Our Staff

As owners and hands-on managers of Heart & Hearth, we focus on embracing new residents as part of the family. Our staff is carefully selected to support our philosophy about caring for elders and, most importantly, to help residents feel at home as soon as they walk through our doors.
—Melissa and Steve

Steve Ruggles

Steve is the co-owner and Manager of Heart & Hearth. He has a BS in Horticulture from Clemson University and experience in activities for elders in both nursing and assisted living homes. Steve has a gentle way with our residents that encourages them and puts them at their ease. The residents are always delighted when Steve is there. When you visit, you may discover his alter-ego, Donald Duck!

Melissa Dawson-Ruggles

Melissa is co-owner and Administrator of Heart & Hearth. She has a BS in Molecular Biology and an MS in Occupational Therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill. As an occupational therapist, Melissa always has her eye on encouraging our residents to participate in home and community in whatever way they would like and are able. She has a passion as well for healthy food, so she creates the menus.

Michelle Groover

Michelle has been our resident caregiver at Heart & Hearth since October 2011. She has a BA from College of Charleston and her CNA certificate. Michelle has worked with elders in a variety of situations from one-on-one care to larger facility work. She is a great cook and executes the menu plans with zeal. Michelle has a quiet, comforting demeanor. She enjoys reading to residents, solving group crossword puzzles, and taking some residents out for hikes and other outings.

Taryn Dawson-Sivalia

Taryn is our second caregiver. She is Melissa’s daughter. Taryn has a BA degree in biology from Guilford College and her CNA certificate. She started working at Heart & Hearth as a one-on-one support person in the fall of 2010. She began to offer direct care in April of 2011. Taryn is very creative and often comes with projects and craft ideas in mind on her work days. She is lively and bubbly as well as very attentive to the needs of our residents. Her positive attitude and energy are always welcome.

Read Heart & Heart’s philosophy.

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