother left me with Stacy and Alicia, Stacy’s assistant.

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Her assistant, Alicia Yocom, is employed by the State of Nevada to assist Stacy with day-to-day tasks, helping her shop, getting her to places, etc… Today she is helping Stacy prepare a lunch of chicken salad. She stands in the kitchen a reads from a recipe. Stacy does each task herself, chopping celery, shredding chicken, and mixing in mayonnaise and mustard. It looks good and I am hungry, but I am not invited to eat.

“I work for a facility, funded by the State of Nevada, called ‘Going Places.’ I work one on one with different clients and much of what I do is to help people live a more full social, recreational, and home life,” said Alicia.
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Later, after lunch, Stacy asked me if I would like to meet her children. I was not aware that she had kids, and thought this would a great addition to the story. She went to her bedroom and returned with a Raggedy Anne doll. I took a few portraits of her. She is very caring.

Her apartment is spectacularly clean and well organized. Everything is meticulously dusted and arranged. Her dining room table is set with placemats and table runners, and there is a beautiful quilt on the back of her couch.

Much of Stacy’s life, according to Alicia, is built on routine. If she does something over and over again, it becomes easier or her to remember how to do it. She wakes up every morning at 5:45. She makes breakfast. She brushes her teeth. She goes about her day. She does it independently.

When I began this story, I was not prepared for how much this woman gives of her life to others, and how much of that is enabled by the assistance that she receives from the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED), and other programs.