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Nominees announced for WHCA's Shining Star award

(From left) Stacey Geraets, Diane Hines and Joelle Westerberg

Submitted by Plum City Care Center

Each year, the Wisconsin Health Care Association asks nursing homes and assisted living facilities to nominate one of their caregivers for the "Shining Star" award. This award represents employees who go above and beyond in their roles as caregivers as well as in their community. These individuals enhance the image of long term care inside and outside of the facility, always striving to improve the quality of care for residents.

Plum City Care Center and the Seasons Assisted Living nominated the following individuals:

Diane Hines

Some may think that working nights at a nursing home is a "cushy" job. After all, everyone is asleep, right? However, nights are often as chaotic and challenging as any other time of day! While most of us are tucked snuggly into bed, night nurse Diane Hines is busy keeping things in order, calming distressed residents, assisting staff, along with organizing and preparing necessary items for the next day.

Hines has proven to be a good leader in many areas. Her compassion for people and dedication to her job is evident not only in her excellent care of residents, but also in her relationship with co-workers. They will tell you she is always available to assist in anyway — anytime. Diane has an infectious sense of humor and her encouragement and support to the nursing assistants keeps morale high. Her rapport with staff carries over to her community as a long-time resident of Plum City, and a great representative of the Care Center and its values.

Stacey Geraets

Although Stacey Geraets has only been with PCCC a little over a year, during these past few months we realized that we truly discovered a gem!

Geraets is part of the Activity Department, bringing life and vitality to each activity she leads. People are her passion and seniors hold a special place in her heart. She has been an activity assistant since her early teens, bringing joy to seniors through her precious sense of humor and beautiful singing voice.

She touches the lives residents with kindness, always having time for that quiet, shy individual or spending quality time with the most challenging of residents. She is able to turn a sometimes stressful resident to smiles and laughter with her infectious laugh and quick wit.

As a farm wife, she relates well to many folks who come from a rural background. In fact, her country roots have led her to implement and host an annual corn maze for community children each of the past 10 years — free of charge! She entertains families with skits, music, prizes, and candy rewards along with the maze each Sunday in October.

We knew from the start that Geraets would be a valuable asset to our team, but her singing ability is an added benefit. You can find her gently encouraging even the most reserved resident into singing karaoke! Sing-a-longs are always a hit and she isn't afraid to try anything.

As an employee, Geraets demonstrates compassion and thoughtfulness to her co-workers, always has a listening ear and thinks the best of everyone. Family members admire Geraets and her attentiveness to their loved ones. She communicates well with families and always relates any of their concerns to management. We look forward to many years with her as an integral part of the team.

Joelle Westerberg

In a workplace where there's never a dull moment, and every day brings surprises, it's comforting to staff and residents alike to have someone in place such as Joelle Westerberg. She remains calm and stable at those times when residents are scared, lonely, or agitated while maintaining the workings of the facility itself.

Westerberg has always been a dependable employee in the nine years she's been with the Seasons Assisted Living facility. Residents will tell you that she makes this building their home with simple touches such as baking cookies, attending to specific needs, and always having a listening ear. She goes above and beyond duties that are asked of her, never questioning and always remaining respectful. Westerberg works well with others being flexible with shifts and willing to fill in for others' absences.

She maintains that composure with the families of residents who rely on her, and who have put their trust in her caring for their loved ones. Family members will state how comfortable they are with her presence here, bringing quality care to residents, and in turn, a better quality of life.