The Ceca Foundation Announces the Caregiver of the Year Awards | News

The Ceca Foundation honored three extraordinary caregivers with its eighth annual Ceca Caregiver of the Year Award, including one from Conway. The recipients were April Eckman, Don Okusaga and Rick Price.

Eckman is a patient and guest representative at Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway. She was honored to have gone out of her way for an elderly couple who arrived a day early for surgery. With nowhere to stay, April found them a hotel and drove them there that night, as they were unfamiliar with the area and uncomfortable with driving.

She then showed up the next morning to take them back to the hospital and even took the time to print out directions to get home. Eckman personifies Baptist Health’s mission to treat everyone with integrity, respect, and compassion.

Okusaga is a licensed practical nurse at Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home in Washington, DC. He was honored for all the special deeds he does every day for the residents – from having after-hours snacks; serving food; encourage reluctant residents to go to bed on time. The call lights seem to come on after Don clocks in for the day, but he doesn’t hesitate and does it all with a smile.

He has a great sense of humor and even sings and dances for the residents, participating in fashion and talent shows. He says yes to just about everything – as long as “it’s for the residents”.

Price is a chaplain at West Virginia Caring in Elkins, WV. He was recognized for his peaceful demeanor and the comfort he brought to hospice patients, families and the staff who worked with him. You can count on him for support, any time of the day or night. He even volunteered to expand his duty area to cover another chaplain with travel distances of up to 200 miles. Still, he makes time for his patients, sometimes even texting spiritual verses for an RN to read to a patient in need of comfort. He often emails and texts from the road to bring peace to staff and his family members. He does all of this with good humor, selflessness and a gracious attitude.

Each recipient of the Caregiver of the Year award receives an engraved commemorative trophy and a $2,500 scholarship. Most importantly, all are celebrated by their fellow team members, patients, families and the Ceca team in their respective healthcare communities and nationally.

“Each of these caregivers has had a profound impact on those they serve,” said Nate Hamme, President of the Ceca Foundation. “Often, the “small” acts of care make a big difference. For April, Don and Rick, the simple act of connecting personally with members of their community is inspiring and transforming people’s lives.

Ceca’s Caregiver of the Year award recipients are selected for this highest honor from the pool of previous year’s Ceca award winners across its entire network of healthcare partners. From this elite group, the Foundation also recognized nine finalists:

Modupe Akinola, RPN/professional nurse at Stoddard Baptist Global Care, Washington, DC.

Kenesha Beckford, a caregiver in Arosa-Chicagoland, Illinois.

George Bridges, maintenance technician at Goodwin House, Alexandria, Virginia.

Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Spring County, Arkansas office representative Casey Caradine.

Devante Foreman, Housekeeping and Resident Life Associate at Providence Place Senior Living, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Stephanie Hartwick, LPN office nurse at Baptist Health Medical Center-Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Penny Isaac, caregiver in Arosa, Houston, Texas.

Michelle Stull, housekeeping manager at Providence Place Senior Living, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Charita Wells, activities assistant at Carroll Manor Nursing Home, Washington, DC.

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