Carol McReynolds, our receptionist at Lacey Creek Supportive Living, was selected as one of this year’s top Shining Stars during the 2018 Holiday Party and Awards Ceremony that was held earlier this month at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, Ill.

The award was presented by our management company, Gardant Management Solutions, and is given to employees who improve the quality of life at Gardant communities.

These Shining Stars 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.

Here is the nomination letter from Lacey Creek Administrator Rhonda Aumann, explaining why Carol is such an important part of our community.

When I think of the Shining Star Award, I think of someone who goes above and beyond within the community, as well as someone who really touches the lives of the residents and families.

Our Shining Star has worked to make a difference in the Lacey Creek community — and in the hearts of the people who live here and visit here.

Her mantra is “whatever I can do to help.”  And that’s exactly what she does.  She is flexible within her team, always filling in when needed.  She’ll come in to help with special events or when the corporate team comes in for early morning meetings – just to ensure there is an extra pair of hands. 

No job is too small for her either.  If there is an issue with a bathroom over the weekend and our housekeeping team was gone, she has helped clean it.  She delivers packages. What’s more is that she has been an integral part in helping our dining room run smoothly during a time when we were short-staffed.  All the while, she says, “As long as it’s helping out the residents, I’m fine.”

It doesn’t stop with her there though. 

The residents are really who make her want to be at Lacey Creek.  What started as bringing in Christmas cookies around the holidays has turned into bringing in homemade treats for everyone at least once a month.  She brings cookies, all types of breads and other tasty treats for the residents.

She’s quick to help a resident over by the computers or go to the café area to see if someone needs something.  She takes a vested interest in residents and knowing their personal stories.  She takes that time with the families, too.  On weekends when she may be off or has switched her schedule, families are quick to ask where she is and inquire as to whether she’s OK because she’s always so accommodating.

As the administrator, I was shocked to find one resident who rarely comes down to the common areas, chatting it up at the front desk with her one Sunday.  When I shared my excitement with the resident to see her at the front desk, her response was, “I always come down to see her.  She saves my paper for me, and then we chat.”  When I told the family about the encounter, they were thrilled to see that their Mom was out and about over the weekends.  The daughter shared that she has heard several wonderful things about our Shining Star from her mother and said she heard they became fast friends because they shared the same birthday.

Most recently, our Shining Star has taken up jewelry making.  She started sharing some of her work with the residents.  This turned into her asking our resident services coordinator if she could start a jewelry making class with the residents.  She volunteered to bring in her own supplies that she paid for as well.  As long as it was for the residents, she had no problem with it.

But our Shining Star’s impact doesn’t end with the current residents at Lacey Creek.  We had a resident with dementia who she bonded with during her time at our community.  She also got to know that family well with them coming into the community on evenings and every weekend. As this resident’s need for care progressed, she transitioned to a locked-care facility. Our Shining Star went to visit this resident once at her new place just to check up on her and wish her well from all the Lacey Creek residents.  That has now turned into our Shining Star going to see the resident daily before she comes into work at Lacey Creek.  As you can see, our Shining Star impacts a great deal of people daily – whether they live at Lacey Creek or not.  She truly is a pleasure to have on team.  She treats team and residents (past and current) as an extended family.  She really is a shining star in our eyes.

Lacey Creek Receptionist Carol McReynolds was recognized as one of the top Shining Stars during the 2018 Holiday Party and Awards Ceremony. She is pictured here with Gardant Management Solutions CEO Rod Burkett and President JoEllen Bleavins.