Proving that hard work, perseverance and education are fundamental to success, an Oklahoma City man has been awarded a national home-care company’s highest honor while being recognized by the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City resident Fabrice Dingbulla, an employee of Comfort Keepers® of Oklahoma City, has been chosen from among close to 100 nominees out of a pool of 27,000 care givers, or Comfort Keepers®, as a 2016 Comfort Keeper of the Year. In addition to this distinction, Dingbulla, a 27-year-old Cameroonian immigrant, has also been recognized with a citation for service to Oklahoma seniors by Gov. Mary Fallin.
“In the two short years that Fabrice has worked with Comfort Keepers, he has proven – time and again – that he is the embodiment of our philosophy,” said Sherrie Childers, general manager at Comfort Keepers of Oklahoma City. “Fabrice treats every client with dignity and respect and truly sees them as a member of his family. It is music to an administrator’s ears when a client says, ‘My Comfort Keeper is like a member of our family,’ and that’s what Fabrice’s clients tell us.”
Comfort Keepers is a leading franchise network in the in-home care market for seniors and other adults needing care. It has grown to more than 700 locations around the world by staying true to its founders’ goal of providing quality, caring in-home care services that allow clients the opportunity to age in place. The Comfort Keepers of the Year Award is a national recognition for the men and women in the organization who provide loving and respectful care to their clients while going above and beyond in their roles as Comfort Keepers.
From Cameroon to OKC
Born in the West African nation of Cameroon, Dingbulla learned the power of caring for others at an early age. When he was just 8-years-old, he saw a doctor treat his mother’s life-threatening injuries and decided that he too wanted to work in medicine and help care for others.
At age 10, Dingbulla’s family recognized his potential and sent him to live with his grandfather in order to study at a bi-lingual school. It was difficult, especially because his family’s limited resources meant they were unable to see or communicate with each other on a regular basis. But Dingbulla persevered in school and exceled, eventually earning national recognition for his academic achievements.
After graduating high school, Dingbulla found himself at a crossroads, dreaming of going to medical school but without the funds to get there. Instead of becoming discouraged, he began working at a mechanic’s shop to save money. With the help of an uncle already living in the United States, Dingublla emigrated to Oklahoma City in 2009. While the transition wasn’t easy, he worked hard to integrate into his new community. Dingbulla began studying at a community college and transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma, where in 2013, he graduated with a degree in biology and a minor in foreign languages. While pursuing his degree, Dingbulla began working at Comfort Keepers of Oklahoma City and became a Certified Home Health Aide.
“I’m a people person and I like that you really get to know your clients and enjoy them,” Dingbulla said. “You’re helping them but you’re also learning from them.”
His desire to know his clients, become their friend and help them through difficulties is what makes him a stand out Comfort Keeper, Childers said.
“There was no doubt in my mind that Fabrice was worthy of this recognition,” said Childers, who was at the ceremony in Las Vegas where Dingbulla accepted his national award, along with the State of Oklahoma citation signed by Gov. Fallin.
Making People’s Lives Better
In addition to his studies and his work with Comfort Keepers, Dingbulla is an entrepreneur who has started several businesses and charitable organizations, including a tax preparation firm that caters to immigrants; a car dealership he co-owns with friends that sells affordable, reliable used cars; an organization that works with Cameroonian youths to promote self-empowerment and leadership through community service; and the local chapter of the Bali Cultural Association, a group that represents the social, cultural and educational well-being of the Chamba people in Cameroon. His success in these ventures allowed him to send several of his siblings to school, as well as help pay for a home for his mother in Camaroon, who had been living in a single bedroom with two of his sisters.
Today, he is enrolled in an MBA program and is studying toward his degree in Healthcare Management. In the future, Dingbulla hopes to continue caring for Oklahomans and making a positive difference in peoples’ lives.
“In the next year or two I want to apply to medical school and become a doctor, which is my ultimate goal,” Dingbulla said. “But I also want to keep my options open, and maybe someday own a Comfort Keepers franchise.”