On Thursday evening, the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana hosted their Annual Forever Society Dinner to honor and present various awards to dedicated staff members and volunteers.
“This is our annual celebration of the past year's accomplishments. It gives us an opportunity for us to come together and honor some of our staff and volunteers for the contributions they gave to the agency over the past year,” stated Maria Galka, the Director of Development for the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana.
Many committed hands helped plan and put on this event to make it a great and successful dinner and ceremony.
“It is a lot of planning, but we have great leaders with great ideas. It is a cooperative effort; a lot of people in the agency helped put on this event together,” said Galka.
Not only were dedicated staff and volunteers recognized at the evening's award dinner, but also those who help out graciously through donations to the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana.
“We celebrate not only our staff and volunteers but also our donors. We give awards for several different things, including awards of recognition for the number of years employees have been with us, as well as scholarships,” said Ann O’Heir, the President, and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana.
The awards ranged from the caregiver of the year to physician of the year, with special awards, like the Wind In Our Sails Award, that was awarded to an individual who provided exponential service to the VNA.
This year's Wind In Our Sails Award was given to Lynda Krueger, who has dedicated over 4,000 volunteer hours over a total of 24 years with the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana.
“I just think that you have to give back to the community. If I can help someone through the dying process, either with their family members, by talking to them or simply holding somebody’s hand… it is all worth it,” said Lynda Krueger, Visiting Nurse Association Volunteer.
The VNA Hospice Volunteer of the Year award was given to an individual who provided distinguished service at a high level. Carol Hubbard was selected and honored with this award for her service in making and delivering over 150 red, white, and blue afghan throws for veteran patients.
Carol dedicated many hours, dollars, and trips to multiple Joann Fabric stores around the area to gather supplies for making these afghan throws.
“I made 156 afghan blankets. Joann Fabrics was where I had gotten all of my supplies from. I have gone to the stores in Schererville, Merrillville, Plymouth, and even Florida to gather these supplies… just all over,” exclaimed Carol Hubbard, Volunteer for the Visiting Nurse Association.
In addition to the Wind In Our Sails and Volunteer of the Year, a handful of other awards and scholarships were recognized.
Listed below is the full list of the awards and award recipients given out at the VNA Annual Recognition Dinner:
- June McCort Companion of the Year Award: Karen Higble
- VNA Caregiver of the Year: Ruth Earnhart
- VNA Support Staff of the Year: Michele Krueger
- Wind In Our Sails Award: Lynda Krueger
- Tricia Marie Simpson Russell, RN “Good Nurse of the Year”: Melissa Plavsa, FNP-BC, ACHPN
- VNA Hospice Volunteer of The Year: Carol Hubbard
- Tricia’s Scholarship: Julie Lara, Riley Wayco, & Kailee VanNieulande
- VNA Physician of the Year: Thomas Browne, MD, MBA
- Staff Service Awards, 5 years: Claudia Kuzemka, LCSW
- Staff Service Awards, 10 years: Patricia Downey, R.N., Michelle Olson, PHR, & Amanda Rodriguez, R.N.
- Staff Service Awards, 15 years: Rudelle Crowley & Diane White, R.N.
- Staff Service Awards, 25 years: Tammy Csmereka, R.N.
For more information on The Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Indiana, click here!