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Three Village Shalom staff members receive top year-end honors


The year wrapped up nicely for three Village Shalom staff members who were crowned, Employee of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Allen and Gloria Block “Champion of Culture Change.” For Amanda Hill, Anne Allen and Edward Salinas, the retirement community’s annual staff holiday party on Dec. 15. ended on a high note.  

The Employee and Rookie of the Year awards are made possible through the Charles M. Helzberg Employee Recognition Fund. Helzberg established the fund in 2000 to recognize exemplary Village Shalom staff members by honoring 12 Employees and Rookies of the Month throughout the year – serving as the nomination pool for the year-end honors.

"One of the most difficult decisions we have to make each year is naming only two employees as Employee and Rookie of the Year,” said Village Shalom President and CEO Matt Lewis. “Although the choice was tough to make, we are so grateful that Charley has recognized the importance for us to be able to honor our wonderful employees in such a big way.”


Employee of the Year – Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill was crowned as the 2017 Employee of the Year

Amanda Hill was crowned the 2017 Employee of the Year.

In any situation, the 2017 Employee of the Year is always positive and encouraging. Be it a resident or a co-worker, Amanda Hill can lead anyone with confidence and grace.

Hill, a social worker, has been with Village Shalom for three years in the social services department.

“Amanda is frequently involved in difficult, very emotion-driven situations,” said Village Shalom Director of Social Services Paula Carpenter. “Throughout each interaction she handles herself with kindness, compassion and excellent listening skills.”

Hill constantly finds new ways to learn, grow and educate herself to add to her already impressive skillset. She passes on her knowledge to better train Village Shalom staff on how to best meet the needs of residents, and works diligently with Village Shalom’s social work interns.

“Amanda is a great teacher and so supportive to help others learn and grow in their roles here,” said Social Services Designee Assistant, Leah Shive, who was a social services intern at the time she gave her nomination.

As Employee of the Year, Hill received a statuette and a check for $5,000.


Rookie of the Year – Anne Allen 

Anne Allen was named the 2017 Rookie of the Year.

When Anne Allen was named 2017 Rookie of the Year, the room was lit with her charming and sweet smile.

Allen joined the Village Shalom staff as a LPN-charge nurse in the Shalom Suites 11 months ago. She quickly proved herself to be a dedicated and quick study, always putting the needs of the residents before her own.

“Anne has a gentle way about her and it shines through in every encounter that she has with staff, residents and families,” said Village Shalom Director of Nursing Muriel Weston. “Anne is a solid nurse with a loving heart for all.”

Anne has made a big impact in her short time at Village Shalom connecting with residents and their family members.

“Anne is a very special person and outstanding employee,” said Margaret Vetsch, a Village Shalom resident. “During my daily visit, I see just how hard she works. She steps in wherever she is needed and is very competent in doing her job.”

As Rookie of the Year, Allen received a statuette and a check for $1,000.  


Allen and Gloria Block “Champion of Culture Change” – Edward Salinas

 John Gilbert (left) sings the praises of Ed Salinas (right), the 2017 "Champion of Culture Change".

The Block Family established the “Champion of Culture Change” Award in 2008, in conjunction with the Menorah Heritage Foundation. The award honors an exceptional Village Shalom staff member dedicated to the concept of “culture change” – an industry term for improving resident quality of life by creating a home-like environment, promoting resident choice and increasing community involvement.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Salinas famously recites everyday he comes to work.

Salinas has worked in the Village Shalom facilities maintenance department for eight years, bonding with residents with his upbeat demeanor.

“Ed has one of the greatest work ethics and attitudes here at Village Shalom,” said Village Shalom Facilities Manager John Gilbert. “In his eight years here, he’s developed relationships with residents, staff and family members from one end of the building to the other.”

“He’s specifically requested for maintenance work quite often, not only for his skills but also his upbeat attitude,” Gilbert said.

As “Champion of Culture Change,” Salinas received a statuette and a check for $1,000.