Elevating the Post-Acute and
Long Term Care Profession

2021 OHCA Award Winners

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

Association members nominate individuals based on their own knowledge of the candidates and selection criteria. Winners are selected by a team of judges made up of long-term care professionals and other associated individuals.

Assisted Living Caregiver of the Year

Diamond St. Clair, STNA

Birch Place

A state tested nursing assistant at Birch Place for the past ten years, Diamond is both an exceptional caregiver and outstanding mentor to new STNAs.  With a gentle manner, she is able to train new aides not only on the procedures needed, but also on how patience, kindness and grace go a long way when working with residents.  With the majority of last year being in pandemic mode, Birch Place’s traditional quality assurance process was not effective. Working in small groups, often troubleshooting solutions on the fly, Diamond was pivotal in defining issues and bringing forth solutions clearly and without rancor. When the unit she worked on was in quarantine for 99 days, Diamond was instrumental in making sure her residents got the meals they wanted and all their needs were met. Diamond has an easy demeanor that exudes warmth.  Her residents know she is there to make sure they have a good evening and get everything they need.  According to her nominator, Diamond is the kind of worker that does her work so well, it’s hard to define a single event. Residents often share that when Diamond is there, it’s a good night. Their routines are carried out in exactly the right way and Diamond always lets her residents know she genuinely enjoys her job and caring for them. Thank you Diamond St. Clair for the care and love you show your residents.


Assisted Living Manager of the Year

Frankie Twymon, Administrator

Wiggins Place Assisted Living
There is absolutely no task that is beneath her.  If needed, Frankie can be seen vacuuming floors, cleaning rooms, preparing food, washing dishes, just anything that needs to be done for her community or even a sister community. After moving to Wiggins Place from their affiliate Menorah Park, Frankie started honing her skills as the Social Worker/Assistant Administrator. But when their independent living needed assistance, without hesitation, Frankie agreed to join their team. When the administrator position finally became available at Wiggin Place, there was no question, Frankie was the person for the job!  With all the challenges senior living faced this past year, Frankie rose to all of them. She worked tirelessly to keep her residents and staff safe, while dealing with the emotional toll the pandemic leaves in its wake. Frankie regularly provided updates to residents and families explaining why they couldn't go shopping at the mall, cram on a bus for an outing to the museum or play Mah-Jongg with all of their friends. She never let upset residents or families rattle her. She listens to their criticisms with a kind heart and genuine interest, then works to find alternatives to keep them engaged, happy and safe. Senior living needs more Frankie’s, and it’s obvious our award judges agreed!!  Thank you Frankie Twymon for your unwavering dedication and leadership.



Assisted Living Support Services Professional of the Year

Angela Schmackers, Director of Administrative Services

Elmwood Assisted Living of New Bremen

As Director of Administrative Services for Elmwood of New Bremen, Angie’s exceptional work ethic and all-in mentality has made a real difference in the lives of their community, especially during the pandemic. She has a special ability to take control of a situation while remaining calm, optimistic, and confident which has brought unity to the Elmwood leadership team. At the height of a COVID outbreak when the executive director was out due to quarantine and new individuals were leading the housekeeping, maintenance and dining departments, Angie, without hesitation, jumped in and oversaw the day-to-day operations in all departments while maintaining her duties.  She worked in housekeeping, dietary and ordered supplies for multiple departments but her compassion for her residents and teammates didn’t stop at the front door. One example that stood out was a time that Angie purchased supplies and worked countless hours at the home of a family who recently adopted children. Their house was too small for their growing family and the home improvement projects quickly sold their home. Angie brings food to the needy and is quietly self-sacrificing in all she does. All of her teammates are proud to work alongside Angie and they say, they are all better people because of the opportunity to walk through this journey with Angie.


Home Care and Hospice Caregiver of the Year

Adam Davis, Chaplain

VITAS Healthcare


Adam is an exceptional chaplain for VITAS Healthcare of Columbus.  In March of 2021, he was chosen as the Hospice Caregiver of the Month by Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service--one of Central Ohio’s largest, most established funeral homes. He was chosen for going “Above and Beyond” with his families, supporting them during the pandemic when they could not see their loved ones. Adam is the epitome of professionalism and his handiwork demonstrates mastery of practical thinking and common sense. Anyone on the receiving end of Adam’s care can clearly see his high character and compassion for others.  Adam is a gem of a personality who is often mentioned on CAHPS surveys and in family letters for the impactful support he provides to those most in need. “Adam’s support at Dad’s bedside meant the most.”  “He wrote something for me to read at Dad’s service and it was simply perfect” are comments often heard about Adam. Adam is also bilingual speaking fluent Spanish which helps VITAS bridge the gaps with their Spanish speaking patients and families. He works hard, is sincere and not liked, but loved!  Thank you to Adam Davis for your caring heart, attentive eyes and handyman skills, when necessary. Your seemingly small acts of kindness make an incredibly positive impact on your patients and families


Home Care and Hospice Manager of the Year

Rhonda Beuerlein, Case Manager

Hospice of Southwest Ohio
Rhonda is a strong leader and has made a huge impact as Case Manager since she walked through the doors of Hospice of Southwest Ohio more than 2 years ago.  Rhonda is a servant leader that supports the mission of her organization by demonstrating that she is always available to support her team. While hospice nursing care can be emotionally challenging, it also offers great personal rewards. This is especially true for Rhonda. She brings peace and light to families and patients in some of their darkest moments, and she always goes the extra mile for everyone around her. For example, Rhonda takes the time to learn the favorite snack of each of her patients and during her daily visit, she brings them a special treat to brighten their day. When other case managers are out, Rhonda helps in other areas to make sure all patients are supported. She provides training for new staff and works hard to make sure all new staff feel welcomed and prepared to do the job she loves. The family of a patient sent a note to Rhonda’s nominator that sums up Rhonda perfectly.  It reads, “from our first conversation with Rhonda to our last goodbye, the love and care shown to our family from Rhonda was truly amazing. Rhonda and your team helped us keep a promise to our mother and the time spend with her was beautiful and everlasting.”  Thank you Rhonda Beuerlein for being a tireless advocate and shining example of a hospice professional.  


Home Care and Hospice Support Services Professional of the Year

Megan Schimmoeller, Human Resources Manager

Heritage Health Care
Megan joined the healthcare profession in September 2019 taking the position as Human Resources Manager for Heritage Health Care. Little did she know that in four short months, our world--and the professional of healthcare--would change so dramatically.  When Megan started, she accepted the challenge of developing policies and procedures for their small, growing company.  And as quickly as she developed them, Megan began to change them, and then change them again, to address the every changing challenges of the pandemic. Her nominator recalls a specific conversation with Megan in April of 2020 telling her that it won’t be as bad as everyone was saying. And while it clearly has been, Megan has never flinched.  She stood strong and was the glue that held the company together.  According to her nominator, “Megan’s ability to remain calm and think outside of the box was unparalleled and [the company] couldn’t have handled 2020 without her!”  Megan develops relationships with Heritage employees with a specific focus on recruitment and retention. She assists many of the company’s leadership team with professional development, all to improve employee relations and patient care. Megan is truly one of a kind and we are blessed to have her in healthcare.  


ID/DD Caregiver of the Year

Rita Hager, Community Connector

Columbus Center for Human Services Career Activity Center

Rita is Community Connector at the Columbus Center for Human Services’ Career Activity Center and is affectionately known as “Grandma Heater” at CAC. She is a true inspiration to all who know and work with her, as well as to those she serves.  Rita’s day often starts as earlier as 6 am as she answers her phone with a pleasant Good Morning as the individuals she serves eagerly ask when she will be picking them up. She comes to work every day with a positive attitude and energy that is through the roof! When people see her, smiles come to their faces.  During the early days of the pandemic, Rita sent cards to her individuals so they would not be forgotten and then continued sending birthday cards and “thinking of you” cards so they knew she was still there for them. She learned how to zoom so she could meet with her individuals on the iPad. And the zoom calls were truly priceless especially when you see how excited someone gets just to see Rita’s face. An example of Rita’s incredible talent can be seen in an individual she worked with through the pandemic that was originally very quiet and shy. Even with the CAC building closed, Rita was able to reach him and now he is able to voice his wants, needs and interests. He even allows Rita to give him a high five, tries new adventures and interact with others that other staff just can’t get him to do. The positive changes in this individual are truly remarkable and it’s all because of Rita. Thank you Rita Hager for all you do for the individuals you serve.

 

ID/DD Manager of the Year

Rebecca Sharp, Executive Director

Columbus Center for Human Services Inc.

Becky has worked in the ID/DD profession for more than 25 years.  She began her career with the Columbus Center for Human Services as a DSP, has worked herself up the ladder through hard work and further education, and today she is CCHS’ Executive Director. During the COVID pandemic, Becky worked not only the executive role but also worked as a DSP for CCHS’ isolation unit.  She worked with the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities collaborating to provide isolation services to individuals outside her company.  In addition to her work as an Executive Director and DSP, Becky also purchased supplies and made sure staff who continued to work were fed, happy and received all of the assistance they needed. According to her nominator who has worked at CCHS for 21 years, every supervisory position Becky has held, she showed her commitment to the staff by jumping in alongside of them to complete tasks.  The old adage "leadership is action not position" truly exemplifies Becky. Even as staffing shortages has brought chaos to the field, Becky continues to be a presence of support offering to take on-call rotations to give others a break while always asking if others need help.  Becky’s actions are not only a sign of true leadership but also one of commitment and compassion.


ID/DD Support Services Professional of the Year

Christine Tribbie, Senior Representative Human Resources

Hattie Larlham

Christine is the Senior Representative of Human Resources at Hattie Larlham. According to multiple nominators, Chris not only is a shining example of what an HR representative should be, she goes out of her way to brighten the day of anyone around her. Chris is proficient in HR policies and procedures and can apply them effectively to a variety of employment situations. Staff at all levels of the organization not only like Christine, more importantly, they trust her. She is a strong advocate for employees and can balance their needs with the needs of the organization. She spends significant time interfacing directly with employees and management and creates an environment of positive employee relations by maintaining confidentiality, establishing trust, and building credibility. Christine actively engages everyone who works at Hattie and follows-up when staff experience hardships making sure they are aware of their Employee Assistance Program. The Pandemic has created many changes in how the organization operates, particularly in their ability to hire and keep everyone safe.  Yet through it all, Chris was a great role model maintaining a positive “we will get through this” attitude while taking on many additional duties with professionalism and skill.


Nursing Facility Caregiver of the Year

Tricia Anderson, STNA

Laurels of Worthington

As an STNA for 30 years at Laurels of Worthington, Trish goes above and beyond every day, and her residents and families frequently give her praise.  During the facility’s COVID outbreak, she worked the COVID unit every scheduled day without complaint and made sure her residents were showered, up and moving so they weren’t lying in bed. Tricia was nominated Laurels of Worthington 2020 Employee of The Year for all her hard work and dedication.  She possesses the technical and professional skills to do her job, but it’s her compassion, dedication, patience and humor that make Trish truly special. Consoling a resident when their spouse dies or writing a letter for a resident whose handwriting has become illegible are just a couple of the ways Trish displays her compassion. Working double shifts and coming in on her days off to help during the pandemic are ways she frequently displays her dedication. But Trish also brings to her job patience and sense of humor that are truly valued in long term care.  Knowing how to cajole a resident when they are down or be patient when a resident is upset or agitated rounds out Tricia’s special talents.  A family member recently said, “Trish exemplifies what a competent and caring aide should be and she should be recognized for her professional achievement.”  OHCA agrees!

 

Nursing Facility Manager of the Year

Donna Patrick, Director of Nursing

Meadows at Osborn Park

As the DON of Meadows at Osborn Park, Donna, like so many other DONs, face enormous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Donna is a dedicated professional who manages her nursing team with not just her nursing expertise, in which she abounds, but also with her patience, wisdom and compassion. Donna’s team knows that her top priority is the care and wellbeing of her residents, and they respect her for it.  During the facilities first COVID outbreak in September of 2020, Donna stayed at the facility for 65 consecutive days and nights to lead her team. She stayed in an empty patient room and did not ask for any conveniences or privileges. She was called upon many times during the night to help with very sick COVID patients.  Donna stayed because of her dedication to those she leads, and serves.  She wanted to help insure that care was provided with utmost consideration for infection control practices, and to help with hands on resident care. According to her nominator, staff at all levels of the organization respect Donna and her nursing knowledge.  Her nominator says that in her years as a nursing home administrator, she has never been more confident in their skilled nursing operation knowing clinical services are in excellent hands under Donna’ leadership. Thank you Donna Patrick for going the extra mile every day and being a great example of competency and compassion.


Skilled Nursing Support Services Professional of the Year

Amber Ehrenberg, Staffing Coordinator

Ohio Valley Manor

Amber is one of the people critical to the overall success of Ohio Valley Manor. She is intelligent, intuitive and once she knows about an issue, is relentless until it gets resolved. Amber moves heaven and earth to make sure the residents get the care they deserve and her staff is treated right.  Her official title is Staffing Coordinator, but it should be “Resident Magician,” because, according to her nominator, they are always needing Amber to pull a rabbit out of a hat!  She interviews STNAs, completes schedules for nursing staff, helps supervisors fill holes in the schedules, and helps manage the COVID testing procedures. She does all this while being the sounding board for many on the nursing team, listening to their concerns, complaints and ideas, always making sure they are heard. This year has been a really tough year to be a staffing coordinator for COVID exacerbated an already critical workforce shortage. But to do it, and still hear laughter coming out of Amber’s office, is even more remarkable. Amber has gone above and beyond over and over again. One of the facilities most loved STNAs succumbed to cancer last year.  During her final days, Amber organized a drive-by parade to allow staff to express how they felt. And after the STNA’s passing, Amber arranged a memorial at the facility to give residents a change to say goodbye too.  Amber Ehrenberg —you are truly someone special.


Skilled Nursing Support Services Professional of the Year

Brandy Suter, Scheduler/STNA

BrookHaven Retirement Community

Brandy has worked at BrookHaven Retirement Community for 20 years. Her technical title is "scheduler," but she is so much more. Brandy is in charge of the schedule for all nurses and STNA's in the nursing facility, which is a full time job in and of itself, but willingly, she also handles central supply for the building, works hours as an STNA and receptionist, and assists with their AL staffing schedule as well as the kitchen schedule when needed. She spends countless hours, both in her office and at home, filling the schedule to ensure that their residents are taken care of. If there is an STNA shift that can't be filled, Brandy is often there working. One time the administrator received a call just before 6 am that no one showed up to cook breakfast. When she arrived at the facility less than an hour later, Brandy, admittedly not a great cook, was cooking eggs and oatmeal, and had recruited help to ensure the residents were served. On October 31, 2020 many at BrookHaven were building a COVID unit as they experienced the start of what was to be their worst outbreak. In full PPE, moving rooms and sanitizing everything in sight, it was one of the worst nights many of on their team can remember. Brandy was gone hours prior but who turned up at 7 pm to lend a hand because she heard what was going on? It was Brandy of course! Compassionate, hard-working and truly the definition of a team player.