January 15

Gardant Communities Glow with Shining Stars

The 2015 Shining Star nominees are employees who improve the quality of life at Gardant communities.

They put residents first and embrace the company values of love and compassion. Gardant Management Solutions shines brighter because of their commitment to ensuring the men and women who live at our communities are treated with the dignity they deserve.

This year’s Shining Star winners are:

1st Place: Kim Ramsey, Prairie Living at Chautauqua
2nd Place: Duncan Ho, John Evans Supportive Living
3rd Place: Michael Sullivan, Cambridge House of Maryville

Read the nominations below to learn more about why these stars were nominated.

Shining Star Puts People First

Kimberly Ramsey is an exemplary employee. She is a hard working, dedicated employee willing to help everyone at a moment’s notice. She is extremely kind and understanding with each resident. She always has a smile and a kind word for everyone she encounters. She takes ownership of her assigned areas of responsibility and strives to do the best job she can.

2015 Shining Star - 1st Place - Prairie Living at Chautauqua - Kim RamseyKimberly takes extra steps to ensure stability and support for everyone. Kim is a great listener and exceptional team player. She frequently goes out of her way to assist in any way possible. She is excellent with resident care and manages milieu issues appropriately. She always goes the extra mile to assist our residents and their family members and is helpful to other departments, too. Kimberly will come in on her off days to help residents who have found their way into her heart.

Kim has excellent customer service skills, knows everyone by their first name and makes each person she meets feel welcome and valued.

As our receptionist, there are times when Kimberly has had to deal with some customers or residents who have been less than polite. She has been screamed at, and on occasion, even cursed at. Kim never loses her calm demeanor or displays any negativity. She and her big smile are amazing!

On multiple occasions, our community has received cards, voice mails and emails, from family members or friends of our residents, detailing Kim’s generosity and kindness.

Recently, a resident at our community lost her mother. When the family came in to tell her, they asked Kim to come along. She and the resident were so close that they wanted her to be a part of the conversation. Kim went with the family and was there for our resident in the difficult days that followed. Kim made sure that our resident attended a grief counseling meeting. On the day of the funeral, Kim went to her apartment and helped her get ready. She made sure that her clothes matched and her hair was fixed. It’s those small things that we don’t realize we need help with after a loss. Over the next few days, this resident would come to the receptionist area just to talk with Kim because she trusted her. She knew Kim would listen and be there as a friend. The family sent us a beautiful email, explaining that without Kim’s support, the past few weeks would have been much harder on everyone. They thanked her and thanked us for having her. This is not the first time we have had a situation like this involving Kim. It’s just the most recent.

Kim can balance many projects at the same time. She is extremely organized and always willing to help. She will take on projects — even if they are not familiar to her or part of her job description. She has a strong work ethic and takes every aspect of her job seriously. She always strives to do every task to the best of her ability.

It is with great pleasure that we nominate Kimberly Ramsey for this award to show appreciation for everything she does at Prairie Living at Chautauqua.

Subtle Shining Star Brightens John Evans
In choosing the Shining Star of John Evans, I reflected on what makes an employee a Shining Star. Is it the outgoing, gregarious, center-of-attention star? Is it the dazzlingly employee who is so highly skilled that they outshine all others? Then, I started thinking about a quiet night, looking into a silent sky and sighting one star overhead – not necessarily the brightest – but nonetheless comforting by its shining presence in the sky. Sometimes, it is not always the brightest star that draws your attention; there are subtle stars that have body-radiating energy that influence mankind. My thoughts went to Duncan Holcomb, one of our dietary servers.

0612,1,0,0,297,256,569,1,0,64,58,1,0,256Duncan came to us in 2012, still in high school and referred by his culinary arts teacher. He was tall, shy and a little awkward. It was his first real job. He started as a part-time server on second shift. In his early days, he struggled, sometimes mightily, to adjust to the demands of being a waiter. It is no small task to get orders right, prioritize tasks or understand the special needs and quirks of 76 senior citizens. But Duncan quickly adjusted, becoming more efficient and easing into his role. The residents stopped complaining and started appreciating. Duncan became the waiter they all wanted. After graduating from high school, he continued his culinary pursuits at the local junior college. As with many of us, he struggled to find his career path. He took a break from school, and when a full time position opened on first shift, he made the transition.

With each passing year, Duncan continues to grow and mature as an employee. Not only I, but others started taking notice, of Duncan’s subtle star qualities.

We’ve seen him taking orders on one knee, so he doesn’t loom over residents. He makes time to sit and visit with residents, asking them questions about their children and grandchildren, and getting to know them as individuals.

When we asked for a volunteer to call evening bingo, he stepped up. It was a daunting task: many before him had tried and failed, for no one could call Bingo as well as Beth, our resident services coordinator. That was over a year ago, and it has been a great success. He may take over Beth’s spot as top bingo caller!

Many times, after he has clocked out, he will stay and help serve at parties or join in a game with the residents. You can’t help but smile at the sight of a 6’1” Duncan walking slowly with a 4’8” woman, carrying ice pitchers or an extra piece of cake back to their room for residents. He is always polite, gentle and respectful.

Last year, when the Santa for our resident Christmas Party cancelled at the last minute, who filled in? It was Duncan, of course. He comes in with his mother after hours to have dinner with a resident who used to attend their church. He spent months working on his “Joker” costume for Halloween and wore it all day, keeping it on to entertain the trick-or-treaters at John Evans. Duncan makes an effort to bring the spirit of each season or holiday to the residents.

It is a pleasure to see him each day, as he is never without a smile. “Duncan, can you do this for me? Duncan, can you help me with this box? Duncan, we need a favor.” Never a refusal. I have never heard him complain or make a disparaging remark about his coworkers or sometimes cranky residents.

There may be some wait staff who are faster or more efficient. Some that are more vocal. But Duncan is like that one shining star: calming and comforting, with his sweet shy smile and his small random acts of kindness each day. He epitomizes all the good things in our community and reinforces our values of love, compassion and dignity. Duncan Holcomb is our 2015 Shining Star!

Shining Star Enhances Resident Experience at Cambridge House
2015 Shining Star - 3rd Place - Cambridge House of Maryville - Michael SullivanTo get everyone involved with selecting the employee who would be recognized at this year’s annual awards ceremony, we introduced the “Shining Star” recognition program at Cambridge House of Maryville. We placed framed signs in the building with simple instructions on how residents, visitors and employees could recognize staff members as shining stars.

Between January 1st and November 1st, more than 500 stars were submitted for recognition. Each nomination was displayed on a bulletin board for everyone to see. The buzz and excitement quickly spread. Behind the scenes, we tracked how many shining star nominations each employee had received.

Cambridge House of Maryville is proud to recognize Michael Sullivan, a member of our food service team, as our top Shining Star. He was the top vote-getter with 53 nominations. Considering our community employs more than 40 people, for Michael to have received over 10 percent of the nominations speaks to how deserving he is of this award.

Michael landed his job at Cambridge House in May of 2013. He was introduced to us with the highest praise and recommendation from one of his high school teachers. It didn’t take long for Michael to win over the residents here. He would circle the tables in the dining room, going out of his way to ensure service was top-notch during each meal. He is conscientious of what’s going on at each table and is always a step ahead of resident requests; he has memorized the likes and dislikes of more than 100 residents.

With meals and the dining experience being a major part of what matters most in the lives of the residents we care for, it’s comforting for them to know their sandwich will be served with the condiments they like, they’ll have plenty of cream and sugar on the table for their coffee, and their cold drinks will be delivered without ice. Residents don’t have to worry about these small things because they know Michael will take care of it for them.

It’s simple pleasures like these that give all of us the desire to want to go back to the same restaurant with stellar service. Michael gives Cambridge House residents an exceptional dining experience each and every day. He does his job well, and he does it with a smile that is contagious.

Michael is studying auto mechanics in college, and he is as passionate about cars as he is about his work. Residents have enjoyed listening to Michael share his college stories and watching him blossom and pursue his dreams. They look forward to his return and hearing how eventful his off days are, and of course, they don’t hesitate to offer advice like he’s their own grandson.

Michael is held in high regard by the residents, visitors and his coworkers. In our eyes, he is a Shining Star – and we are honored to have him at Cambridge House!

2015 Shining Stars

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