On Dec. 12, 2019, Life Care Centers of America presented its Danette Henry Servant Leader Award to two corporate associates: Merridith Morris and Sarah Powell.
The annual award recognizes associates at the corporate office in Cleveland who offer outstanding customer service to Life Care's more than 200 skilled nursing facilities nationwide. It is named in honor of Danette Henry, Life Care's former director of payroll, who passed away in early 2008. Recipients were recognized during the company's Corporate Christmas Party.
"Merridith and Sarah daily demonstrate a passion for the work they are called to do," said Beecher Hunter, Life Care president. "The Danette Henry Servant Leader Award honors individuals who go above and beyond a job description to provide support to associates in the field and to co-workers at the corporate headquarters. Their performance is, in fact, a ministry combining considerable professional skills with the heart each displays for our mission."
Merridith Morris serves as executive secretary to Carol Hulgan, senior vice president of Clinical Services. She has worked in multiple departments over the years and has displayed a true loyalty to Life Care and dedication to serving residents and associates companywide.
"Merridith is the epitome of this award," said Hulgan. "On many occasions, she is the first contact and face of our department. She is a valuable asset not only to myself and Clinical Services, but to this company as a whole."
Morris was praised for her positivity, as well as always being willing to jump in and assist, even if that means sleeping on the floor at a facility far from home to provide support during a hurricane. She is known as a prayer warrior for the department and leads devotions. She has been known to stay late to finish projects and reaches out in empathy to other associates. When a Life Care associate's son passed away, Morris took it upon herself to organize meals for the associate and her family for several weeks. She cooked several herself and went even further by arranging with her church for a place for the funeral and reception.
"The award was a shock but very humbling," said Morris. "The people here are the reason I work here. I work with some of the best people I could ever work with."
Sarah Powell, director of project management in the Information Technology department, was also recognized for her dedication, knowledge and support. She has worked for Life Care for 12 years and demonstrates a strong sense of teamwork and dedication. This was especially evident this year during changes in the company's Applicant Tracking System, switching systems over to the new Medicare payment rule known as the Patient Driven Payment Model and completing the rollout of the PointClickCare electronic medical records system.
"Sarah is one of the most effective and valuable members of the Life Care IT organization," wrote Terry Leonard, chief information officer. "During this past year, she has led her team during a time of extreme change."
"Winning was a shock," said Powell. "It was definitely an honor and a blessing. I love working with our associates, with our IT team and the other departments as well."