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Pioneer Award 2017 - Sharon Reynolds

Pioneer awardsThe OHCA Pioneer Award is designed to recognize Ohioans influential in the development and advancement of long-term care programs, education, professionalism or ideals. The Awards honor the commitment of these individuals to excellence in long-term care services.

Sharon Reynolds initiated many innovations in long-term care. While working at Mayfair Village, Columbus, beginning in 1980, the facility started a home health company and offered quarterly accredited educational programs for physicians with approximately 30 physicians in attendance at each program.

Moving to Northland Terrace in Columbus in 1985, Sharon pioneered subacute care in Ohio’s nursing centers. One of the first facilities in Ohio to care for ventilator-dependent adults and children, Northland operated an adult ventilator program with contracted in-house respiratory therapists. In the late 1980s, Sharon received a Governor’s Commendation for saving the State of Ohio millions of dollars when a program was initiated in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to care for children  who would otherwise remain in the hospital. She also successfully petitioned the State to have the children mainstreamed in school rather than having them tutored. 

Sharon quickly embraced the concept of subacute care and rehabilitation. She hired one of the first subacute program directors in Ohio and Northland became the first CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited facility, and began using FIM scores (functional outcome measure scores) to demonstrate that patients were functionally better upon discharge than they were upon admission.  

Other innovative and progressive advances included rehabilitation critical pathways; facility-employed RN case managers; facility-employed nurse practitioners; and made-to-order dining service. Sharon also contracted with the Cleveland Clinic for placement of post-acute patients, and contracted with various insurance companies for post-acute care of patients that would otherwise have a longer hospital stay. 

Many of these progressive applications have become common practice in nursing centers nationwide today. 

Giving back to the long-term care community, Sharon served as an active member of the OHCA Board of Directors and dispatched her staff to OHCA to help educate and develop resources to assist OHCA members in subacute care development and managed care.  

Moving to AdCare, Sharon developed alliances with acute care hospitals and physicians to ensure that quality post-acute care was being delivered to patients and residents. Although she has recently retired and is enjoying her well-earned rest, Sharon Reynolds, a true Pioneer has inspired many professionals with the same passion and progressive spirit. 

2017 Professional Achievement Award Winners


Ohio’s long-term care facilities employ over 80,000 professionals who care for more than 90,000 residents. These employees are the backbone of the LTC community, with facilities relying on dedicated teamwork and skills to provide quality care and compassion to patients and families. The Association’s Professional Achievement Awards are designed to honor those individuals who have excelled in providing outstanding care in a cooperative spirit of teamwork.

Statewide winners will be awarded in each of the following categories if qualifying nominees are submitted. Association members may nominate individuals based on their own knowledge of the candidates and facility-based selection criteria. Nominees must be approved by the administrator/manager or, in the case of an administrator/manager, the assistant administrator/manager or DON. There are separate award categories for OHCA/NF, OCAL and OCID members.

OHCA Administrator of the Year
Kristy Earick, Executive Director
Versailles Health Care Center -- Versailles, Ohio

Kristy Earick's passion for working with seniors started early, learning from her mother who worked as a nurse in a local facility where Kristy volunteered. As a college student, she worked part time as an activity assistant, and her love for long-term care persisted.

During her 15 years at Versailles Kristy has instilled a culture of family and compassion where every employee, patient and family member feels significant and appreciated. She has empowered her employees in their personal and professional growth, always finding their unique talents. Low employee turnover and high employee satisfaction are the rule. Kristy finds solutions, and challenges each department to continually evaluate and improve quality of care and quality of life.

Kristy has led the facility to earn top awards within the company and nationally; Versailles has been recognized as "Facility of the Year" four times and earned a Silver AHCA Award in 2014. Patients, residents and families adore Kristy, who strives to make their lives enjoyable and worthwhile. Over her tenure as an Administrator, she has touched the lives of many people and her staff nominated her for this very deserving recognition.

OHCA Manager of the Year
Elaine Kendle, Director of Nursing
Altercare of Navarre -- Navarre, Ohio

With over 26 years of dedicated nursing service, the staff at Altercare say that Elaine Kendle is the perfect health care professional to receive the OHCA Manager of the Year Award. As DON, she has been the guiding force behind Altercare of Navarre’s quality patient care for 24 years, loved by staff and residents alike.

Her dedication to the nursing profession is unparalleled with certifications in gerontological, rehabilitation, and long term care nursing, and Elaine encourages staff members to pursue similar self-improvements. Diligent about providing effective communications to staff, Elaine coordinates physicians and nurse practitioners while reviewing new admissions, progress notes, laboratory results, and patient incidents with all facility departments to ensure all nursing needs are met. Her ability to stay calm, professional, and maintain a positive attitude is infectious to staff members and residents.

Elaine is respected and a mentor to all facility employees for her wisdom and knowledge, and she is a staple presence and spokesperson for the facility in the Navarre community.

OHCA Caregiver of the Year
Harry Taggart, STNA
Andover Village -- Andover, Ohio

A true resident advocate, for more than 17 years Harry Taggart has ensured that residents at Andover Village receive the proper resources they need to be comfortable.

Always in a contagious, happy and positive mood, Harry began his professional career by serving in the army and continues to uphold the values he learned there while serving his residents at the facility. Harry has received training in respiratory care, dialysis care, and a variety of critical care needs, and works closely with all departments during his regular rounds.

Harry is the epitome of what all STNAs should strive to become -- not only professionally but personally. He is a true advocate for his residents and will go above and beyond to ensure their happiness, comfort, and well-being. It is evident by his actions, his values, and his personality that he is truly a unique, caring, and committed individual. His personal commitment to his responsibilities of being an STNA are recognized and respected by all who know him, and led to his nomination for this award.

OHCA Support Services Professional of the Year
Bonnie Fishell, Human Resource Director
Greenbrier Retirement Center -- Parma Heights, Ohio

Bonnie Fishell takes ownership as Human Resource Director at Greenbrier. Bonnie lives customer service; it is what she loves to do, and she loves to see staff succeed in all aspects whether work-related or personal. Making work fun, every month Bonnie plans a special treat for her staff. During Christmas season, she made reindeer hot chocolate packets for all employees and made sure all residents received personal gifts.

With a passion and drive to make every new resident and staff member feel welcome, Bonnie’s tireless work ethic and abilities have helped Greenbrier achieve 15% annual turnover, down from over 60% four years ago when she took the reins. She also helps lead a new Nurse Aide Training Program which does training for 6 area centers.

Beginning her day at 6 a.m. and making herself available to all 3 shifts, Bonnie is recognized as the face of Greenbrier; she motivates the staff through participation and empowerment, and it shows with skyrocketing resident and employee satisfaction!

OCAL Manager of the Year
Beth Russell, Executive Director
Grace Woods Senior Living -- Niles, Ohio

Beth has successfully transitioned to the Executive Director's position at Grace through her commitment to long-term care. Her successful completion of the Certified Executive for Assisted Living (CEAL) curriculum rounded out her skill set, and provided the confidence boost to take on this important role.

Proactive in her leadership and her pursuit of increased knowledge in our rapidly changing industry, Beth’s career in health care spans 20 years, the past two as Executive Director at Grace. Medical billing processes, accounts receivable management and staff supervisor of a multi-facility central office provided a solid foundation for her career path. She has an uncanny ability to interpret rules and regulations and successfully translate them into facility policy which staff understands and can implement. Her empathy for families and residents is genuine and provides great peace of mind for all involved.

Often, the development of a star begins with opportunity. Beth has taken opportunity and learned, from the grass roots, long term care management and has become an asset to the long-term care community.

OCAL Caregiver of the Year
Darlene Greenleaf, Resident Care Attendant
Crystal Waters Retirement Community -- Strongsville, Ohio

It’s evident in Darlene Greenleaf's smile and presence that this diminutive powerhouse is one of the real reasons Crystal Waters Retirement Community is a success! Darlene has been a caregiver for 30 years, and it would be impossible to count how many lives she has touched. She is a no-nonsense, hard-working team member, and the caregiver that every administrator would like to clone. Her peers call her a “miracle worker” in her ability to manage scheduling, covering residents’ needs while respecting the lives of other caregivers who are often mothers and students with busy personal lives.

Canceling her own vacation plans to cover shifts because she cannot imagine having her residents receive anything other than the best possible care, Darlene has an amazing capacity to encourage people to be independent and to help themselves to the greatest extent possible. Darlene would go above and beyond to help anyone who was unable to help themselves.

She has found her calling and lives it each day; her team says they could not imagine working without her!

OCID Manager of the Year
Carlene Jones, DON
Boyd's Kinsman Home -- Kinsman, Ohio

Carlene Jones, DON, has selflessly served ID/DD residents at Boyd’s for 41 years. Residents call her "Mom," as this truly embodies her relationship! She puts residents' needs first, setting outstanding examples to all staff on how to provide service. Prioritizing person centered planning before it was recognized, Carlene has taken residents to community events, outings, and overnight trips since the 1970s.

Residents, staff, and residents' families have trust in Carlene’s knowledge, dedication and caregiving, and know they can call her anytime, day or night. Working a variety of shifts to meet every need, she draws energy from her passion and love for the residents.

Leading by example, Carlene can often be found with the residents, helping in the kitchen, or cleaning up a mess. She mentors, coaches, encourages, praises, and holds staff accountable. Hard work barely sums up a usual day, but being a friend, counselor, and "extended family" member to the residents, staff, and residents' families is rewarding! It is no wonder Carlene Jones is the OCID Manager of the Year!

OCID Caregiver of the Year
Michelle Daniels, Direct Service Professional
Hattie Larlham - Wood Home -- Bedford, Ohio

Dedicated, diligent, reliable, and compassionate are words expressed in the nomination for Michelle Daniels, an employee who encompasses the qualities of an outstanding direct service professional. A leader and a role model for other staff within the Wood Home, Michelle’s presence instills confidence in both the supervisory and nursing teams, and she is a superb trainer who makes her students knowledgeable and confident.

Michelle treats all of the people served at Wood Home with dignity and respect; she is not only a caregiver but a friend. Michelle takes a leadership role to ensure residents receive quality care and active treatment, and makes sure that all the individuals served are afforded the same opportunities. In addition to work and care benefits, residents are treated to countless trips to the movie theater, restaurants, bowling alleys, the zoo, Cedar Point, the African Safari in Sandusky, and Put-In-Bay.

Working second shift full-time with perfect attendance, Michelle ensures that residents are always included and engaged. Michelle has improved the quality of life for the residents of the Wood Home and makes the residence a better place when she is there. Michelle inspires all of us to work to our full potential to ensure the people cared for are given everything they deserve.

Volunteer of the Year
Linda Schwepe, Volunteer
The Heritage -- Findlay, Ohio

At 76 years young, Linda Schwepe has been a ball of energy volunteering at The Heritage in Findlay since her husband passed away as an Alzheimer’s resident there three years ago.

Participating in numerous resident functions up to 20 hours a month, the staff welcomes her as one of their own, and relies on her empathy and vibrant presence to bring joy to everyone. Having spent many years caring for her husband, Linda recognized the need and has provided a persistent, positive attitude and spark to the campus. Her constant presence as a volunteer reminds everyone of what it means to serve other’s needs before your own.

A staff supporter and cheerleader, the Heritage campus and community is a better place because of Linda’s servant’s heart which leads her to give unconditionally to others.