2020 Shining Stars Recognized for Brightening Their Communities

The 2020 Shining Stars award recipients were honored during a virtual celebration.

Gardant Management Solutions recognized the 2020 Shining Stars during a virtual End of the Year Celebration with administrators, Shining Stars and corporate staff. 

These individuals put residents first and embrace our company values of love, compassion and dignity. 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.

Read the full nomination letters below for this year’s top three Shining Stars:

1st Place: Megan Vincent – Certified Nursing Assistant – Heritage Woods of Rockford

Shining Stars 1st Place RecipientWhat catapults this employee beyond excellence is her authenticity and humility.  She enriches our residents’ lives by inherently identifying the individualized need of those she serves.

At 100 years of age, Grace began to lose her sense of purpose.  She was lonely, anxious, and had no desire to eat.  As Megan recognized this, she began to build Grace’s confidence by braiding her hair, matching her clothing to a handmade mask that Megan gifted her, and by becoming the friend that Grace was longing for.  Megan requests Grace’s meals from the kitchen at a specific time so she can sit and visit with her and cut her meals into bitesize pieces. She also entices Grace’s appetite by bringing special treats which encourages Grace to enjoy her meals and sit for longer periods of time eating.  Grace can feel the compassion that Megan brings and has said, “I haven’t felt this loved – thank you for Megan.”

A resident’s daughter messaged one evening asking who had spoiled her dad George that day by bringing in “real man soap”?  “I haven’t heard him this happy in months! “Come to find out Megan brought in grooming products to assist George in shaving, and removing hair from ears, nose and putting together clothing he could easily pick from.  The one to one attention George was to bring George a sense of confidence that he felt flying his planes during WWII.  We hope enough confidence to finish writing his stories of those times.

Frank suffered a traumatic brain injury in his early twenties, losing his ability to live independently.  Now in his mid-seventies, he relies more on personal care assistance which is challenging for a man who has always been eager to please and strives for approval.  Megan sees Frank as the unique person that he is and provides new opportunities for praise by giving him art and learning projects.  Frank has always been happiest listening to music, especially Elvis.   Megan brought in a cell phone and loaded it with his favorite songs.  She dotes on Frank, he loves it, and he too shines bright thanks to her attention.

Her dedication to her team is such an asset.  When it comes to onboarding, she is our top pick!  Her enthusiasm is contagious; she coaches new staff on details about each resident to promote personalizes the care.   A recent new staff member commented, “This was the best training I have ever had, and I hope I can train someone one day to feel as confident as I did”.  This employee also shared that Megan sent her encouraging messages and checked in on her on Megan’s day off.

In the last year we have received countless cards and emails applauding Megan’s acts of kindness.  Her dedication and drive to make our residents and their families feel comfortable is a daily occurrence and they, as well as the staff, know they can rely and trust her to go above and beyond with her commitment to Heritage Woods of Rockford. 

Megan is a perfect example of discretionary effort. We hope you can see why she is our Shining Star.

Submitted by Administrator Jaclyn O’Keefe

2nd Place: Angelia Hustedde – Head Cook – Heritage Woods of Flora

Shining Stars 2nd Place RecipientHeritage Woods of Flora’s head cook, Angelia Hustedde is a very deserving Shining Star for 2020. This has been a very trying year, but we are so proud of Angelia and what she does to go above and beyond for our residents. Angelia is the first person to dress in something silly or wear a goofy hat and put a smile on the residents’ faces.  When residents are in the dining room, Angelia might start off breakfast with a small dance party with them to get them excited for the day.

Angelia often creates special snacks for the residents, so they have a good variety and get something new.  Her white chocolate drizzle popcorn is one of their favorites for movie night or game night. Angelia cooks with her heart, not her head. She takes those extra steps to make sure everything is cooked with love. This summer she shred over twenty bags of zucchini for zucchini cake because she knows that is a favorite. This fall she picked and pulped gallons of persimmons to make persimmon cookies for everyone, those were a hit!! On Thanksgiving Day, she was here at 3:30am to start the Turkeys so they were fresh and ready at lunch, and on Christmas day she will do the same. Angelia always volunteers to work holidays to help her coworkers out.

Angelia’s is especially dedicated to our Veterans. She is an active volunteer in local Veterans programs and always remembers our Veterans who live here at Heritage Woods. She organized a drive-by birthday parade for a Veteran who celebrated his 90thbirthday during the quarantine; she facilitates special programs in our building for the Veterans who live her.  And she coordinates with local Veterans’ organizations to collect stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts for Heritage Woods’ Veterans.

Angelia is the leader of our kitchen! She loves to tackle any challenge presented to her.  Being one of the first persons in the building in the morning, Angelia loves to take care of the antics of our Elf on the Shelf, “Winter.”  She makes sure every day she is in a new spot and creates some fun for the residents. Because our usual Christmas Tree Parade and other events are cancelled this year,  Angelia and her dietary aides have put up and decorated more than seven trees and many other decorations and cheer to keep the atmosphere of Christmas alive in the building.  One tree Angelia has dedicated as the giving tree and has hung socks on it for the residents to take as gifts.  

This year has been challenging for everyone but for Angelia especially, at the end of August Angelia fell and crushed her wrist requiring surgery. It quickly changed the dynamics in the kitchen and the residents missed Angelia and her tasty meals so much.  After a long 6 weeks everyone was glad to have her back, and it was like she never missed a beat.  She leads her team with a strong will and an understanding heart. She does her job and more every day.  She is definitely a blessing at Heritage Woods of Flora, and we are blessed to have her on our team. 

Submitted by Administrator Lucas Sigrist

3rd Place: Shauna Griffin – Housekeeping – Hellenic Senior Living of New Albany

Shining Stars 3rd Place RecipientShauna Griffin is more than an employee, or housekeeper-she is the embodiment of light and joy to darkened apartments during this past season of Covid-19. 

As a worker Shauna with her partner in crime Ms. Sherry have faithfully worked for Hellenic of New Albany in housekeeping. She does not miss work, never calls in sick…and Never quits. The housekeeping department was hit hard as COVID-19 and unemployment attacked.  They lost their 3rd housekeeper to another job position and 7 out of 8 months during this COVID-19 season these ladies have arrived early, left late, tackled the entire building with no complaints. With no employee prospects in site for hiring these ladies have not let one task go to the wayside. If other staff try to help, they are quickly brushed aside as these ladies are too concerned that their coworkers’ tasks will suffer if they veer over to assist them. As the joy and light during these dark days-we as a building will never know where these two have found the energy to not just show up—but SHOW UP!  They find time in their day to assist the resident coordinator to bring festivity to the residents. Since October, they have taken it up on themselves to find ways to bring festivity to the resident apartments. EVERY DAY since October, these two have dressed in some type of theme or holiday. We have heard that Shauna’s dining room table looks like a craft store with her daily preparation of fun to bring to the building. She brings laughter and creativity into each apartment she cleans.  Her theme days have varied from Camo day, Nerd Day, Mickey Mouse day.  They hand make each costume and have coordinated for months now. Shauna and Sherry say they do it because they love seeing the happiness even for a moment it brings to the residents they serve. Residents will wait with anticipation to see what these ladies will come up with next. I daily hear laughter ring through the hallways-and I know someone has just had a Shauna or Sherry sighting in their new costumes.  They even go to the trouble of making other staff outfits. They hand colored turkey hats for all the staff to wear for thanksgiving. Shauna’s work ethic is beyond measure, her attitude most certainly of a servant heart, her value to this team-priceless.  I cannot separate between the two for this nomination. They have worked in more unified working ability than any department I have had the pleasure of witnessing in my 28 years of being in the work force. Knowing their selflessness-I know one will not accept the award without the other. With much difficulty we nominate only Shauna as that is the Shining Star guideline and she has been with the building just a bit longer.  Knowing the value of their teamwork, I am sure Ms. Sherry would cheer Shauna on in her nomination. 

Submitted by Administrator Jill Robbins

Gardant Management Solutions has 20+ years of industry-acclaimed operational history in developing, managing and consulting for senior living, assisted living and memory care communities.