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Champions of Caring

Champion of Caring is HCR ManorCare’s national employee recognition program. Scroll down to meet the individuals who make a real difference in the lives of their patients, residents, family members and fellow employees for the care and caring they provide.

Our Champions of Caring

Ruben Ganancial

LVN Nurse Supervisor

ManorCare Health Services—Walnut Creek

In Ruben’s 14 years with ManorCare—Walnut Creek, he has been a mentor, preceptor and a go-to person for the whole center team. Patients, physicians and families count on Ruben when they visit or call to get up-to-date information, describing him as conscientious, efficient, courteous and cheerful. Returning patients frequently request Ruben’s unit in order to be in his care. Surveyors note his remarkable consistency and commitment. He leads by example, putting his team members first and always being quick to recognize coworkers’ exceptional customer service. In turn, newer nurses have remarked on his responsiveness and contributions as a mentor.

Maria Moors


ManorCare Health Services—Venice, Florida

With a smile on her face and a smile in her voice, Maria has been ManorCare—Venice’s first and best impression for all those who enter the center for over 10 years. From the delivery guy to referral sources, she makes people entering feel as if they are part of a family. Her smile and positive energy are even sensed over the phone. Coworkers describe her as vivacious, dependable, energetic and compassionate. Family members note that she has a special talent for relating to people, making you smile, even on the hardest of days. Maria takes to memory every patient, family member, staff member and community partner, showing attentiveness well beyond her receptionist duties. Her warm greetings have led to an enviable number of positive Care Line calls.

Celeste Billups

Certified Nurse Aide

Heartland Hospice of Virginia Beach

Celeste joined our Heartland Virginia Beach hospice agency in 2006. In the time since, she has been known for her dedication, compassion and genuine work ethic, a work ethic she defines as her autograph, one that is signed with pride and excellence. She is a role model and mentor for the agency’s new CNAs, emphasizing giving dignity to patients whose turn it is to receive the blessing of care. She has become certified as a hospice and palliative nursing assistant and a certified NAHCA preceptor, all while she dealt with her own health issues, which have been turned into in-service learning experiences. She is the 2017 NAHCA Devoted Service Excellence Award honoree, the first hospice CNA so honored.

Oralia (Sonia) Rodriquez

Housekeeping Aide

ManorCare Health Services—Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Sonia Rodriquez, housekeeping aide at ManorCare Health Services—Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was named HCR ManorCare Champion of Caring for the 2017 third quarter. Sonia has been a caregiver at ManorCare—Elk Grove Village for 21 years. She makes a point of learning patients’ names, and they know hers. She takes pride in her work and is a stickler for detail. She instills her strong work ethic in the housekeeping staff she trains, which has led to a remarkable housekeeping team with excellent customer service scores. Her HRD holds her up in orientation as the example of how employees should respond to customer needs and concerns. She has a caring, positive attitude and goes out of her way to make sure patients are safe.

Lorna Downer

Certified Nursing Assistant

ManorCare Health Services—New Providence, New Jersey

Our first HCR ManorCare Champion of Caring is Lorna Downer, a certified nursing assistant at ManorCare Health Services in New Providence, New Jersey in our Atlantic Coastal Division. For a remarkable 34 years, Lorna has exemplified our helpful, caring and responsive commitment in providing quality care to our patients and residents. After many hard years of caring and supporting siblings as a surrogate mother in her native Jamaica, Lorna found her health care calling soon after arriving in America and training to become a CNA. Over her long tenure with our company, co-workers have recognized her dependability, energy and compassion. Patients and families have recognized her positive attitude, ever-present smile, and the sense of security and comfort she affords them. She has had to endure additional hardships, at no time did she waiver or change in the way she went about her calling as a hardworking, dedicated caregiver. She has served as a stellar role model for the young individuals starting their health care careers and aspiring to be quality caregivers.

Our Finalists

LeDrew Davis

Floor Tech

ManorCare Health Services—Allentown

Co-workers have trouble remembering a time when LeDrew did not have a smile on his face or cheerful hello in his time at ManorCare Health Services—Allentown, Pennsylvania. Patients note that they look forward to seeing him and that his daily greeting make their day. He is described as the type of person who will help anyone do anything just because he cares. LeDrew is a go-to person for nurses and aides who need the help he can provide, never afraid to roll up his sleeves to assist. He goes about his tasks with pride and a smile, the type employee everyone wishes for.

Michele Dieterich

Housekeeping Aide

Arden Courts of Westlake

In her nearly eight years with Arden Courts of Westlake, Ohio, Michele is described as a team player like no other. She is upbeat, kind and compassionate, and a wonderful representative of the HCR ManorCare values. While making residents’ rooms and the entire memory care center sparkle, she goes beyond with her versatility to assist residents with their meals, assist with programming, help with restocking and calm residents in need. Michele amazes with what she accomplishes and is the epitome of being helpful, caring and responsive in every way, every day.

Brian Keith Jinks

Physical Therapy Aide

ManorCare Health Services—Decatur

In his more than 14 years at ManorCare Health Services—Decatur, Georgia, Keith has been known for his gentleness, soft touch and ability to make patients feel special. He always has a smile for everyone, and takes the time to really get to know his patients and their families. He stays in touch with patients after their therapy and even follows up with them after discharge to see how they are getting along. Keith is exceptionally patient and kind and works with the center’s most challenging patients, often getting results when no one else can. He is first to volunteer for anyone needing help.

Chrissy Loose

Home Health Aide

Heartland Hospice of Davenport

In her three years with Heartland Hospice of Davenport, Iowa, Chrissy is celebrated for her commitment to Heartland, her team members and, most importantly, her patients. Patients and their families often single her out through thank you cards. Despite some transportation issues, Chrissy has achieved an enviable attendance record and has always made sure patients received the care and caring they needed. She never complains, and has been commended for her commitment and the spirited way she goes about her responsibilities.

Penny Roth

Housekeeping Aide

ManorCare Health Services—Florissant

In her 24 years with ManorCare Health Services—Florissant, Missouri, Penny has distinguished herself through her constant encouragement to patients, families and staff members, always with a warm smile and a positive attitude. She learns from patients by taking the time to get to know them and has thoughtful conversations with everyone she meets. Penny goes about her housekeeping tasks with the same vigor and thoroughness as if it were her own home and continuously receives recognition from family members for her outstanding customer service. The love and passion for her work have extended beyond the center to discharged patients and hosting community events.

Molly Hornaman

Physical Therapy Assistant

ManorCare Health Services—Aberdeen

Molly has been a respected therapist at ManorCare Health Services—Aberdeen, S.D. for 13 years. She is the center’s most requested therapist, moving among the various areas of the therapy department for both in-house patients and outpatients. Molly’s compassion, humor, personality and selfless acts are known by all. Her smile and the joy she displays each day are shared with patients and co-workers alike. She treats every patient with kindness and respect, and you won’t find one who doesn’t love her and her energy. She adds a special touch by regularly bringing in her dog Brinkley to visit with the center’s animal fans.

Stephanie Jenkins

Social Services Designee

ManorCare Health Services—Davenport

Stephanie’s 17 years with ManorCare Health Services—Davenport, Iowa have been distinguished by her heart-driven action to be helpful, caring and responsive. She has vision where others have blinders, a trait proving to be contagious with coworkers. Teamwork is a particular strength, as she helps patients get dressed and get to meals and therapies when employees call off. Her kindness and heart spill into the community as she works with shelters and pantries to assist homeless patients discharging from the center. A pillow and blanket are a gift from her to discharged patients, and she continues to help those who might have a need.

Sandy Millovich

Personal Care Med Tech

ManorCare Health Services—Elizabethtown

Sandy is one of the company’s senior employees, with 33 years of service at ManorCare Health Services—Elizabethtown, Pa. She is in tune with her patients and their conditions, which is a valuable assist to physicians rounding with their patients. She is a dedicated, caring individual who provides help, advice and learning moments to coworkers who are inspired by her hard work and kindness. Patients have commented on her ability to put herself in their shoes to truly understand their needs and how they would like to be treated. She is an exceptional and knowledgeable employee who is the “care” in caring.

Anthony Neiswonget

LPN Supervisor

Heartland of Uptown Westerville

Anthony has been a dedicated employee of Heartland of Uptown Westerville for four years. He is held in high regard by the facility management team, patients and residents, and family members. Coworkers have said Anthony goes above and beyond to meet the needs and requests of patients and family members. He remains calm under stress and always treats each patient with love, respect and patience. Family members similarly have commented on his calm and patience when a patient is having a bad day. He willingly steps in to assist when necessary to ease the stress of others’ daily responsibilities.

Edele Othelo

Certified Nursing Assistant

Heartland Health Care Center—Fort Myers

In her more than 12 years with Heartland Health Care Center—Fort Myers, Fla., Edele has distinguished herself as a compassionate and caring CNA. Working in the challenging Thalia dementia unit, she has developed a calming rapport with residents and families that testifies to her passion for dementia care. Family members know they can rest easy with their loved one in her care. She doesn’t let the strenuous nature of dementia care diminish her care and performance, even picking up extra shifts when there’s a need. She is described as an essential asset whose attention to detail provides comfort to residents and their families.

Susan Richards

RN Care Transition Nurse

Heartland Hospice—Brunswick

Susan’s nine years of service with Heartland Hospice—Brunswick, Ga. have involved endless hours helping caregivers and families through their loved ones’ final journey. Each hospice patient and caregiver experiences her outstanding customer service in all aspects related to communication and quality care. Families express that she brings special care physically and mentally that exceed all expectations. They recognize her genuineness and professionalism in putting patients and family members at ease. Her efforts extend widely including volunteering for Honor Flights to Washington, taking meals to hospice and family members on holidays, volunteering for projects in the community and working on last wish events.


Yvonne Cunningham

Resident Caregiver/Med Tech

Arden Courts of King of Prussia

Yvonne has been a celebrated caregiver at Arden Courts of King of Prussia, Pa. for 10 years. Although already credentialed in a variety of areas, she continues to advance her education. She moves easily among roles, and no job is too big or small. Yvonne brings a “wow” factor to the memory care center’s census culture that has been key to many move-ins. Her engaging personality has helped her house to remain fully occupied most of the time. She leads the center’s shadowing program and is a valued mentor. Yvonne is 100 percent about making the residents’ lives better and proof that one person can make a difference.

Gemmar Kaw

Nurse Supervisor RN/House Supervisor

ManorCare Health Services—Fountain Valley

Gemmar has been a calm and compassionate caregiving leader at ManorCare—Fountain Valley, California for 22 years. She is characterized by excellent critical thinking skills; knowledge of our clinical systems; and her responsive, positive can-do attitude. She can diffuse and resolve any customer concern with ease and has received numerous complimentary patient comment cards. This led to her being named the center’s Employee of the Year for 2016. She has shown that she knows what to do to mobilize and motivate the team in handling a wide variety of unexpected emergencies, and her smile and gentle touch win over confused and combative patients.

Cheryl Kramer

Certified Nurse Aide

Heartland Health Care Center—Knollview

Cheryl is one of our longest tenured employees, having worked at Heartland – Knollview, Michigan for more than four decades, starting barely out of high school. She revels in the simple successes patients achieve, such as being able to walk from the bed to the bathroom and back. She enjoys being part of helping patients get better. She has seen a lot of positive changes in the care we provide patients over that span. While she has seen a lot of change over her career, the one constant she has found is the importance of caring for people and the enjoyment it provides.

Angel Mills

Nurse Aide

Heartland of Springfield

Angel’s 20 years with Heartland of Springfield, Ohio have been characterized by getting to know patients and their families and providing personalized care. With a smile on her face, she encourages patients to work toward their goals. She is also a great role model for staff. She is known for investing her personal time to help provide patients meaningful life experiences, all while providing for her own special needs daughter. She makes the most difficult of skilled nursing center jobs look easy. Patients, staff and family members have recognized her selfless service many times over the course of her employment.

Patricia Pell


ManorCare Health Services—York North

For nearly 18 years, Trish has been an integral and essential member of the ManorCare—York North, Pennsylvania team. Over her career, she has excelled at teaching, training and guiding new nurse aides. More recently, her respectful, calm and composed demeanor has made her a proficient and skillful scheduler, one who is always willing to help employees on the floor instead of just sitting in her office. She is kind, flexible and willing to help with duties not her own, and has been recognized by family members as a compassionate caregiver, all leading to her being named the Pennsylvania Health Care Association’s Caregiver of the Year for 2017. 

Patricia Sajkowski

Administrative Services Assistant

Arden Courts of Allentown

Pat has been a true resident advocate at Arden Courts of Allentown, Pennsylvania since 2008. She is a cheerleader with an uplifting presence to sooth residents and their families during a challenging time. She takes the time to personally welcome each new resident and his or her family, and is able to strongly connect with them because her mother had been an Arden Courts resident. She assists overwhelmed family members by painstakingly labeling every piece of each resident’s clothing, and she delivers messages and hugs to residents when families are unable or too far away to visit.

Margaret Zilemba

Registered Nurse

Heartland of Austin

In her more than 11 years with Heartland of Austin, Texas, Maggie’s positive attitude has provided guidance and a helping hand to new employees. Her care and concern are the cornerstone of her mission to bring happiness to patients and families on a daily basis. She worked her way up from CNA to RN, and now as a supervisor and preceptor, uses clear communications to set expectations. Her eagerness to learn and teach has been part of the nursing team’s success in earning a 5-Star Rating in Quality Measures. Her role in training and leadership has aided employee retention.

Mirlande Amilcar

Registered Nurse Supervisor

ManorCare Health Services—King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Mirlande has been a steady presence for staff and family members on her unit at ManorCare—King of Prussia for 12 years. She is a natural leader who focuses on nursing basics and makes her job 100 percent about her patients. Early in 2017, she was recognized with an honorable mention for the Gwynedd Mercy University Nurse Excellence Award. Mirlande is committed to the health, safety and care of her patients and is known for her comforting way with family members and her guidance of nursing assistants. She exhibits every day the caring we seek in our staff.

Mike Garrison

Spiritual Care Counselor

Heartland Hospice—Fairview Heights, Illinois

Mike has been with Heartland Hospice for 14 years following a 20-year stint in the Air Force. He has worked through personal loss to mold an end-of-life calling based on compassion, honesty and dignity. Today, Mike is going through a terminal battle with pancreatic cancer at the same time his wife is dealing with terminal liver cancer, but he continues to help others through their end-of-life journey while on one of his own. He amazes his coworkers with his patient-focused dedication. Leading by example is an inspiration to his entire agency, the facilities he visits, and the patients and families he touches.

Darline Legentus

Resident Caregiver

Arden Courts of Ft. Myers, Florida

Darline has been caring for residents of Arden Courts of Ft. Myers for nearly five years. The way Darline goes about her daily responsibilities is a roadmap for guiding fellow employees on the helpful, caring and responsive path to resident and family member satisfaction. She is a strong advocate for the residents under her care, establishing rapport and respecting each as the individual he or she is. Darline projects calmness, even on the longest of days, and is humble in her approach, effecting a lasting and positive impression on all she encounters. A consummate team player, always willing to assist without being asked.

Maria Moors


ManorCare Health Services—Venice, Florida

Maria Moors has been with ManorCare—Venice for over 10 years. The smile on her face and in her voice is considered the center’s first and best impression for all those who enter. She is described by coworkers as vivacious, dependable, energetic and compassionate. Family members note that she has a special talent for relating to people, making you smile, even on the hardest of days. Maria takes to memory every patient, family member, staff member and community partner, showing attentiveness well beyond her receptionist duties. Her warm greetings have led to an enviable number of positive Care Line calls.

Jacqueline Nowak

Occupational Therapist

Heartland Health Care Center—Livonia, Michigan

Jacqueline has been providing therapy for patients at Heartland—Livonia for more than six years. Patients treated by her love her for her performance and commitment. Communication is a strong attribute, ensuring each patient is cared for, encouraging patients to reach their individualized goals and getting even the most reluctant of patients to come for their therapy sessions. Jacqueline is an instrumental part of Heartland—Livonia’s bariatric program. She is at the forefront in center fundraising and team-building events and has developed strong relationships with coworkers. Her sunny disposition and ever-present smile warmly welcome everyone. 

Pamela Shipe


ManorCare Health Services—Barberton, Ohio

Pam has been spreading the helpful, caring and responsive philosophy at ManorCare—Barberton for 28 years. She takes new staff under her wing, and coworkers view her as a mentor and friend. A bad day never shows for Pam, as she never complains. She doesn’t seek recognition for her work, but a patient has described her as having the biggest heart in the world. In 2016, she was honored as November’s Hero of Long-Term Care by the Ohio Health Care Association. Pam was born to take care of people, and it shows every day. She treats each as someone special.

Ruthie Williams

Laundry/Housekeeping Aide

ManorCare Health Services—Tacoma, Washington

Ruthie is a 10-year employee at ManorCare—Tacoma. Her upbeat, positive attitude has earned the respect of coworkers and patients alike, leading to multiple monthly Employee of the Month awards and Employee of the Year recognition. She is quick to help out wherever needed and always puts others before herself. Her presence is calming and soothing, and she is gifted at building trusting and meaningful relationships. Ruthie’s “can do” attitude and bright smile brighten the lives of everyone she encounters and model the behavior desired of every employee. Her warmth is a beacon welcoming all patients and family members.


Oralia (Sonia) Rodriquez

Housekeeping Aide

ManorCare Health Services—Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Sonia has been a caregiver at ManorCare—Elk Grove Village for 21 years. She makes a point of learning patients’ names, and they know hers. She takes pride in her work and is a stickler for detail. She instills her strong work ethic in the housekeeping staff she trains, which has led to a remarkable housekeeping team with excellent customer service scores. Her HRD holds her up in orientation as the example of how employees should respond to customer needs and concerns. She has a caring, positive attitude and goes out of her way to make sure patients are safe.

Michael Arthur

Dietary Aide

Village of Westerville Retirement Center, Ohio

Michael has been at the Village of Westerville Retirement Center for 20 years. He rides his bike to work, rain or shine, and until some significant health care issues worsened, never missed a day of work. He is a true leader in the dietary department, training new dining room employees with patience and a sunny disposition. Michael always goes out of his way to make sure he knows the likes and dislikes of the residents he serves.

Tanya Beaver

Home Health Aide

Heartland Hospice of Kenosha, Wisconsin

Tanya has been serving Heartland Hospice patients for a little over a year. Her paperwork is characterized by meticulous detail and accuracy, and always is turned in timely. She has been the subject of numerous complimentary Care Line calls and “Caught You Caring” cards. Facilities where our patients make their home ask for Tanya by name because they know they can always count on her. Her positive and uplifting attitude has led her to be chosen to head up her agency’s “Fun Committee” so she can pass along her exuberance to her agency coworkers.

Agnes Dabb

Nurse Supervisor

ManorCare Nursing & Rehab Center—Kingsford, Michigan

Agnes had been with ManorCare—Kingsford for nine years and in that time has been named her center’s monthly Champion of Caring four times and was named the center’s Champion of Caring for the year 2015. She advanced from CNA to RN and also serves as a nurse preceptor, providing excellent job training and support for new nurses. She often picks up shifts or remains past her shift and has filled in as a nurse’s aide in times of need. She has been mentioned in many post-discharge thank you cards, customer satisfaction surveys and patient testimonials. 

Renita Horne

Activities Assistant

ManorCare Health Services—Ruxton, Maryland

Renita has been with ManorCare—Ruxton for six years. She greets everyone she comes in contact with. Her skill with crafts and developing fun and stimulating programs has turned the memory care unit into a home for residents. She is the Ruxton cheerleader in planning and creatively decorating for special events and a morale booster with her goodies for staff and patient parties and fundraisers. She also oversees the beauty shop and helps train new hires. In addition, she has an eye and an ear for picking up on changes in patients’ conditions and passing the information on to medical staff.

Griselda Ruiz

Resident Caregiver/Med Tech

Arden Courts of Austin, Texas

Griselda has been with Arden Courts of Austin for 15 years, and in just about every one of those years, she has earned Employee of the Month recognition. She was the center’s 2014 Champion of Caring. She is one who genuinely cares about residents, and who often purchases little grooming items and treats for residents with her own money because she loves her residents and it makes her feel good. She is described by family members as highly competent, professional, compassionate, patient, extremely positive and always with a smile.