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Celebrating Our Caring Professionals and Volunteers: 2018 Augustana Awesome Awards

August 29, 2018

AAA-JMP_3471-2.jpgAt Augustana Care, we witness caregiving professionals and volunteers going above and beyond to help the older adults in our community every day. It warms our heart to see these acts and love to discover what motivates their daily work and volunteer actions. We are proud to recognize our employees and volunteers through the annual Augustana Awesome Awards.

The Augustana Awesome Awards celebrate those who exemplify our mission to foster fullness of life for older generations and others in need. Award-winning employees and volunteers routinely go the extra mile to make sure residents find compassionate care in all of our communities. We also recognize Augustana Care residents who defy stereotypical views of older adults as well as amazing collaborations that make a profound difference to our community. 

The 2018 Augustana Awesome Awards, presented by Augustana Elim Care Services, honor individuals and collaborations in the following five inspiring categories:

  • Excellence in Volunteerism
  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Excellence in Customer Service
  • Resident Fullness of Life
  • Tim Tucker Spirit of Collaboration

Excellence in Volunteerism Award

Honoring volunteers who foster fullness of life for Augustana Care seniors and their Augustana Care communities through partnering with staff and enriching the lives of those served. This year’s volunteerism award goes to Augustana Open Circle Volunteer Nancy Froehlig. As Open Circle Directors Peggy Gaard and Patty Crawford put it, “Nancy has taken the definition of volunteer to a new level.” Nancy first came to Augustana Care Open Circle 11 years ago to enroll her husband Bob. Little did we know the impact she would give our program. After Bob passed away, Nancy became a regular volunteer and has gifted in excess of 3,000 hours of her time to Open Circle and their members. Nancy is considered to be the “choir mom” for the Open Circle Hopkins Choir. She attends every rehearsal and assists with the music. She keeps the vests cleaned and organized for concerts, repairing those that need it, and takes care of fitting the new choir members with a vest. Nancy also recruits other volunteers and completed a spiritual care BeFriender training so she could make visits to people in need of spiritual care. “She took the sadness of loss and turned it into beauty through giving of herself,” according to Peggy and Patty. “In her, we see a living lesson in how to live our lives more fully.”

Excellence in Leadership Award

Recognizing a person whose daily actions and leadership will enhance the work environment in their housing or community service location, and foster fullness of life for their residents, and act to provide leadership to their employees or coworkers. This year’s winner of the Excellence in Leadership Award is Augustana Regent Licensed Practical Nurse Jennifer Torrini. Jennifer’s commitment to care and her dedication and desire to foster fullness in life for the Augustana Regent residents is amazing. Executive Director Vicki Tobroxen says “on many occasions she has spent an evening comforting and consoling a resident dealing with a fatal health diagnosis. The evening shift is extremely busy and I am always amazed at what she is able to accomplish and still finds time to visit with our care suite and memory care residents.”  Jennifer is an asset to The Regent and a true team leader.

Excellence in Customer Service Award

Honoring those who greatly foster fullness in life for seniors and their Augustana Care community through direct care or support services to residents/tenants/clients, Excellence in Customer Service was awarded to Scott Rohr this year. Dining room server Scott Rohr has served meals to residents since The Rosemount opened its doors, where Augustana Care provides care and services for the community developed by The Makado Group. As a retired school teacher of thirty years, Scott knew he wanted to try something new for his “third act” of life. When his parents entered hospice care in 2015, Scott came to admire the staff of that facility and asked them what their motivation was. Their inspiring answer of “it is an honor to be their companions at this stage of their life journey” was all he needed to hear to know this was what he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to serve in any capacity possible. Originally hired as a dietary aid at The Rosemount, Scott’s duties included serving meals in the dining hall. With the support of “Mayor” Bill, Chef Shaun Hammel, Activities Director Vicki, and others, he has since gone on to lead weekly talks which give residents a chance to learn and discuss topics that interest them and has also launched a men’s group and organizes other special events. “Scott Rohr understands the gift of serving,” says The Rosemount Executive Chef Shaun Hammel. 

Resident Fullness of Life Award

The Fullness of Life Award is meant to recognize a resident/tenant/client or group of residents (resident council or resident volunteer group, for example) of an Augustana Care community that demonstrates the concept of positive and active aging. This individual (or group) has overcome obstacles with grace and positivity, and is still active and engaging in their passions or willing to explore new passions as they age. This year we award Augustana Chapel View Apartments resident Betty Fuller with this honor. A resident since 2004, Betty not only demonstrates great fullness in her own life, but she also has helped dozens of other residents do the same. Not wasting time checking items off her bucket list, Betty’s family recently surprised her for her birthday with a tandem sky dive from 13,000 feet and this year plans to hang glide. Amongst several other things, Betty leads morning exercises for residents, and for more than ten years has served as the “I’m OK” volunteer, walking the halls to make sure her neighbors are safe. At 88 years young, there is no better person to be a role model for exuberant aging! 

Tim Tucker Spirit of Collaboration Award

AAA-JMP_3301-2.jpgRecognizing the outstanding achievement and dedication to collaboration that leads to partnerships with organizations outside of Augustana Care and the outcome of that collaboration. This year’s Tim Tucker Spirit of Collaboration Award went to two partnerships:

  1. Apple Valley High School E3STEM Program – The E3STEM program is designed to connect Apple Valley High School (AVHS) juniors and seniors with a variety of experiences that will prepare them for postsecondary education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Realizing the need to attract employees to the long-term care industry, Augustana Regent and AVHS felt that if they could educate the youth to senior services and expose them to career opportunities in serving seniors, the work force could grow. For the past two years, the high school’s E3STEM program has paid for about 40 students (ages 16-18) to attend the certified nursing assistant course at Dakota County Technical College. In turn, Augustana Regent has hired 11 students as nursing assistants and one as a wait staff member. This collaboration is not only attracting young people to work with older adults, it’s empowering residents to monitor students.
  2. AAA-JMP_3297-2.jpgThe Act on Alzheimer’s Dementia Friendly Community Initiative for the City of Hopkins – This collaborative effort has supported our mission as an organization by helping those in our community live a fuller life through a better understanding of dementia in the City of Hopkins. The initiative brought people in the community together to educate and foster a safe, respectful community for those living with dementia and their families, by offering supportive features across the city to improve the quality of life for everyone. Results of the initiative include a welcoming memory café, presentations, film and a special “Dementia Live” program, which immersed participants in cognitive and sensory changes to get an understanding of real-life experience with dementia. The memory cafés are offered on a regular basis and provide a place for caregivers and people suffering from dementia to find support and fellowship.

About Augustana - Elim Care Services

Augustana Care fosters fullness of life for older adults through housing, health care and community-based services. We strive to help those we serve to live the lives that most inspire them.

Augustana Care is now affiliated with Elim Care, a Minnesota-based ministry founded in 1927 to provide quality, compassionate, and innovative senior housing and healthcare in the spirit of Christ’s love.