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Champion 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.

2017 Fourth Quarter Champion of Caring

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.

2017 Fourth Quarter Finalists

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.