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2012 Award Winners
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2013 Awards Nomination Form


Congratulations to all of our 2012 Award Winners!

Volunteer of the Year Award

Andy Duff
Gambrill Gardens
Ellisville, Missouri


Andy Duff has been a resident of Gambrill Gardens since 2004. He is an incredible gentleman who shares of his time and talents generously with his peers at Gambrill as well as some very grateful older adults in the greater community.

Gambrill Gardens has benefited enormously through Andy’s gift of volunteerism. He has served on the Resident Association as Vice-President and currently serves as President. In 2011, he traveled to Jefferson City on behalf of our community to testify for Gambrill Gardens’ "Certificate of Need.” This certificate was necessary for Gambrill to obtain its Assisted Living License. This certificate was granted and Gambrill Gardens opened this program in the summer of 2012 allowing residents another option for care.

Early in 2011, Andy organized a fundraising campaign to replace the freezer in the Gambrill Garden’s Corner Sore and successfully raised $5,000 which paid for the freezer. Later that same year, he and another resident took over the community store as volunteer managers as it was on the verge of closing due to lackluster sales and participation. In just a few weeks, with their expertise and extreme dedication, they turned the store into a profitable operation carrying over 500 items. Because of their commitment to the community, the store thrives offering residents a convenient option to shop as well as another spot to socialize. The revenue generated from the store directly benefits Resident Services at Gambrill Gardens.

Every year, Gambrill Gardens conducts a "balloon liftoff” in celebration of National Older Americans Month. Three hundred balloons are launched with a message to contact Gambrill Gardens if found. In 2011, Gambrill Gardens received a package of handwritten letters from an Amish family in Michigan who found one of the balloons on their farm. Andy Duff pursued a relationship with the family through written correspondence which led to an invitation to their home in Hanover, Michigan. Andy served as a Gambrill Gardens Ambassador connecting his community with theirs. He collected funds from the residents and purchased school supplies for the one-room school in their community as well as bolts of fabric for clothing. Andy accepted the invitation and was able to deliver these donations in person.

Andy continues to be a beacon of light in his seemingly tireless efforts to serve others. His family and friends, along with the staff and residents of Gambrill Gardens, are in awe of him and believe he is a gift from Heaven that just keeps giving! We congratulate Andy Duff, LeadingAge Missouri’s Volunteer of the Year.

Employee of the Year – Environmental
Judy Gibbs
Friendship Village-Sunset Hills
St. Louis, Missouri


Judy Gibbs began at Friendship Village Sunset Hills in March 1980 as a housekeeping supervisor. In 1992, she became of the Director of Housekeeping, the position she maintains to this day.

Judy goes well beyond her job responsibilities of maintaining clean, sanitary and attractive facilities. She goes out of her way to welcome new residents and maintains close, warm relationships with all of the residents, responding quickly and enthusiastically to all of their requests. Judy participates in many of the social events, helping the Social Director with both in-house and off-campus activities. She spends many evenings and weekends at Friendship Village ensuring that all of the residents’ needs are met.

Judy’s staff has a special appreciation for her caring and kind manner. Her nurturing, fair and consistent management style is greatly admired and her staff happily perform their jobs to the high expectations that Judy has set. This is reflected by the low turnover rate in her department and the long years of service among her staff.

Judy is a leading proponent throughout the community of practicing standard precautions of infection control such as proper and thorough handwashing, SHARPS container education for diabetic residents and upkeep and training of hazardous communication, including MDS education.

Judy embodies all that is great about long-term care. She strives to make a difference for the older adults that Friendship Village serves through extraordinary dedication and commitment. Her service for our residents has no boundaries, as Judy happily does everything that she can to enrich their lives. She does this because she genuinely cares and that is why we congratulate Judy Gibbs, LeadingAge Missouri’s Employee of the Year in the Environmental category.

Employee of the Year – Management
Joan Devine
Lutheran Senior Services
St. Louis, Missouri

The impact of Joan’s work is clear within the Lutheran Senior Services organization and among those who are now living and working the Person-Centered Model of Care. Joan has been able to capture this essence in all aspects of the various levels of care; in particular as it relates to incorporating the professional nursing skills and behavior that will support the quality of life through quality of care.She has established both an education council for LSS nursing teams and a clinical skills assessment program for evaluating the skills necessary for producing the highest quality of care.

Joan has been and remains a leader in the older adult living community through her support of and promotion of the person-centered model of care throughout the state of Missouri. This is evidenced by Joan’s leadership as president of MC-5 and her pivotal role in bringing the 2011 Pioneer Network Conference to Missouri. This effort enabled some 300+ Missouri long-term care staff and surveyors to be immersed in person-centered care.

Joan implemented the CARES program within all LSS communities as a means of improving the care of dementia residents. She is spearheading the hospital re-admission task force at LSS to help reduce re-admissions, has developed the QAPI process at the LSS care centers, promoted the use of electronic health records and is a proponent of providing nursing with as many tools as technology can provide through developing strong vendor relationships.

Joan has carried her message of person-centered care to all parts of the organization. She firmly believes that this form of care is foundational for preserving the dignity well-being and independence of all LSS residents. She will continue to promote this and facilitate its implementation at all LSS communities well into the future and throughout the state of Missouri through her work with MC-5 where her work can affect thousands of lives.

We congratulate Joan Devine, LeadingAge Missouri’s Employee of the Year in the Management category.

E. Willis Piehl Award
Linda Detring
Lutheran Senior Services
St. Louis, Missouri


Linda Detring brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Senior Services . As Lutheran Senior Services continues to grow during her tenure, Linda works to ensure that measures taken for cost-effectiveness do not result in sacrificing quality. In heading the Operations Committee for the LSS Board of Directors, she has brought staff and professionals with various levels of expertise together so that sound decisions can be made for moving forward. Linda also instituted an Operations Council within LSS where executive directors from each CCRC, along with the executive directors for affordable housing and in-home services, can meet on a regular basis to share best practices and support one another.

Linda has become a pioneer for culture change, consistently casting the vision for person-centered care throughout Lutheran Senior Services and beyond. She is very aware that such a transformation does not happen overnight; therefore, she has seen to it that resources for supporting the necessary levels of change are made readily available at the various points along each LSS community’s journey.

As Linda looks to the future, she has begun an initiative for Operational Excellence by introducing Lutheran Senior Services to process improvement as a framework for increasing effectiveness through a systematic approach to evaluation and revision where necessary. As health care reform advances, Linda knows and understands the need for LSS to be at the table for dialogue regarding collaborative partnerships with hospitals and providers that will result in the highest quality of care at the very best value for older adults. With her background in hospital administration and through her professional connections, she is opening doors for new collaborations that will ultimately benefit seniors beyond those served through LSS programs.

Throughout Linda’s career, it is obvious that she is both an educator and a learner. She humbly acknowledges what can best be done by others, and then empowers them to achieve not for themselves but in the pursuit of serving others. She fully embraces the mission of Lutheran Senior Services, which is Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest. Linda is highly respected by so many because of her consistent, ethical, and just approach to people, situations, and ministry. As she mentors and leads, she demonstrates the mission each day by "serving others as Christ would serve them.”

Linda has placed her own imprint upon advancing the quality of care for older adults by teaching those around her to picture the faces of those we serve and to "do better.” Her approach to continuous learning, improvement, and change can be summed up in this quote often used by Linda as she shares her passion: "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better” (Maya Angelou).

We congratulate Linda Detring, LeadingAge Missouri’s 2012 E. Willis Piehl Award winner.

Distinguished Service Award
Matt Younger
Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
Jefferson City, Missouri

For the past three years, Matt has served as Administrator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Section for Long-Term Care Regulation. In this role, Matt has made numerous contributions to improving the quality of life for Missouri’s long-term care residents. One of the most significant contributions has been his support of the culture change movement.

Under Matt’s leadership, there has been an ongoing focus on increasing the level of knowledge and understanding of culture change as it pertains to Missouri’s long-term care surveyors. As a result, 66 surveyors attended the 2011 Pioneer Network national conference. No other state has come anywhere close to matching that number. In May 2012, 45 surveyors, including Matt, attended Missouri’s annual Culture Change Conference hosted by Missouri’s culture change coalition, MC5 (Missouri Coalition Celebrating Care Continuum Change). Matt’s involvement in this forum, and forums like this, is building stronger relationships between surveyors and providers who are focused on person-centered care. In addition, it is helping to break down barriers – real or perceived – that have been standing in the way of willingness on the part of some providers to pursue changes necessary for advancing person-centered practices.

Recognizing the benefits of the culture change movement to Missouri’s long-term care residents and the need for strong leadership from the state survey agency, in February 2011 Matt appointed Sam Plaster as the nation’s first ever State Culture Change Coordinator. This bold move has gained the attention and praise of culture change advocates nationwide. Sam provides culture change training and presentations to stakeholders throughout the state. He also visits long-term care homes and coordinates the Section’s Culture Change blog page. Through Matt’s leadership, Sam is provided the opportunity to work very closely with and provide support to MC5, including serving as Regulatory Advisor to the Board of Directors and as Regional Representative Coordinator. Currently, plans are being made to provide in-depth, small group, culture change training for all of the surveyors throughout the state.

Under Matt’s leadership, Missouri’s survey agency has gone from being a perceived hindrance to culture change to leading the charge and setting the standard, not only in Missouri but across the nation.

We congratulate Matthew Younger, LeadingAge Missouri’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award winner.

Excellence in Service Award
John Knox Village’s Associate Wellness Program – Village Wellness


Like many employers, John Knox Village has experienced multiple years of rising health insurance costs. These, combined with higher utilization of health care services by an aging workforce, placed them in a situation in which their health insurance provider proposed a 40% increase in their premiums. It was clear that this was beyond anything their budget could support, and they were determined not to pass those costs on to their associates.

To be excellent stewards of the money residents have invested with them, as well as being a fair and prudent employer, it was essential that they step off the beaten path and find a more creative solution to the problem. A multidisciplinary team of associates from all levels of the Village was formed to examine this problem from all angles and to propose a solution that would meet the financial needs of the organization and the associates and would, ultimately, lead to better health for all involved. Through much investigation and discussion, two key initiatives were put into place: John Knox Village chose to become self-insured and would launch a new associate wellness program, Village Wellness, aimed at developing a healthier workforce, and through their influence, healthier spouses and dependents, too.

In Village Wellness’s first 10 months of operation, there were 5,031 Wellness visits by associates and family – of these, 1,181 were for urgent care visits and 1464 were wellness coaching visits. Eight-seven of the repeat participants lowered their blood sugar levels, 89 reduced their weight and the number of people with zero risks grew from 33 to 48. WINS has calculated that the yearly impact for just the 245 associates enrolled in both 2011 and 2012 is more than $150,000. WINS estimates the cost avoidance through all facets of the program is in excess of one million dollars.

Following Village Wellness’ first full year of services, John Knox Village was named by the Kansas City Business Journal as "Kansas City’s Healthiest Employer” for 2012 (500-999 full-time employees category). They also were able to reward associates by announcing that there would be NO INCREASE in health insurance premiums in 2012 for those who met all of their Village Wellness requirements in 2011, because they helped lower health insurance utilization in 2011.

We congratulate John Knox Village’s Village Wellness program as LeadingAge Missouri’s 2012 Excellence in Service award winner.

Visionary Award
Bethesda Health Group
St. Louis, Missouri


Bethesda Health Group has spearheaded a mission to develop a first-of-its-kind data management solution designed to change the way vital information is captured and shared throughout the senior health care industry and its future acute care partners.

To ensure that Bethesda can meet the ever-changing demands of the growing senior population, they needed to be at the forefront of technology. Their data management solution helps them provide high-quality, efficient, cost-effective care, and is positioning Bethesda as an industry leader in a highly competitive marketplace. This, in turn, will directly address their goal of providing better health outcomes for our residents.

Establishing comprehensive electronic medical data software in the world of acute health care is nothing new. Within the senior health care industry, however, there is a serious lack of solutions that sufficiently address the intricate and complex health needs of today’s seniors while providing the ability for partnering with acute care providers in the upcoming ACO environment.

Our extended care solution collects important medical data and creates one detailed record for each individual senior, no matter how many or how few Bethesda services he or she has received. It helps in sharing seniors’ medical information with their hospitals and physicians, and ensures that Bethesda caregivers spend less time managing and disseminating data and more time taking care of their residents.

The solution supports facility operations from bed management to dining logistics and referral processes. Billing is also seamless, as medical records and associated care plans are fully integrated into the federal MDS 3.0 assessments that drive revenue cycle management.

Bethesda’s extended care solution not only represents the future of senior care technology, it highlights their passion and mission to provide seniors with the absolute best care possible.

We congratulate Bethesda Health Group, LeadingAge Missouri’s 2012 Visionary Award winner.


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