If you notice a little more spring in the step of Commonwealth Senior Living staffers this week, it’s certainly not due to the weather. The group last week broke out the old pineapple sunglasses and celebrated winning Executive Director of the Year, Dining Services Director of the Year and Best Community Service awards.
“This is a first for us winning the Community Service Award. In our company they normally do executive director of the year and sales and marketing director of the year and resident care director of the year or nurse of the year. As a company, this year, they decided to incorporate all the departments,” said Executive Director Kayla Crowder. “I was surprised but we are very competitive. We look to do this again next year.”
She said the formal announcement was made at the Company’s awards banquet in Charlottesville. The three-day conference was held on March 27-29. Crowder said organizers decided to “mix it up” at the annual conference and created the best community award. Crowder credited the success to the caring spirit of employees and of Carroll County.
“Part of the reason we won is the amount of money we were able to raise for ‘Commonwealth Cares,’ which is the organization that helps our employees if they every get into financial trouble,” Crowder said. “Part of winning the award was we raised more than $6,000 last year for this. We did this from luncheons and silent auctions the public participated in. So it was not only an award for us but for this area, which helped us win the award by helping us raise the money.”
Crowder prefaced a meal celebrating the honors by telling staffers she felt “very blessed” to work with them all every day. She said this positive energy “perks” in all directions for both the facility and Carroll Countians. Crowder said this dovetails nicely with Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to involve residents with the community. Dining Services Director Kristin Kennedy-Shortt said she was caught off guard by her award.
“Yes, I was surprised. I didn’t even really even know this award was something they were doing this year until Kayla said we nominated you but we don’t know the results yet,” Kennedy-Shortt recalled. “This is the first year they’ve done this award and when I found out, it was exciting. I think the most exciting thing for me though was getting to go to the banquet where they presented the awards and getting to be there when Kayla accepted her award as well. I was thinking on the way back, ‘Man, I can’t believe I won this and I was like oh my gosh I can’t believe Kayla won this either.’ It was great. Just to see the look on her face when she won was priceless.”
Kennedy-Shortt said she loves her job, and winning the award, personally, was not about validation but is all about service to others.
“I’ve been in the restaurant industry for a long time but going from managing a winery on the Parkway to Commonwealth Senior Living was a big change,” Kennedy-Shortt said. “This is my first experience with the health care industry. It’s a very rewarding job. It changes the way you think. You’re here and when you see the smiles on people’s faces when they get a hot meal and they are excited to see you when you come back from vacation….that means something. It’s definitely a life-changing job change for me. It’s been a good change for sure.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.