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BMA Communities Glow with 2014 Shining Stars
Posted: 12/15/2014

BMA News The 2014 Shining Star nominees are employees who improve the quality of life at BMA communities.

They put residents first and embrace the company values of love and compassion. BMA Management shines brighter because of their commitment to ensuring the men and women who live at our communities are treated with the dignity they deserve.

This year’s Shining Star winners are from John Evans Supportive Living, Heritage Woods of Chicago and Heritage Woods of Freeport.

\"2014John Evans Shining Star Puts People First
Bridget Rumler has been a part of the John Evans Supportive Living family since before the community welcomed its first resident in 2007. She received top honors in the 2014 Shining Star Contest.

Read the contest submission below to learn more about the great work Rumler does at John Evans Supportive Living:

Again, the challenge of picking one shining star above all others looms at our community. As always, it’s a difficult decision, as all the stars we refer to as “our employees” shine brightly. This person, however, shines exceptionally bright in the sometimes dark world facing many seniors in our area. 

If you have ever met her, you will never forget her. She is usually the life of meetings – a “class clown” who always has a funny story to make us laugh. We all know what a great salesperson she is and of her desire to help enrich the lives of senior citizens in need by moving them into our community. But there is another side of her that people don’t always experience the way I do. I have sat in close proximity to her for many years and am privy to many of her phone conversations and family meetings, and she never ceases to inspire me with her genuine concern for others. 

We get many calls each week, and unfortunately, there are times when we cannot meet the needs of a caller. They may, for example, be under the age of 65 or need a skill level too acute for us to manage. She still takes time with each person to understand their situation and be a resource for them. “Tell me what’s going on with your loved one,” she will ask. As a long time marketer in our area, she has many contacts in the healthcare field, and she makes every effort to connect those in need with the right provider. It’s not always about the sale, and although that is very important, the setting that ensures the highest quality of life and dignity for each individual is paramount for her. Many of the people who reach out to us are in desperate situations and don’t know where to turn when they have siblings, mothers or fathers who are under the age of 65, but in serious need of help. They do not hang up without a sense of hope. She often calls other facilities and puts them in touch with these families. Many times, she has given them her personal phone number and says “call me and let me know how things work out.” She has kept a list of names and numbers for many years with the hopes that more “under 65” facilities would be built. She was so excited to be able to refer people to Deer Path of Huntley, another BMA community that serves adults ages 22 to 64 with physical disabilities, when it opened last year. As she has told the families, “Isn’t it worth it to drive a few hours to know your loved one is in a beautiful community receiving quality care?” She works tirelessly on her own time to help many people who she knows may never live with us. 

She is the same way with the residents at our building. When it is time for someone to move to a higher level of care, she works to find the best solution for them. She helps the family coordinate movers, packs belongings, arranges storage and delivers treasured personal items to their new homes. She assures the families that she will continue to visit their loved ones. “Once they are a part of our family, they always will be – no matter where they are,” she says. This is so reassuring to families, facing the fear of the “dreaded nursing home” move. She often takes the former residents their favorite treats, candy or maybe a chocolate shake from Dairy Queen, after they are settled.

She is an inspiration to our staff, reminding them that John Evans could be the last home for many of our residents, and we need to make it a wonderful experience for them and their families. She is interested and concerned about the staff and their lives as well and always willing to lend a helping hand when she can. She has never met a stranger. I often hear the woes of the gas station attendant or the store clerk she encounters in her travels because she wants to help them out in any way she can. Always the mother hen, she often says, “We have many contacts and resources available to us, and others are not so fortunate.”

She is passionate. She is caring and empathetic. She has a strong desire to improve the situation of everyone she encounters – the rich, the poor, the underdogs, those who are neglected in our society. This is why our building is always full. It is easy to sense the genuine care she and our staff have for people. There is no sense of phoniness. It’s not just about the sale; it’s about the people!

\"2014Compassionate CNA Earns Shining Star Award
Sharon Hester-Johnson, the second place winner in the Shining Star Contest, joined the Heritage Woods of Chicago team earlier this year.

Read the contest submission below to learn more about why Hester-Johnson was selected as a 2014 Shining Star:

Our Shining Star joined the Heritage Woods family as a CNA.

She came to us like a shooting star. She immediately stood out with her warmth, caring and compassion. And like a shooting star, she leaves a trail of light behind her. The impression she leaves on those around her is one of warmth, dependability and professionalism.

She is always smiling, and consistently warm and engaging with everyone she encounters. If she sees a prospective resident is touring and needs a wheelchair, she is quick to locate one. When an employee, resident or guest needs anything – from a flatbed to a helping hand – she shoots into action to help. Her coworkers appreciate her “can do” attitude and sense of teamwork. She quickly became a mentor who helps orientate new CNAs.

Our management team immediately noticed her caring and professional demeanor and encouraged her to apply for a receptionist position. She politely declined, saying she prefers to take care of the residents. And care for them, she does.

Residents love how she cares for them. Each month, the full-time CNAs are rotated to another wing, and every month without fail, the residents she served request that she become their permanent CNA. The residents say they never have to think about asking her for anything because she is always right there to assist them and anticipates their needs.

She recently received an award for demonstrating our value of compassion. She truly possesses all of our values and lives our mission statement each day. When we were challenged to choose employees that represented each of our values for an upcoming employee appreciation visit with BMA President Rod Burkett, our team struggled with which one to assign to her, as she is truly a shining star each day and in all she does.

We chose compassion because of her ability to reach the most difficult of residents in the darkest of their days. Her care does not end with her shift. She visits residents in the hospital and brings them clothing or other things they request.

One of our more vulnerable, and challenging, residents has been in the hospital, struggling with health issues and navigating the health care system. This is particularly challenging for residents without the support of family or friends. She was committed to making sure that the hospital knew he had a support system and began visiting him personally as she is the only CNA, and one of the only employees, that the resident likes. 

Thank you for shining your light so brightly, Sharon, and inspiring all of us with your genuine compassion and love for our residents!

\"2014Manager's Creativity Makes Her A Shining Star
Sheila Amborn's creativity helped her earn third place honors in our Shining Star Contest. She joined the Heritage Woods of Freeport team as the Business Office Manager last year.

Read the contest submission below to learn more about why Amborn stands out as a shining star:

Our Shining Star works very hard at her job, but it’s the extra effort outside of her job scope that makes her a worthy candidate for this award. 

In her free time, she puts together cute little crafts with positive words of encouragement for our managers. One of the more creative and effective projects was a baggie filled with red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple licorice. The colors represented the rainbow. Tiny marshmallows depicted small clouds, and golden-wrapped chocolate coins were the sun. On the outside of the bag, there was a note that said, “You are the sunshine that makes the rainbow at Heritage Woods! Thank you for all your hard work. Appreciate all you do!” 

She is also very creative with the residents. This fall, she held a Saturday morning craft class where residents were delighted to make wreaths for their doors. She often comes up with ideas to help make the resident experience here more pleasant. The way she engages with residents makes us feel like we have an extension of our Activity Department.

These are just a couple of examples of how she uses her creativity and gives that extra effort to see that the residents and staff of Heritage Woods are recognized and appreciated.

Complete List of 2014 Shining Stars

Ester Joyner
Bowman Estates of Danville
Barbara Claussen
Cambridge House of Maryville
Karen Blackburn
Cambridge House of O'Fallon
Tracy Baer
Cambridge House of Swansea
Sandra Grant
Churchview SLC
Gilbert Savilla
Deer Path of Huntley
Rochelle Ross
Eagle Ridge of Decatur
Amanda Jones
Grand Prairie of Macomb
Regina Meeks
Heritage Woods of Batavia
Mary Chambers
Heritage Woods of Belvidere
Teri Smith
Heritage Woods of Benton
Dominique Bell
Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook
Dameka Davis
Heritage Woods of Centralia
Andrew Little
Heritage Woods of Charleston
Sharon Hester-Johnson
Heritage Woods of Chicago
Daniel Shellstrom
Heritage Woods of DeKalb
Stephanie Fisher
Heritage Woods of Dwight
Valerie Bute
Heritage Woods of Flora
Sheila Amborn
Heritage Woods of Freeport
Kristin Urban
Heritage Woods of Gurnee
Susan Wrzeszcz
Heritage Woods of Huntley
Gina Blanchette
Heritage Woods of Manteno
Christina Miles
Heritage Woods of McHenry
David Noles
Heritage Woods of McLeansboro
Ruth Hull
Heritage Woods of Moline
Nancy Jean 
Heritage Woods of Mt. Vernon
Deb Buennemeyer
Heritage Woods of Ottawa
Francisca Ashu
Heritage Woods of Plainfield
Kim Brown
Heritage Woods of Rockford
Katy Everistacio
Heritage Woods of South Elgin
Becca Hawkins
Heritage Woods of Sterling
Alicia Genzel-Bailey
Heritage Woods of Watseka
Julie Carey 
Heritage Woods of Yorkville
Bridget Rumler
John Evans Supportive Living
Megan Becker
Prairie Living at Chautauqua
Margaret Seggebruch
Prairie Winds of Urbana
Joi Creach
St. Anthony of Lansing
Robbie Vasquez
White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin



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