2015 Awards

The following individuals were honored by Care Providers of Minnesota in 2015 for their outstanding contributions of quality long-term care services and support. 

Awards were presented at our 67th annual Convention & Exposition, November 16-18—a three-day educational convention for
long-term care providers. Presenting the awards was Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota; and Tom Pollock, administrator, Park River Estates Care Center, and chairman of Care Providers of Minnesota’s Board of Directors.

Congratulations!   And you can find more photos of the convention on the CPM Flickr page.

Ginny Guck
Adult Volunteer of the Year: Ginny Guck 
St. Otto’s Care Center

Ginny started volunteering in 1992 as the chapel caretaker.  Early every morning—for over 22 years—she has made sure that the supplies are stocked and ready; microphones are working; and flowers are in place for daily mass, protestant services, memorials, funerals, and any holiday service to be held in the chapel that day. 

Ginny is that welcoming face that greets each resident by name and makes sure all their religious needs are met. She also provides a strong guiding voice as she leads many residents through their daily Rosary. Now all of this seems pretty remarkable, but here’s one more thing you need to know about Ginny.  She’s a young 84-year-old and has no plans on stopping. 

George Rosch
Adult Volunteer of the Year: George Rosch
Good Samaritan Society–Ambassador

George arrived at Good Samaritan Society-Ambassador as a patient in their short-term care unit. Now confined to a wheelchair, he was unable to return to his career as a truck driver. As it turned out, Good Samaritan Society-Ambassador was looking for a greeter who would meet and welcome new patients and to be their point person for questions and special requests. This volunteer opportunity turned out to be a perfect fit for George as it has allowed him to use his own experience as a rehab patient to connect with new residents. Today, George uses a different set of wheels and is happy to help people on their own paths. 

Linda Radke
Aide: Caregiver of the Year: Linda Radke
Prairie View Senior Living 

Linda started as a dietary aide while attending high school, and a few years later, she switched over to the nursing side of the profession and became a certified nursing assistant.  Linda is the epitome of caring–being a caregiver is truly her calling.

Linda is a very capable nursing assistant and does all the things that her job requires with skill and efficiency.  But then Linda goes beyond that by doing a million other things that make people she cares for feel loved and safe.  This is more valuable to families and residents than can ever put into words.

Melinda Fast
Champion Award: Melinda Fast
Ridgeview Place

Melinda is a very caring and compassionate individual—always cheerful, upbeat and very dedicated to her job. She is able to get residents involved and create interactions between themwhich otherwise may not happen.  

Melinda is also involved in numerous community organizations: she is a board member and team leader for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She is also a board member for the ACT Community for Sauk Rapids. And she is on the service-learning panel at four local colleges where her role is to be a resource and provide opportunities for volunteering or internships for students specializing in geriatric health care. Finally, she is a board member for the Paramount Arts for the Ages where her role is to gain knowledge from the arts and bring it to the senior community.

Mary Carlson
Community Partnership Award: Mary Carlson
The Waters on 50th

Mary has taken amazing steps to integrate The Waters on 50th into the neighboring community…and vice versa. Having lived and been a part of this community for over 30 years, Mary uses her connections to integrate this senior living community into the neighborhood through community outreach events. Mary has the gift of bringing people together – people who did not realize they needed one another.  She has made The Waters on 50th a place where everyone is welcome and part of a larger community.

Kathy Dunleavy
Dedicated Service Award: Kathy Dunleavy
Woodbury Health Care Center

Kathy has a long and impressive career. For 29 years she has worked in the long-term care profession, inspiring many others to follow in her very able, extremely capable footsteps. Hers is a career dedicated to caring.  

Kathy is a top performer and as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, she has achieved just about every certification in this field.  She is highly regarded in her department and throughout the medical community as a consultant in developing standards for excellent quality of life care. For Kathy, there is nothing quite like mentoring staffattempting to inspire and impart wisdom. And Kathy also demonstrates that there is nothing quite like working with seniorsas they inspire and impart their wisdom! 

Boundless energy and helping others are Kathy's strengths. She has a knack in ensuring that others shine. 

Arden Peterson
Employee of the Year: Arden Peterson
Good Samaritan Society–Albert Lea

Arden’s official title is bus driver…but actually, he is an advocate, a jack-of-all-trades, a shopping and errand man, and caregiver. Arden drives residents to their doctors’ appointments and outings. However, with Arden - it’s not just about the drive – it’s all about the experience. 

Residents know Arden will get them there and back safely, but he makes the trip special and not a stressful chore.  For instance, one resident gets car sick so Arden will drive 5 miles an hour with this passenger. Another resident enjoys a stop at the grocery store after his doctor’s visit; for another…it is a stop for ice cream. Arden’s actions and calm attitude reduces residents’ anxiety in getting to appointments. They know Arden will get them there safely, plus he makes the trip special.

Pam Olson
Innovation Award: Pam Olson and the Lakewood Care Center Team
Lakewood Health System

In 2010, a low score from a Minnesota quality of life survey question—“Can you change things you don’t like here?” started the care center team on developing a plan to involve residents on improvements and change. Focusing on the residents and having them involved in improvements has increased resident satisfaction scores through the years.  By 2014, they received a 100% on the likelihood to recommend the facility!

Lakewood Health System has developed a culture where nursing home residents feel comfortable to share their opinions as they occur – Lakewood has created a place where residents feel this is their home.

Nikki Tostenson
Leadership Award: Nikki Tostenson
Good Samaritan Society–Specialty Care Community

Nikki balances a rare blend of devoted nursing care with a compassionate curiosity that welcomes diversity, innovation, humor and honesty in everyday care giving. 

Nikki leads by example and is dedicated to the residents and staff, and also to the greater nursing community. Having worked her way from nursing assistant, to floor nurse, to case manager, to nurse manager, Nikki is now the Director of Nursing.  The increased job roles and responsibilities could have caused growing pains—however Nikki is a success story. Her growing into a leadership position has worked…as this comment from one of Nikki’s staff demonstrates. 
“Nikki is the most wonderful boss any person could ever ask for. She is so caring about her staff and is kind and gentle to all the residents in the building. She is a true leader for us all.”  

Angela Johnson and Erin Knutson
Life Enrichment Award: Angela Johnson & Erin Knutson
Woodbury Healthcare Center

Angela Johnson and Erin Knutson are music therapists for the 60-bed dementia care unit at Woodbury Healthcare Center. Family members of residents have stated they are constantly amazed at the ability these two have to engage their loved ones in meaningful ways. Their activity and wellness programs enhance the physical, psycho-social and spiritual dimensions of residents' lives. Their greatest skill is getting to know residents as individuals and creating programs and activities that help residents tap into their inner resources. 

As a team, they are truly amazing. As individuals, they shine just as brightly. Erin is an accomplished harpist who utilizes her talent in several ways. Angela's voice, trumpet and guitar-playing help residents engage in musical activities on many levels. They have enriched so many lives because they listen with their hearts and not with busy minds.  

Katie Busch
Nurse: Caregiver of the Year: Katie Busch
St. Gertrude’s Health & Rehabilitation Center

Katie has provided care to residents, families, and staff for over 40 years! She started as a nursing assistant in high school, working at a facility in Jordan and continued there as she finished nursing school. When the Jordan facility merged with St. Gertrude’s in 2000, Katie became one of the two nurse managers to work there, with her position overseeing long-term care. Katie does not just exhibit sympathy and respect – it is who she is as a person. She will sit and listen to a resident and their family whenever she thinks they need it. If there is sadness or end of life, she is there. If there is a family meeting, she attends. If there is a wake or a funeral for one of her residents, she will be present. She has dedicated her life to caring for the frail elders at St. Gertrude’s Health & Rehabilitation Center. Residents could have no one that is more compassionate towards them; more passionate about her nursing mission with elders, or a stronger advocate for their well-being.

Kelly Sanders
Rising Star Award: Kelly Sanders
Prairie View Senior Living 

Kelly started in 2013 as a social work intern. Not long afterwards, the position of social work director became available and Kelly was a perfect fit.  She had knowledge and great enthusiasm for the job, plus a positive attitude, and lots and lots of energy! 

Kelly has done a lot in the span of two years. When she started, her basic job was to complete admission paperwork and assist residents when they move out.  Since then she has updated the admission  packet; assisted in starting a nursing assistant mentor program; helped formulate tools to decrease med errors and improve communication; has brought up new ideas with the FUN club; helped with the discharge program – while never losing sight that the residents are her FIRST priority!

All of this is pretty amazing – considering this is Kelly’s first full time job out of college…

Calista Vos
Superstar Award: Calista Vos
Faribault Senior Living

The Superstar Award recognizes an individual who is not only great at their job, but does a whole lot of extras to enhance the quality of life for those we serve.  This is an understatement when it comes to describing Calista. 

As the resident director, Calista cares for residents, family members, and staff with respect and dignity.  
Her involvement in the healthcare profession and community are a testament to her sense of compassion.  She shows great concern for the welfare and happiness of others and is actively involved in finding solutions to difficult challenges.  She is a true humanitarian.

In addition to her full-time work as resident director, Calista is deeply involved and committed to a number of professional community organizations. She never fails to impress and reassure. She has an incredible dedication to residents, staff, family and the community. The combination of her high ethical standards and vast experience enable her to be an excellent mentor to employees and helps motivate everyone around her to become a better person.

Representative Joe Schomacker
Legislative Champion Awards: Representative Kurt Daudt (R) District 31A, and Joe Schomacker
(R) District 22A

Representative Joe Schomaker and Speaker Kurt Daudt were selected in recognition of their firm commitment to providers of senior services and their tireless advocacy and ongoing commitment to long-term care issues. 

Prior to the last session, Speaker Daudt used his position to create a newly formed House Aging and Adult Services Committee to look deeply into the issues facing seniors and the providers of senior services.  The Speaker then appointed Representative Schomacker to chair this newly minted committee.  As Chair, Representative Schomacker carried the House version of our nursing home payment reform proposal, as well as holding multiple hearings on issues related to Nursing Homes, Housing with Services, and our Workforce issues.  

Both Chairman Schomacker and Speaker Daudt have a unique understanding and connection to long-term care providers from rural areas and have championed positive reforms and funding sources to promote access across the spectrum of care.  

Kathy Dunleavy, Margaret Wachholz, and Helen Miller
Grassroots Advocacy Award: Kathy Dunleavy, Margaret Wachholz, and Helen Miller
Woodbury Healthcare Center (Woodbury)

For their work on the Face Aging MN campaign.

Kathy Dunleavy, Campus Director of Community Life; Helen Miller, resident, and Margaret Wachholz, Campus Marketing Director, have been absolutely remarkable in helping us in our Face Aging Minnesota campaign. Every request we made of them (and most on short notice) they immediately answered with a "yes" and then would ask what they had said yes to!

As an example, last December – just a few days before Christmas…when most facilities are incredibly busy with their holiday celebrations, we called to see if a photo shoot would be possible at their site; if residents would be willing to be on camera for this brand new campaign; and if this could all happen in two days. They said “of course we’ll make it work” and they did!

Two weeks later, a press conference was held at the Capitol to launch the Face Aging Minnesota campaign. The poster featuring Helen’s photo was unveiled…making Helen the most recognizable face of the campaign. 

Christopher G. Krebsbach
Chairperson’s Choice Award: Christopher G. Krebsbach 
Vice President of Operations, Tealwood Senior Living 

Currently Chris serves on a number of our boards and committees, including President of our Care PAC Board of Trustees.  Chris’ willingness to give so much of his time to Care Providers is nothing new…in fact, it’s what got him into this profession.

He likes being able to provide care for people in need. There are obstacles of course – solutions are rarely easy but this can turn into an opportunity, offering a new set of challenges.  And for Chris, it means that each and every day is different!

Care PAC involvement and advocacy are important to Chris because it gives this profession a voice – which is important to Chris on so many levels. Chris got involved in 2008 when he was asked to join Care PAC, and has increased his participation over the years.  Now he serves as the president of the board of trustees.  

Ann Noland
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ann Noland
President & CEO/Owner, May Creek Senior Living Campus

Ann saw there was a real need for assisted living in the Walker area…and believing they were doing the right thing, she and her husband Jim built the assisted living lodge in 1999, and memory care cottages in 2008

Ann has been actively involved with the ACT on Alzheimer’s collaboration. It was her work with the Chamber of Commerce that made Walker the first dementia-friendly community.  Her involvement goes back to the days she worked in the mental health field and her belief in treating all people with dignity – whether it is an individual living with mental illness or with Alzheimer’s.

One of the results of her commitment was the creation of a business card that can be handed out in public situations.  The card simply states: the person I am with has Alzheimer’s…please be patient.  

This small but is powerful act promotes dignity, values the person, and transfers a stressful situation into acceptance.

Paula Rocheleau
Member of the Year: Paula Rocheleau
CEO of Partners Senior Living Options

Paula grew up in this profession—in fact, her mom was the activities director at Pierz Villa…one of the places now owned and operated by Partners Senior Living Options. 

Paula started working at Pierz Villa while a sophomore in high school.  Paula has always loved the elderly--their stories, insight, and wisdom--and she always knew she wanted to work with this population. She attended St. Cloud State University, graduating with a BS in social work and a minor in gerontology. She continued to work in long-term care—as a caregiver, social worker, and program director. Eventually she went back to work at Pierz Villa as an assistant nursing home director, becoming the administrator once she received her administrator’s license. 

From there she became a senior services consultant for Eldercare of Minnesota….and then in 2008, she became part owner and CEO of PSLO: Partners Senior Living Options, a management company for long-term health care businesses that include 2 nursing homes and 9 assisted living facilities throughout Minnesota, and recently, group homes for the developmentally disabled.


Also recognized at our Convention were the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s (AHCA/NCAL) Quality Award recipients, who were first presented with their award at the AHCA/NCAL convention held in October, 2015.  

Ten Care Providers of Minnesota members received an award: six began their quality journey and were presented with the bronze award and four recipient continued their journey with the silver award.

The following six members were recognized for the Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award:

Deaconess Tower Assisted Living, Paul Kunkel, Executive Director
North Ridge Assisted Living,  Angela Mattson, Executive Director
North Ridge  Health & Rehabilitation, Ryan Chies, Administrator
Seminary Home, Jacob Goering, CEO/Administrator
Serenity Assisted Living, Elaine Anderson, Administrator, and 
Woodbury Healthcare Center, Allan Barr, Executive Director

The Silver – Achievement in Quality Award is the second in the AHCA/NCAL quality award series. An organization must receive an award at the bronze level in order to progress to the silver. At this level, applicants continue to learn and develop effective approaches that help improve performance and health care outcomes.


Richfield Health Center, JoAnn Buytendorp, Administrator
Robbinsdale Rehabilitation & Care Center, Kathleen Pankratz, Administrator
St. Clare Living Community of Mora, Jack L'Heureux, Administrator/CEO and
St. Isidore Health Center of Greenwood Prairie, Paula Lewis, Administrator

Congratulations to you all in your commitment to quality!

Previously awarded at the Senior Housing Summit: August 19-20, 2015

Nellie Krakau
Nellie Krakau, from Chandler Place Assisted Living. Nellie was honored with The Caregiver Award: Home Care in Assisted Living.  

This award recognized a caregiver’s contributions that led to an improved quality of life for residents and a better work life environment for staff. For 40 years, Nellie had done this…first as a nursing assistant, then as a home health aide, and finally as a bath aide.  
Her guiding principle was simple but great: to serve others.

Jennifer Johnston
Jennifer Johnston, the Director of Health Services at Polar Ridge Senior Living in North St. Paul. Jennifer was presented with the Nurse of the Year Award: Home Care in Assisted Living
This award recognized an outstanding nurse who has demonstrated compassion, innovation, and achievement in their provision of high quality resident-centered care.  

Jennifer’s nomination began with a quote by Maya Angelou:  
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  
Those words perfectly describe Jennifer as she has a way of making all residents – and staff – feel valued and respected.

Kimberly Rolling
The Leadership Award: Senior Living was presented to Kimberly Rolling, Executive Director of Country View Senior Living, Walnut Grove.

This award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding innovation, achievement, and capabilities in their provision of high quality person-centered care in a housing with services/assisted living community. Kim began as the nurse manager at Country View in 2007, but excelled so much that she soon took over their business operations, too.  

Kim has led by example in how she treats staff and tenants, always ready to pitch in and help…whenever and wherever help is needed.