Ceca Special Award Honorees


Early on in the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ceca understood that the virus would have a profound impact on our healthcare partners, their caregivers, and their patients, residents, families and guests. We quickly shifted operations to support our partners in any way possible, and we also instituted a model for remote award celebrations, so that our partners could continue to celebrate their amazing caregivers that needed it more than ever–and still do!

Ceca’s series of Special Awards were presented to healthcare workers displaying exceptional compassion, creativity, or teamwork in caring for people and preparing their communities during the early days of the Pandemic. To date, Ceca has awarded $10,000 to 40 deserving caregivers through the program specifically for Special Awards, and above and beyond our regular award cycles.

Read the stories from Special Award Honorees below to see the acts of caregiving that got them nominated and chosen to be in this select group.

Henrietta Acquah-Akoto, Nurse Supervisor, Goodwin House, Alexandria, VA, for her diligence, professionalism, collaborative skills, and accountability on a number of occasions. She checked temperatures in the lobby to expedite caregiver entry and worked through Omnicare policy restrictions to make sure a patient, whose fever had spiked, got a full prescription of antibiotics filled over a weekend. Additionally, she made sure a patient’s lab test was sent out properly and timely, despite restrictions on lab pickup during the COVID crisis. She was able to work through changing regulations put in place during the pandemic in order to provide the great care patients deserve, despite any obstacles.

Talisha Arneaud, Admissions Director, Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home, Washington, DC, volunteered to sit on the front lines and take the temperature of everyone entering the building to protect residents and staff from transported illness.

Sulaiman Bangura, RN Case manager, Capital Caring Health, Washington, DC, for returning to a family’s home after hours upon hearing his patient had passed away. He sensed the family needed a trusted and familiar face and wanted to be there to support them in their grieving.

Rachael Beadle, Receptionist, Genesis Glade Valley, Walkersville, MD, has assumed the additional responsibility for screening visitors and vendors, and putting people at ease with her calm demeanor and simple explanations of procedures.

Jennifer Bennett, Events Communications Coordinator, Goodwin House, Alexandria, VA, has been helping staff and residents navigate technical issues while streaming information and activities to residents’ apartments—keeping them engaged, connected, entertained and informed during these difficult times.

Edna Berantuo, Nurse, Goodwin House, Bailey’s Crossroads, VA, for providing moments of joy to residents and their families during this pandemic, such as helping a resident set up video conferencing accounts on his new device and teaching him how to set up virtual visits with his family.

Carrie Buzzo, Clinical Supervisor at West Virginia Caring, Arthurdale, WV, for her calm demeanor in empathizing with patients and families, ensuring supplies and medications are stocked and ready, and for spending extra time educating staff and residents on the signs, symptoms, and precautions necessary during the pandemic.

Ralph Chatman, Floor Care Technician, Old Orchard Health Care Center, Easton, PA, for his extraordinary efforts during required moves to accommodate affected patients entering the facility. His efficiency in cleaning, moving belongings, and ensuring the safety of resident environments during an unsettling time made a tremendous difference.

Mary Donna Chehovich, Connections Activities Associate, Providence Place Senior Living of Drums, PA, for her exceptional humor and caring. She recently wore a funny costume to lift everyone’s spirits and always takes time to say a prayer or do something special with anyone who needs it. She makes everyone, residents and coworkers alike, feel like family.

Dawn Crothers, a Registered Nurse, Psychiatric Institute of Washington, Washington, DC, sewed washable, reversible facemasks with fun and unique designs for staff, so everyone would be protected.

Noely Diaz de Leon, Clerk, Genesis Healthcare Franklin Woods, Baltimore, MD, for diligently maintaining scheduled appointments, coordinating transportation, and championing TeleHealth visits with kindness, patience, and respect for both residents and family members.

Kendra Dixon, Resident Life Associate, Connections Unit, Providence Place Senior Living of Pottsville, PA, for helping a patient on Hospice care FaceTime his wife so she could share some special moments during a particularly good day he was having. This became a special memory for the wife as her husband passed away shortly after, but she was able to “be by his side” in his last days.

Kelly Elkins, Evening Nurse Supervisor, Genesis Gettysburg Center, Gettysburg, PA, who placed big, bold room numbers on each resident’s window, so family members could more easily locate their loved one for an outside window visit. Her empathy for families who have been so removed from their loved ones has made a big impact and uplifted the residents during a difficult period of isolation.

Towanda Evans, Activities Director, Doctors Community Rehabilitation and Patient Care Center, Lanham, MD, for her heartfelt interactions with residents and staff, and for conducting the kinds of activities that make patients and their families happy.

Ayo Clementine Grant, Certified Nursing Assistant, Army Distaff Center at Knollwood, Washington, DC, has been thrust into the role of gatekeeper and coronavirus screener, often waiting in the cold to check visitors for symptoms before they enter her LifeSpan community, in addition to enforcing protocols for the safety of all residents and staff.

Shane Grinder, Admissions Director, Genesis Gettysburg Center, Gettysburg, PA, has been putting together meals, treats and goodie bags to make all of her staff feel greatly appreciated during these difficult times.

Augustina Jarrett, Clinical Supervisor, Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, MD, for being steadfast and reassuring laboratory staff who were processing significant quantities of samples each day. She provided up-to-date information on evolving pandemic procedures and the latest requirements so samples could be processed and tested efficiently.

Emelia Jocelin-Sainvil, Nurse Aide, ManorCare Health Services, West Reading, PA, for taking time to provide language interpretation services, and for preparing and delivering cultural foods to residents that brought warmth and comfort to them during uncertain times.

Arlette Kesseng A Mbassa, Director of Nursing, Army Distaff Center at Knollwood, Washington, DC, for her dedication, sacrifice, commitment, and leadership providing front-line nursing care during this pandemic. There are no self-distancing, work-from-home, or telehealth options for nurses, and Arlette comforts the fearful, swabs for samples, guards the PPE, responds to daily DOH requests, and constantly educates and advocates for her team.

Emily Lang, Receptionist, Providence Place Senior Living of Chambersburg, PA, for creating a photo booth to take pictures of residents with their Mother’s Day flowers and gifts to share with their families. She created a wonderful memory for many during this difficult time of separation from their loved ones.

Cheryl Lucas, Assistant Director of Nursing, Army Distaff Center at Knollwood, Washington, DC, for perseverance in serving as the front-line infection control nurse, testing hundreds of residents, providing updated information, comforting family members, and communicating hope during this pandemic.

Aubrey Marrow, Resident Life Associate, Providence Place Senior Living of Drums, PA, for his enthusiasm and fun-loving spirit, sharing his passion for dance, as evidenced in the video below, and his extraordinary devotion to COVID residents, as evidenced by his prepping a COVID survivor for her 101st birthday. (Video below.)

Steve Roy McLean, Porter, Army Distaff Center at Knollwood, Washington, DC, for working double shifts during the most intense period of the pandemic, when so many workers were calling-out from sickness or fear. Steve worked tirelessly and with great humor to support residents and staff, cleaning and disinfecting areas to ensure they had a clean, safe environment, assisting the engineering team and leading the EVS prayer circle after the loss of a teammate.

Virginia Mill, Resident Life III/Medical Technician, Providence Place Senior Living of Pottsville, PA, for making Mother’s Day special for residents by taking professional photos of all the ladies for a Mother’s Day craft project and made them all feel like movie stars. She has brought sunshine to the community during this dark time.

Carla Nieves, Business Office Manager, Genesis Franklin Woods Center, Baltimore, MD, has been making sure that the front desk is staffed 24/7 and ensures everyone working the front desk is well educated about new COVID-19 changes in policies and procedures surrounding screening and visitation.

Julia Ojo-Adebayo, Receptionist, Birmingham Green, Manassas, VA, for her teamwork, flexibility, and commitment to the mission at Birmingham Green through actions like working two double shifts in a row over Memorial Day weekend, sacrificing personal time in order to help her fellow caregivers and ensure patients’ needs were being met.

Everly Osborne, Critical Care Technician, Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, MD, for her work above and beyond her job responsibilities in the ICU intubating, prone ventilating, and caring for additional patients, even mopping and cleaning floors to ensure safety and security in critical COVID care rooms.

Anthony Patterson, Resident Life Associate II, Providence Place Senior Living of Pottsville, PA, for the personal care he gave to a patient and her family. The daughter of an ailing resident nearing her end was upset when it was time to go home and was kneeling by her mom’s bed. Anthony kneeled down next to her, consoled her and told her not to worry because he would look after her mother’s needs after she left. The daughter needed a friend just then and was so thankful for Anthony’s presence and comforting words.

Kayla Ramsey, Resident Life Associate, Providence Place Senior Living of Chambersburg, PA, for leaving artistic, creative, though-provoking and informative messages on a whiteboard sign residents and staff use to interact with one another, providing joy and an uplifting way to start the day.

Portia Richardson, Medical Records Director, Stoddard Baptist Global Care, Washington, DC, for her attention to detail in working with regulatory bodies, for organizing and promoting facility events that bring peace to the community, and for her warmth in managing relationships with physicians and funeral homes.

Bob Royer, Board Member, Army Distaff Center at Knollwood, Washington, DC, anticipated a PPE shortage very early on in the crisis and stopped at a medical supply store to procure masks, goggles, and other protective equipment for the caregivers at Knollwood.

Steven Skobel, Nurse Practitioner, Capital Caring Health, Washington, DC, for serving as liaison between the medical team attending to a father, who was intubated for 30 days, and his family, while communicating with skill, dedication, and compassion.

Mary Ann Terway, a Resident Life Associate (CNA), Providence Place Senior Living in Pottsville, PA, has made over 100 masks and washable gowns for co-workers, who are interacting with patients and residents. She also pampers her residents with special foods and toiletries to make them look and feel their best during these distressing times.

Sue Thompson, Housekeeping Resident Life Associate, Providence Place Senior Living of Chambersburg, PA, for finding a great way for residents and family to connect. She created a distanced “hug” for a resident by using ribbon to measure his arm width and then attached the ribbon to two paper hands, on which she wrote inspirational messages. She gave this to his wife so she could wrap the ribbon around herself and have a “hug” from her husband, which made them both feel closer during necessary distancing practices.

Michael Tourangeau, Dietary Manager, Laurel Lakes Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, Chambersburg, PA, for initiating and implementing an employee meal plan during this crisis, which allowed all staff to be nourished and to ensure safety by minimizing contact with potential infection vectors.

Georgiana Walker, LPN, Inspire Rehabilitation and Health Center, Washington, DC, who was recognized by a family member for demonstrating patience, respect, efficiency, timeliness and, above all, love in caring for their mother. Her calm and compassionate professionalism make resident stays peaceful and joyful.

Lisa Wallace, Corporate Director of Supply Chain, Goodwin House, Alexandria, VA, anticipated that PPE would be harder to get for long-term care facilities and went well beyond her normal role to plan and coordinate the funding, procurement, and distribution of over 1.3 million face masks for staff at Goodwin House and over 50 other long-term care organizations in the area dedicated to serving the needs of aging adults and people with disabilities.

Patricia Weaver, RN Unit Manager, Transitions Healthcare, Gettysburg, PA, for her dedication and efficiency as infection preventionist during the COVID pandemic by distributing masks to all employees, keeping staff updated with current information, lending a listening ear to anxieties and concerns, and ensuring all proper precautions are followed.

Lucille Williams, Patient Care Technician, Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, MD, used compassion and humor in treating a potential COVID-19 patient, reassuring them and allowing them to relax during a very scary time.

Amy Ziolko-Yencho, Night Shift Supervisor, Providence Place Senior Living of Drums, PA, for the manner in which she calms residents with voice or touch, the way she listens to residents and anticipates their needs (even those of their pets), and the way she makes everyone feel like family with her homemade meals.


Honorees are listed in alphabetical order.