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Meet the 2022 District Caregiver of the Year Award Recipients

LeadingAge Minnesota presented the District Caregiver of the Year Awards at the recent Institute & Expo.

The District Caregiver of the Year Award honors individuals in older adult services who demonstrate exceptional commitment to older adults and enhance and enrich the quality of life of those in their care. The honorees were selected for the regional award out of a field of 50,000 professional caregivers throughout the state.

Jenelle Connors, Nurse Manager at Guardian Angels Health & Rehabilitation Center in Hibbing, is the District B Caregiver of the Year.

“Jenelle always goes above and beyond to help the residents to ensure they are safe and obtain the highest level of care,” said Shane Roche, Administrator at Guardian Angels Health and Rehabilitative Center. “During our most challenging times, Jenelle has stepped up with courage, strength, and dedication to provide direct care to our most vulnerable battling Covid-19 in our care center.”

Geri Boecker, a Health Unit Coordinator at CentraCare Melrose Care Center in Melrose, is the District D Caregiver of the Year.

For 44 years at CentraCare Melrose Care Center, she has been known for her unique ability to build relationships with each resident. "Throughout COVID-19, she has remained compassionate, resident-focused and shared all concerns and success stories with the rest of our team," said Anne Major, Administrator, CentraCare Melrose Care Center.

Glenda McGaffee, Activities Assistant at Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, is the District E Caregiver of the Year.

For 45 years, Glenda's one priority has been making sure the residents are happy," said Eli Ripley, Administrator, Tuff Memorial Home. "She makes them feel safe, loved, and respected." As the Activities Assistant, she has an infectious personality, plays the piano for many events, and brightens the day of many residents and staff with her smile.

Patrick Feely, a Maintenance Technician and Bus Driver for Vista Prairie at Goldfinch Estates in Fairmont, is the District F Caregiver of the Year.

“Pat is a 74-year old 'third act' guy," said Mandy Farrow, Executive Director, Vista Prairie at Goldfinch Estates. "After 43 years at the U.S. Postal Service, he's been our beloved bus driver for the past 12 years." Pat has been known to take bus riders around town to see new sites and how the crops are doing, often taking residents by their old addresses to see where they lived.

Danielle Cross, the Director of Life Enrichment at Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge in West St. Paul, is the District G Caregiver of the Year.

Danielle puts in countless hours making the residents feel connected to each other and the community as a whole, especially during COVID-19. “She helped each and every resident feel a little less isolated,” said Catherine Bergler, Director of Housing at Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge, “She is also always the first person to come up with creative ways to make staff feel appreciated and seen.”

LeadingAge Minnesota presented the Statewide Caregiver of the Year Award to Mohamed Wasuge, a home health aide and medication aide at Augustana Regent at Burnsville. Watch his story here.

We invite you to learn more about all the 2022 Stars Among Us Award recipients here.

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