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2016 LeadingAge Florida Awards Recognition


Josh Ashby, Chairman | Steve Bahmer, President/CEO
1812 Riggins Rd | Tallahassee, FL 32308 | Phone: (850) 671-3700 | Fax: (850) 671-3790

Each year LeadingAge Florida recognizes outstanding members, employees, and residents in five categories at the Annual Convention & Exposition. The awards ceremony highlights the best in the aging services field and recognizes outstanding members and communities who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities, employers, and residents.

On Tuesday, July 26, at the Annual Business Meeting, LeadingAge Florida honored six deserving individuals.

“The theme for the 53rd Annual LeadingAge Florida Annual Convention and Exposition was be the difference. Our award winners have been the difference in the communities they represent, in our state, and nationwide. I truly appreciate their passion. Their commitment is second to none,” said LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer.

LeadingAge Florida presented awards in the following categories:
• Employee/Caregiver of the Year
• Resident Volunteer of the Year
• Service Coordinator of the Year
• Best Practice Award
• Trustee of the Year Award
• Distinguished Service Award

And the winners are…

Employee/Caregiver of the Year Award: Linda “Fay” Nettles of OakBridge Terrace Assisted Living of Indian River Estates
To be considered for the Employee/Caregiver of the Year Award, the nominee must demonstrate extraordinary dedication, customer service, outstanding performance and commitment to the enhancement of the quality of life for residents of a member community.

This year’s LeadingAge Florida 2016 Caregiver/Employee of the Year demonstrates “loving-kindness” in every aspect of her job and her personal life.

In 2004, her nephew and his wife were tragically killed in an auto accident, leaving behind two girls under 18 months of age. She accepted the girls into her home, as a foster parent – at the spry age of 60 - while still maintaining full-time employment. In 2006, she legally adopted the girls, as witnessed by many of her co-workers. She continues working full-time while juggling responsibilities as a “parent” for two children approaching their teenage years. She instilled in the girls a great respect for our elders, as they have become a part of our community family as frequent visitors.

Her heart has always remained in her caregiving responsibilities as a CNA. She has a special calling to care for those near the end of their life. She demonstrates patience, compassion and love in her role as caregiver and is a terrific role model for others. She brings home resident clothes that need a button replaced or a cuff hemmed or just a good ironing. She enjoys shopping for residents who need certain necessities and visits them when they are in the hospital. One nominator writes, “She volunteers to do things without being asked, she is very welcoming and never complains. She is very observant and aware of others’ needs, nothing seems to surprise her.” A co-worker writes, “… she adds to our team each and every day.” One of the community residents says, “She provides ‘absolute care.’ She truly cares about her residents and is the best we have in Assisted Living. She comes to check on me often to see if I need anything, she is very devoted to her residents – she is conscientious in everything she does.”

In short, caring for others is in every fiber of her being. It is my honor to present the Caregiver/Employee of the Year Award to Linda “Fay” Nettles of OakBridge Terrace Assisted Living of Indian River Estates.

Resident Volunteer of the Year Award: David Quirk, of Penney Retirement Community
This award is presented to a resident, resident organization or non-resident who volunteers at a member community of LeadingAge Florida. This award recognizes the value of the volunteer who enhances the quality of life for residents and preserves the dignity, well-being and independence of residents.

This year’s LeadingAge Florida 2016 Resident Volunteer of the Year is a hands-on leader and volunteer. He is an asset to the retirement community he serves. He and his wife arrived at their community in 2008 and his remarkable volunteer service record is an excellent representation of his lifetime of service to others.

He serves as a volunteer for the Honor Flight Program. This program works with not-for-profit organizations to arrange flights to war memorials in Washington, D.C. at no cost to the veterans. He currently is the coordinator between his community and the Central Florida Honor Flight program. As a volunteer, he coordinates transportation to Orlando, overnight accommodations and the assignment of guardians for those veterans in need of assistance. He has given many hours of volunteer time helping residents apply for military benefits they would not otherwise receive. He helped one surviving wife discover her eligibility to receive her husband’s military disability pension, which translated into $1,700 each month. He has assisted numerous residents in applying for financial assistance with military Aid and Attendance funds, which cover the expenses of assisted living. In 2013, he was instrumental in forming the community’s official Veterans Support Group.

In addition, he has coordinated the AARP/Tax Aide service at his community. This service provides free tax assistance and preparation not only for the residents and employees, but to those in the local community. He also volunteers with the local State Attorney’s office as a hearing officer for first-time offenders.

Each year he presents several educational programs regarding the importance of establishing advance directives for health and business decisions and the importance of designating financial holdings to avoid probate issues. He designed a check list for spouses and family members to use following the death of a loved one.

One nominator wrote, “In his many roles, he provides countless hours of service to both residents and staff ranging from financial planning, tax preparation, end-of-life planning, Veterans’ affairs, serving meals at the assisted living facilities and answering phones. He does not stop at just doing the job. He advocates for the programs, bringing in new volunteers, training and mentoring them along the way.”

The residents have so much trust and respect for him they nominated him to be their voice on their community’s Board of Directors.

LeadingAge Florida proudly presents the Resident Volunteer of the Year Award to David Quirk, of Penney Retirement Community. Please come to the stage and receive the honor you have earned for your years of dedicated service.

Service Coordinator of the Year Award: Larry Lewis, of Jefferson Center, Inc.
This award recognizes a Service Coordinator who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to residents through innovative programming and supportive services, creative problem-solving and genuine concern for each resident's well-being.

The 2016 Service Coordinator of the Year exemplifies the motto for the community in which he works, which is “…a friendly way of life.” He encourages residents to be friendly, helpful, resourceful and compassionate with each other. He encourages residents to make friends with their neighbors because you never know when you might need a helping hand.

His community administrator writes, “With the many cuts in government funding to senior programs, our residents have been encouraged to be resourceful to make ends meet and have their medical needs met.”

The staff’s goal this past year was to establish a Health and Wellness Center. With a community population that has become more-frail over the years, it was essential to find a way to bring services to their residents. There are presently twenty-five ninety year old residents in his community.

He worked tirelessly to find a home health care agency, office space, and funds for furnishings and a computer. By 2016, the Health and Wellness Center was up and running. This center has become extremely important to the residents and he is the force that keeps it running successfully.

As described by the community Administrator, “The hustle and bustle on Thursdays is exhilarating. Residents come down for blood pressure checks, but it is also ‘Bread Day.’ He has arranged for bread, cakes, fruit and vegetables to be delivered by the Food Bank. He also established a Coffee Klatch so residents could linger, chat and enjoy a cup of “joe” together. All of these little steps provide the quality of life that our residents so deserve and appreciate.” One of the award evaluators wrote, “This project is certain to have a lasting impact on this community.” Another evaluator stated, “…Wellness is provided and encouraged, as is proper nutrition and socialization, Thursday is a busy day – Great program!”

His Administrator summed it up, “He is vital in making our community a healthy, vital and friendly place to live for all our residents. “

We are proud to honor Larry Lewis, of Jefferson Center, Inc., as the 2016 LeadingAge Florida Service Coordinator of the Year.

Best Practice Award: Edgewater Pointe Estates
The Best Practice award recognizes an individual, or group of individuals, from a LeadingAge Florida member community who develop programs and services that are models of excellence, innovation, and best practices at work.

The winner of the 2016 LeadingAge Florida Best Practice Award went through an extensive process to redesign the way they conduct their prospective employee recruitment, interviewing and selection techniques.

Their intent was to hire and maintain team members who held the knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors and were the right “fit” for their organization. In June of 2015, they began conducting panel interviews with prospective employees which included the Director of Nursing, Clinical Manager, Staff Nurse and Certified Nursing Assistants.

To prepare for this process, the team members discussed each position in exhaustive detail and developed a list of desired characteristics and traits from three categories, including: One: Knowledge, Skills & Abilities, Two: Behaviors and Three: Fit Factors. The team developed behavioral-based questions supporting the three principal categories as well as a rating-tool to score the applicant’s answers on each question and an overall score.

The participating team members appreciated the opportunity to be involved in the interviewing and decision-making process – they felt their voice was heard. Community Leaders appreciated the input from team members and felt better about the decision. Evidence has shown that the team members who participate in the selection and training of a new team member will be more invested to help them be successful.

Since the implementation of the Staff Hiring and Retention Program, the results have shown a high percentage of the applicants that were interviewed and hired, using the new behavioral program, remain on staff and are performing well.

LeadingAge Florida is proud to award the 2016 Best Practice Award to Susan George, Executive Director, and Carol DuMond Stryker, Director of Nursing, of Edgewater Pointe Estates.

Trustee of the Year Award: Paul Simpson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of John Knox Village of Florida
The Trustee of the Year award is presented to a volunteer who has served with distinction on the board of a LeadingAge Florida member home and has demonstrated a significant contribution of time and effort to the betterment of a not-for-profit community and its residents.

The LeadingAge Florida 2016 Trustee of the Year is a seasoned senior executive with considerable success in management and business development.

He has been a member of the Board of Directors for his community since 2011. During that time he has made a significant contribution of time and effort serving in various leadership positions. In addition to currently serving as Chairman, he has also chaired the Finance and Audit, Health Care, Wellness, Nominating and Executive Committees at his community.

He provides public workshops on the subject of building a healthy company, and is an accomplished executive coach. He recently gave a talk about health and wellness at his community and provides the Management Team with Executive Coaching. In 2015, he helped champion the “Neuroscience of Collaborative Leadership.” This program provided the community Senior Management with leadership insights regarding how the human brain functions. As a result, the community’s new Leadership Team has become a courageous and cohesive team, understanding that trust and vulnerability are foundational to a high performing team.

The President/CEO of the Community wrote, “He exemplifies the role of a trustee and understands governance as leadership. His leadership incorporates the three modes of governance: Fiduciary, strategic and generative that together enable effective trusteeship.

LeadingAge Florida is pleased to present the 2016 Trustee of the Year Award to Paul Simpson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of John Knox Village of Florida.

Distinguished Service Award: Westminster Alzheimer’s Action Group of Westminster Oaks
The Distinguished Service Award is LeadingAge Florida’s most prestigious award. It is presented to an association member, an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution on behalf of elders at the state level. This award is only presented if the LeadingAge Florida Awards Committee determines that extraordinary service has been rendered.

The LeadingAge Florida 2016 Distinguished Service award is being presented to a group that was formed on January 4, 2014, by Sandy Halperin, Pat Hogan and Everett Yarbrough, to act on behalf of residents with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders, to increase awareness of our nation’s most under-recognized public health crisis of the 21st Century, to improve care for those living with dementia and to support family caregivers.

This group has had a profound impact on its community and the State of Florida due to the excellence in advocacy demonstrated by each of its founding members. This program is a shining example of the positive effect that giving time, energy, passion and expertise can have on improving the quality of life for those living with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been recognized for its advocacy efforts by the Florida Secretary of Elder Affairs at the 2015 Florida Conference on Aging. The group has partnered with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in the development of a new Dementia Care and Cure Initiative.

They held two widely-received education forums, “Meeting of the Minds” and “Oxygen for Caregivers,” which drew over 350 attendees at each event, featuring presentations by locally and nationally known medical professionals.

It has worked with CNN to create, “Sandy’s Story,” a special production portraying Dr. Sandy Halperin’s Alzheimer’s disease progression over a two year period, which highlights the program on a national level. Dr. Halperin was the co-recipient of the LeadingAge William Proxmire Award at the Great Minds Gala in Washington, D.C. in March, 2016, along with Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. The William Proxmire Award recognizes national figures who have demonstrated leadership and positively impacted public awareness around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Members of this group have advocated for and been involved in a multitude of action-oriented outreach programs and activities on behalf of elders in the State of Florida. Just a few of these programs include: educational briefings with U.S. Senators and Representatives and key members of the Florida Legislature; informal weekly luncheons featuring special programs for and by caregivers and professional staff and promotion of enhanced music therapy for persons living with dementia.

Working with others, this group is committed to supporting global dementia care so people living with dementia can lead happier, more fulfilled lives, for as long as they can.

In honor of their tireless service and contributions, I am proud to present the 2016 Distinguished Service Award to the Westminster Alzheimer’s Action Group of Westminster Oaks, affectionately known as “WAAG.” Shannon Sauls, Health Services Administrator accepted the award on behalf of WAAG.