Heroes Work Here
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a multitude of challenges the world over. These challenges have been felt especially by the frontline workers in the long-term care, home health, hospice, and home care industries who provide care for our vulnerable elderly population. In addition to developing a plan to support and keep our employee-owners, residents, and patients safe, we wanted to give back and let our employee-owners on the frontlines know that they are valued members in our family of healthcare companies.
In May 2020 we launched our Healthcare Heroes campaign to recognize employee-owners who have gone above and beyond to care for residents, support team members, and demonstrate our Core Values of Integrity, Dedication, and Empathy.
Healthcare Heroes are nominated each week by their fellow employee-owners. Each month, Healthcare Heroes from each division in EmpRes Healthcare and Eden Health will be shared here and on our Facebook pages, @EmpResHC and @EdenHealthServices. At the end of the year, an Annual Healthcare Hero will be selected from all of the nominations throughout the year and receive an end-of-year Healthcare Hero Award.
May 2020 Healthcare Heroes
May 2020 - NV
Julie is the Director of Nursing Services (DNS) at Mountain View Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carson City, NV. Always juggling multiple jobs with a smile, Julie was nominated as a Healthcare hero for consistently going above and beyond for the residents and staff at Mountain View. Julie’s career in healthcare began as a CNA at a long-term care facility while she was in high school. Julie has worked for EmpRes for 4 years and enjoys the familial and supportive culture within the company.
May 2020 - Eden Hospice
Barry is a Hospice Spiritual Counselor for Eden Hospice in Safford, AZ. Barry is a natural leader who loves helping people to the best of his ability. Barry’s career in healthcare began with Eden 2 years ago when the Safford office was opened. Before that, Barry’s desire to help others has lead him around the globe being a horse whisperer in Italy, serving as a missionary in the military, and volunteering as a pastor and school bus driver in Morenci, AZ. Barry enjoys being a part of the EmpRes family because we provide quality care for patients and their families in a time of great need.
May 2020 - Eden Home Health
Gira is the Executive Director at the Eden Home Health office serving King County, WA. Gira graduated with an MBA in Healthcare Management and started at Eden just shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Without hesitation, Gira jumped in and never once shied away from taking on tough challenges and solving problems in a timely manner. Gira’s career in healthcare began in India where she graduated from PT school. Upon moving to the United States, she worked her way up from being a PTA to a PT, and eventually joined the Eden team. Gira appreciates the warm welcome and support she has received from both her team and Eden’s leadership.
May 2020 - CA/OR/SWWA
Erica is the Executive Director at La Grande Post Acute Rehab in La Grande, OR. Erica is looked up to by many because of her tenacity and ability to lead during challenging times. After retiring from the military, Erica was inspired to begin a career in healthcare because of her mother who worked in long-term care for over 30 years. Erica enjoys having the opportunity to impact the lives of everyone that she works with and cares for each day. Erica also enjoys how EmpRes employee-owners are truly committed to working together as a family. From day 1 Erica has felt supported by her team, stating that “Everyone in this company is really here to ensure that everyone succeeds.”
June 2020 Heroes
June 2020 - Eden Home Health
Melissa Cartagena is the Clinical Manager at Eden Home Health in Reno, NV. A life-long advocate for helping others and making a positive impact, Melissa decided to change her career path from construction to healthcare several years ago. After working at a few hospitals, Melissa joined Eden Home Health in 2018 and has since helped the Reno Agency thrive in face of daily challenges thanks to her constant positive support and managerial advice. In the words of Melissa’s team, “Melissa is here for us professionally and personally, and that’s unsurpassed. Yep, we all love her! The best of the best!”
June 2020 - Eden Hospice
Al Vacek is a Chaplain providing spiritual care and support to patients and caregivers at Eden Hospice in Carson City, NV. Always looking for ways to promote the best patient outcomes, Al is ever-ready to help those in need – even jumping in to help sister Eden agencies when dealing with complicated grief issues. Al has been with Eden since 2015 and enjoys working with his team who believe that his consistently positive and uplifting attitude represents the best of Eden Health.
June 2020 - Eden Home Health
Lara Penrose is the Clinical Manager at Eden Home Health in Sandpoint, ID. Lara’s leadership, consistency, and ability to represent the Eden Sandpoint agency and clinicians has been an enormous boon to the agency – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having worked as an RN for 15 years and in Home Health for 4 years, Lara loves helping people and contributing to the health of her community. Lara feels privileged to be a nurse, caregiver to her community’s elderly population, and to be a part of Eden Home Health and EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies.
June 2020 - Eden Home Health
Kalyn is the Clinical Manager at Eden Home Health in Sierra Vista, AZ. Praised by her team for her leadership skills, friendliness, and compassion, Kalyn has been instrumental in the agency’s transition from Legacy to Eden, as well as preventing staff burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kalyn chose a career in healthcare because it enabled her to combine her love of helping people with her passion for health science and education. Kalyn loves being a part of the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies because of the camaraderie, resources, and overall feeling of community support that it provides.
July 2020 Heroes
July 2020 - NV
Amy is a Social Worker extraordinaire and family, psych, and hospice liaison via telehealth at Mountain View Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carson City, NV. Since childhood, Amy had a passion to go into healthcare and her dedication to helping others is certainly reflected in the praise she receives from the families and guardians she helps on a weekly basis. Amy has been with EmpRes for a year and a half and loves how family-oriented EmpRes is. Outside of work, Amy loves to cook, bake, and spend time with her family.
July 2020 - CA/OR/SWWA
Mike is our Maintenance Manager at Heartwood Avenue Healthcare in Vallejo, CA, as well as our Regional Maintenance Director for our California division. A long-time EmpRes employee-owner of 11 years, Mike is described by his coworkers as dedicated, dependable, and very caring and supportive of all residents and staff. Mike went into healthcare because he wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Mike loves the work he does and believes EmpRes’ Commitment to Caring is second to none in the industry. When not at work, Mike enjoys taking long drives up the northern California coast and relaxing on the beach.
July 2020 - Eden Home Health
Teresa is the Clinical Manager at Eden Home Health in Spokane, WA. Despite being new to our Family of Healthcare Companies, Teresa quickly garnered admiration from her team for her incredible compassion, perseverance, and adaptability. Teresa knew early on that she wanted to be a nurse. Starting in housekeeping, she worked her way up through kitchen staff, to being a CNA, LPN, and finally an RN. Teresa loves working with her team at Eden Home Health and leads an active lifestyle with her friends and family outside of work.
Laura De La Torre
July - 2020 Eden Hospice
Laura is in charge of Community Relations at Eden Hospice in Safford, AZ. Laura maintains relationships with referral sources and provides emotional support during the transition process from hospital to hospice. Laura’s career began 12 years ago in retail and event marketing. She eventually transitioned over to healthcare marketing, as it aligned better with her personal values. Having grown up close to her grandparents, Laura has always enjoyed helping others and had a passion for senior care. Laura loves the corporate structure with supportive resources and quality standards that Eden has to offer, while still maintaining the feel and atmosphere of a family business. Outside of work, Laura spends much of her time with her family and enjoys coloring and cutting hair for the elderly community.
August 2020 Heroes
August 2020 - Eden Home Care
Machela is a new CNA providing Home Care services for Eden Home Care in Safford, AZ. Machela chose a career in healthcare because it enables her to make a positive impact in the lives of her patients. For Machela, it means the world knowing that she can help her patients with everyday things that we sometimes take for granted. It may be just the little things, but eventually, the little things add up.
Machela hopes to one day become an RN and continue her journey helping people. She loves the support that she continues to receive at Eden Health, saying “everyone on the team is just always willing to help no matter what it is and with the kindest manner”. When she’s not working, Machela can be found hiking with her family and two Queensland Heelers up in the mountains, spending time with her younger siblings, and watching movies.
August 2020 - MT/SD/WY
Rhonda is the Business Office Manager (BOM) at Rawlins Rehabilitation and Wellness in Rawlins, WY. Warmly known as “Mama Rhonda” by her team, Rhonda is looked up to for her ability to cheerfully navigate the challenges of her dynamic role in daily operations, all the while checking in with staff, residents, and families. Rhonda’s career as a BOM began 18 years ago with the encouragement of her daughter, who was a CNA at the time.
Taking care of people and working with families are a big part of why Rhonda loves her job. Rhonda’s coworkers, whom she considers her extended family, are another reason she has been with Rawlins since 2002. Family-oriented both in and out of work, Rhonda enjoys spending her spare time with her husband, 3 grown children, and 5 grandchildren, and having long phone conversations with her mother every Saturday. Family and friends are what keep Rhonda happy and living life to the fullest!
August 2020 - Eden Home Health
Cheryl is the Executive Director of Eden Home Health and Eden Hospice in Sierra Vista, AZ as well as Eden Home Health and Eden Hospice in Safford, AZ. Lauded for tackling numerous daily challenges head-on, Cheryl’s guidance, wisdom, and tenacity are an amazing asset to Eden Health, and by extension, the EmpRes Family of Healthcare Companies as a whole.
Cheryl was inspired to begin a career in healthcare while caring for her daughter who underwent several lengthy hospital stays in early childhood. Starting her career as a field nurse, Cheryl gradually moved up to become a Clinical Manager, Director of Nursing (DON), and finally Executive Director – a position she has held for 6 years now.
Eden’s familial work culture and tight-knit team support across the EmpRes Family have been invaluable to Cheryl since joining Eden. Family is incredibly important to Cheryl, devoting the majority of her spare time to her parents and children first and foremost.
September 2020 Heroes
September 2020 - WA/ID
Colette is the Director of Nursing Services (DNS) at Highland Health and Rehabilitation in Bellingham, WA, a small 44-bed skilled nursing facility in the south end of town near the mountains. Colette is a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and the long-term healthcare industry, having started out as a CNA back in 1998. In 2014 Colette moved to Washington and joined the EmpRes family as an RCM at Alderwood Park Health and Rehabilitation. After some time working at the Whatcom County Jail and working as an ADNS in Anacortes, Colette eventually made her way back to EmpRes as a DNS at Highland in 2018.
Colette is always encouraging her staff and takes the time to recognize the contributions of each of her teammates, no matter their job title. The Highland team praises Colette’s leadership skills, compassion, and dedication to lifting everyone up and inspiring them to do their best. These sentiments reflect Colette’s reasons for choosing a career in healthcare – she absolutely loves being a nurse and helping people, no matter the capacity she is in. It goes without saying that we are extremely grateful to have Colette in the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies!
September 2020 - Eden Home Health
Sandy is our QA Nurse at Eden Home Health – Sandpoint, ID. Sandy was nominated as Healthcare Hero for her consistently positive attitude in the face of daily challenges, as well as her unwavering dedication to the quality of care provided to the agency’s patients.
Like many who choose a healthcare career path, Sandy always had a strong desire to take care of people. Sandy initially planned on working in pediatrics, but eventually transitioned over to geriatric care. Throughout her career, Sandy has held a number of roles including a home health nurse, RN Supervisor, ICU Nurse, Charge Nurse. Sandy began as a QA Nurse and part-time Field Nurse for AFS Home Health 6 years ago, which was acquired by Eden Health last year. Since then, Sandy’s role evolved into being a full-time QA/CM Nurse at the agency. Sandy enjoys the support and continuing education available to her through the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies.
Outside of work, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband, five children, and four grandchildren. Sandy is an avid reader, piano player, and traveler – often making use of her days off to get out and explore as much as possible.
September 2020 - CA/OR/SWWA
Melma is the Director of Nursing Services (DNS) at Heartwood Avenue Healthcare in Vallejo, CA. Melma has been the DNS at Heartwood for thirteen years. Melma’s expertise and willingness to learn has helped Heartwood nursing staff continually learn and grow under her tenure at the center.
Prior to working at Heartwood, Melma was a Director of Staff Development and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Melma also has done a bit of globe-trotting, having been an Operating Nurse in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. Melma attributes much of her success as a DNS to her wide range of professional experience, as well as the love and support from the team at Heartwood Avenue Healthcare.
Melma enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling. She considers music to be her primary stress-reliever, occasionally playing the piano in the Heartwood activity room. We are that Melma has been a part of the EmpRes Family all these years, and we eagerly look forward to what she will continue to accomplish at Heartwood for many more years to come!
October 2020 Heroes
October 2020 - MT/SD/WY
Amanda is a treatment nurse at Riverview Healthcare in Flandreau, SD. Always willing to lend a hand around the Center, Amanda also regularly fills in as a med nurse, charge nurse, and CNA wherever needed.
Taking inspiration from her own grandfather’s time in a nursing home, Amanda chose to go into healthcare to help provide quality care for others. Initially hired on as a med, treatment, and charge nurse, Amanda has been with EmpRes for 2 years now. When asked what her favorite thing about being a part of the EmpRes Healthcare Family, Amanda had this to say: “The name says it all – Family – everyone is treated like family”.
October 2020 - Eden Home Care
Kendall is a Case Manager at the Eden Home Care Agency in Bellingham, WA. Always stepping up when needed, and consistently maintaining a positive attitude, Kendall helps keep her team’s morale high while providing quality care for her patients.
Kendall comes from a family of healthcare professionals, so going into healthcare herself was a natural fit. While working as a full-time Case Manager for Eden, Kendall is also in school for pre-nursing and looks forward to learning as much as she can in each department and using that as an opportunity to bridge Home Care and Home Health.
Kendall firmly believes that EmpRes is one of the best companies in the long-term care industry due to EmpRes being employee-owned with upper management that has been through the trenches. Kendall also applauds the conscious effort to keep everyone connected – to Kendall, It is a constant reminder of the intertwined web of family that we are, especially during such a socially-distant and difficult time.
October 2020 - CA/OR/SWWA
Marilyn wears multiple hats in Medical Records, IT, CNA, and more at Heartwood Avenue Healthcare in Vallejo, CA. Marilyn’s willingness to help out and genuine care for her teammates and residents alike earned her the nomination of Healthcare Hero.
Marilyn is passionate about taking care of people, and so in 2009 she decided to turn her passion into a career in healthcare. Marilyn initially started as an intern at Springs Road Healthcare while in school for Medical Billing. Upon graduating, Marilyn was hired at Heartwood and has been there ever since, expanding her Medical Billing knowledge, ICD 9/10 Coding, and even getting her CNA license along the way.
When asked what she enjoys most about being in the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies, Marilyn cited the opportunity for advancement and education, as well as the feeling that no one gets left behind. In turn, we wholeheartedly believe that these benefits are thanks to the selfless and talented employee-owners like Marilyn who are the foundation of our EmpRes Family.
November 2020 Heroes
November 2020 - Eden Home Health & Hospice
A seasoned healthcare industry worker of 15 years, Cindy has been a part of the EmpRes Healthcare Family under Eden since 2016. Cindy appreciates the connectivity that the EmpRes Family has to offer. Whenever she has questions or needs help, there’s always someone available to provide assistance.
Outside of work, Cindy enjoys gardening, yard work, and hitting the trails in her Jeep.
November 2020 - Eden Home Health
Audrey Brocker is an LPN Coordinator at our Eden Home Health Agency in Bellingham, WA. Audrey handles wound orders, making doctor’s office calls, putting together care packets, and more!
Audrey wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a child. Having started as a floor nurse at one of our Skilled Nursing Facilities, Audrey eventually transitioned over to Home Health, as it was an exciting opportunity for her to continue learning more about nursing while being at the forefront of Eden Health’s growth.
Audrey loves the people she works with, the opportunity for career advancement, and the educational opportunities that the EmpRes Healthcare Family provides. When off work, Audrey loves to spend time with her family, including her grandkids and pets.
November 2020 - Eden Home Health, Home Care, and Hospice
Sarah is the Intake Coordinator (IC) at our Eden Home Health Agency in Sierra Vista, AZ, as well as Eden Home Care and Eden Hospice in Safford, AZ. Sarah strives to be her best each and every day, with astonishing attention to detail and following up with all patient needs including matching patients with doctors and coordinating Telehealth visits.
Sarah is passionate about helping others and her career in healthcare, as it empowers her to make a positive difference in the lives of the patients she works with. For Sarah, it is an honor to be able to help patients understand and successfully navigate the ever-changing healthcare system.
When asked what she loves about being a part of the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies, Sarah cited the excellent leadership, teamwork, and support that she experiences daily. “It’s never a dull day! Everyone puts in 100% and we get the job done and most days we do it while smiling or laughing! We haven’t let COVID get us down!”
Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and three dogs.
December 2020 Heroes
December 2020 - Eden Home Health
Tammy is the Business Office Manager (BOM) at our Eden Home Health Agency in Bellingham, WA. Having been with Eden for 4 years, Tammy started out as a Payroll Coordinator and quickly moved up to her current position of Business Office Manager. Tammy loves how close-knit her Agency is as a team, as well as the flexibility and support provided by Eden Health, and by extension the EmpRes Healthcare Family. In her spare time, Tammy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and getting outside and enjoying the fresh air whenever she is able.
January 2021 Heroes
January 2021 - Eden Home Health
Jenni is our QA at 414-Eden Home Health in Carson City, NV. Happily working as an RN for 37 years now, Jenni has been a part of Eden Health since July 2014, bringing with her a wealth of experience in home health going back to 1992!
Jenni feels right at home with Eden Home Health and loves working with her Eden team members from senior management teams to local management teams, EHR team members, intake and billing, OASIS transmission, and all of her local co-workers. Outside of work, Jenni lives a very active life and enjoys spending time with her spouse, 5 dogs, playing drums and guitar, photography and traveling.
January 2021 - MT/SD/WY
Starla is the receptionist and health unit coordinator (HUC) at Fountain Springs Healthcare Center in Rapid City, SD. Starla is the first point of contact for all staff and visitors who walk through the door, and she always greets everyone with a warm welcome. Starla is willing to jump in and help out where she is needed and always has an upbeat attitude. She is truly helpful and appreciated in so many ways!
Starla is a life-long healthcare worker, having started as a nursing assistant at the VA in Sioux Falls, SD. Starla loves the elderly and has always enjoyed taking care of them and learning from them. Starla enjoys the company newsletters that are set out from our VSO headquarters, and she enjoys the friendly and open corporate office culture that encourages communication and collaboration across all of our locations. Likewise, the team at Fountain Springs, and by extension, our EmpRes Healthcare, are very grateful to have Starla as a part of our Family!
March 2021 Heroes
March 2021 - Eden Hospice
Jennifer is both the MSW and Volunteer Coordinator for Eden Home Health and Eden Hospice in Sierra Vista, AZ. Jennifer trains and mentors new MSWs, and has even traveled to Safford and Tucson to do visits with them. She has done all of this with a smile on her face.
Jennifer went into healthcare because it combines her love of the geriatric community with her desire to work for her local community. As someone who loves a challenge, healthcare seemed like the best way for Jennifer to help others while challenging and improving herself.
Jennifer loves being part of the Eden family because she feels genuinely appreciated. The people Jennifer works alongside feel like a family rather than coworkers, and she never felt happier at work than she does now with her teammates.
March 2021 - MT/SD/WY
Kelly is the Social Services Director at Fountain Springs Healthcare Center in Rapid City, SD. As the Social Services Director, Kelly works tirelessly to ensure safe discharges for our short-term rehab patients, as well as provide counseling and support to residents and their families. She is able to speak hard truths with compassion when dealing with difficult situations.
Following in her parents’ footsteps, Kelly is a 2nd generation healthcare worker. The industry and work environment just feels “right” to her. Having worked in the industry for 9 years now, Kelly enjoys getting to know the residents and families and becoming a part of their lives.
Kelly loves the close-knit team at Fountain Springs, having been through many challenges and emerging triumphantly on the other side. She enjoys the encouragement and support that is given from the top down starting at the VSO, stating “feeling that you matter and are valued goes a long way”.
Outside of work, Kelly enjoys spending time in the Black Hills hiking, boating, or floating on the lake. She has a dog named Gatsby and loves spending time with friends, family, reading, cooking, and gardening.
April 2021 Heroes
April 2021 - Eden Hospice
Amber is an RN at Eden Hospice in Safford, AZ. Always willing to lend a hand where needed, Amber recently stepped up to help fulfill staffing needs at Eden Hospice in Sierra Vista in addition to her regular duties in Safford.
Amber chose to go into healthcare because she has always enjoyed helping people. Ever the determined worker, Amber earned her degree while taking classes by day and working nights as a hospice CNA.
Amber loves being a part of Eden and the EmpRes Healthcare Family of Companies because it is just that – a family. Above all, Amber loves the connection, motivation, positivity, and support her team has for each other. In her spare time, Amber enjoys being in the outdoors, camping, and traveling with her family.