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BMA Employee Cooks Up National Hero Award
Posted: 05/21/2014

BMA News BMA Management is proud to announce that Elizabeth (Beth) Dreas, a cook from Heritage Woods of Centralia, has been named a 2014 ALFA Hero.

The ALFA Hero Award recognizes individuals who are ideal representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people serving in senior living communities. This year, the selection committee received hundreds of nominations and narrowed the list down to 15 finalists. Beth was one of only five senior living professionals in the nation to be honored. She was recognized at the 2014 Assisted Living Federation of America Conference and Exposition that was held in Phoenix this week.
ALFA Heros
“represent the highest levels of excellence, caring and dedication in the senior living business and mirror all the hard-working people choosing to serve seniors,” says Richard Grimes, President and CEO of ALFA.

As a cook at Heritage Woods of Centralia, Beth has an opportunity to do what she loves best: serve others. Her love for her work and for the residents who live at the community is never-ending, says Tom Broughton, the administrator at Heritage Woods.

Her story is even more inspiring because of the journey that brought her to Heritage Woods. At an early age, her family was torn apart, and she was raised by nuns. Eventually, she became a nun herself and credits that experience with helping her discover her passion for helping people. Beth went on to earn a master’s degree and later left the convent. She and her husband raised their children on the farm for many years before she decided to start working again. Coming to Heritage Woods was a huge turning point in Beth’s life. She loves everyone at the community; it opened her heart, and she has been able to fulfill her desire to serve others.

Beth embraces our values of love, compassion and dignity. She is relentless in seeing that residents come first, even if it means taking time away from her family. She is like the Energizer Bunny. She will not stop until every task is complete and every resident’s nutritional needs are met. Her love for her work and the residents is unwavering.

\"\"She is just a ball of fire. She is in 100 places at once,\" said Heritage Woods Dietary Manager Crystal White. \"She is the heart of the kitchen and our community.\"

Beth puts love into each meal she prepares, using the skills she picked up while she was away at a boarding school run by nuns. Other children would go home on weekends, but Beth did not have a place to call home, so she’d stay behind and often spend time in the kitchen with a nun who cared for her. That’s where she discovered her love for cooking. “The kitchen became my comfort,” she said. “Cooking brings people together.”

Outside of work, Beth volunteers in church and the community, touting the benefits of assisted living.

\"Everybody has a story. The people who live here at Heritage Woods have made this world what it is, and they should have a right to a decent place to live and somebody to take care of them, give them the help that they need, but also encourage independence as much as possible,\" Beth said. \"To see people happy, to feel like this is what God wants me to do, that is a special feeling.\"

There are many heroes in the world, Beth said modestly after learning she had been nominated as an ALFA Hero. \"I just want to be a little voice of happiness in the world.”

Beth is a constant source of sunshine for the residents and staff at Heritage Woods. Her supervisor, Crystal, credits her with helping make the community a loving home for the older adults they serve. \"Beth inspires the rest of us,\" she said, \"and we are better people because of her.\"

To learn more about Beth’s story and what makes her our hero, watch the video below.


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