Heritage Ministries hosts Employee Recognition Dinner

Submitted Photos Picture are employees being celebrated by Heritage for their milestones at Moonbrook Country Club in Jamestown.

JAMESTOWN — Heritage Ministries recently hosted its annual Employee Recognition Dinner at Moonbrook Country Club in Jamestown. This year’s event honored 82 Heritage employees for their service to this nonprofit, human service ministry organization. The evening’s presentation recognized these individuals along with the employees of the year, and recent retirees. Also announced were the 2018 recipients of three awards: the Mary Lou Clark Outstanding Customer Service Award, the Reverend LeRoy L. Lundgren Servant Leadership Award and the Walter S. Fleming Chairman’s Award.

Each year, Heritage Ministries celebrates the dedication of its staff with a formal dinner. Those honored this year were celebrating their anniversaries of service with the not for profit organization. Eighty two employees were honored at the dinner, representing a combined 784 years of service to Heritage Ministries. As one of the largest employers in Chautauqua County, Heritage Ministries employs nearly 800 employees, and holds the annual Employee Recognition Dinner to distinguish and to appreciate them. Heritage Ministries is constantly striving to make sure that its employees feel valued.

Lisa Haglund, Vice President of marketing and development said, “It is a privilege to honor those who live our mission, to promote, hope, dignity and purposeful living to our residents.” She continued, “Each employee plays an important role every day, and I am thankful to be part of recognizing them for the hard work they do. We are honored to celebrate all that they do to continue to support the Heritage mission of providing hope, dignity and purposeful living to those entrusted to our care.”

Three employees were recognized for their outstanding achievement and exceptional service with special awards throughout the evening. Heritage President and CEO David Smeltzer stated, “You are successful because of your passion to serve others, and truly do show every day that you hold true to the Heritage belief that caring is our calling. You embody the core values of our organization, and we are blessed to have you as a part of our team.”

The 2018 Mary Lou Clark Outstanding Customer Service Award was presented to Shelly Sandquist, a social worker at the park in Jamestown, NY. This annual award seeks nominees who demonstrate excellent customer service, positively represent Heritage Ministries showing a true commitment to the organization’s mission statement, and also hold an outstanding employee record.

Nominated by her coworkers, Sandquist is “Sincere, patient, kind and always kind to residents and staff. She is always very attentive to her residents’ needs and does all she can to help them.”

The 2018 Revered LeRoy L. Lundgren Servant Leadership Award was presented to Sharon Walters, director of nursing at The Green. On March 4, 2007, Reverend LeRoy L. Lundgren, retired United Methodist pastor, completed his earthly ministry and began to enjoy his heavenly rewards. Although his sudden passing saddened the entire Heritage organization, we were thankful for the servant leadership he displayed in the few years he lived and served as the chair of the resident advisory council at Heritage Village Retirement Campus. The Reverend LeRoy L. Lundgren Servant Leadership Award is given to an outstanding employee who serves in a supervisory role at work and in the community.

One Heritage employee noted, “Her commitment to our residents and staff is beyond compare. Her leadership and positive influence pushes us to always strive to do better and give our residents more. She works countless hours to serve

and put our residents’ dignity first.”

The 2018 Reverend Walter S. Fleming Chairman’s Award was presented to Melissa Trusler, director of development. In 2011, Reverend Walter Fleming, Gerry Homes Board Chairman, reluctantly decided to retire from the board due to his increasing responsibilities as a senior Pastor at Pearce Memorial Church and as an adjunct professor at Roberts Wesleyan College. While the Heritage organization was disappointed to learn of his retirement, they were very thankful and appreciative of his unselfish servant leadership for close to 20 years. In this time he served as board member, secretary, committee chairman, and most recently as board chairman. The Reverend Walter Fleming Chairman’s Award recognizes the employee who most exemplifies the Mission, Vision and Core Values of Heritage Ministries.

Melissa’s nomination read “Melissa deserves this award because she goes above and beyond every day to promote hope, dignity and purpposeful to both residents and staff through every interaction she has. She represents all of the Heritage core values. I am thankful to work with someone as positive as she is.”

For more information regarding career opportunities with Heritage Ministries visit www.heritage1886.org/careers. There are immediate career opportunities currently available for certified nursing assistants and registered nurses.

The following is a complete list of employees who were honored for their years of service:

The Village Skilled Nursing and Rehab (Gerry):

Five years — Laura Kay Allwood, Ashley Bailey, Bethany Garver, Jeremy Goldsmith, Marcia Johnson, Pauline Melinski, Victoria Reagle, Jody Terhune, Dennis Thomas, Ashley Thompson,

Ten years — Martha Boyland, Cynthia Clark, Tiffani Fehlman

Fifteen years — Sharon Jenkins

Twenty years — Debra Messere, Cheryl Cole

Twenty-five years — Cathy Emke

Thirty years — Rebecca Cimo

Retirees — Mary Astry, Ed Dynys

The Park Rehab & Skilled Nursing (Jamestown):

Five years — Bobbie Abers, Lacey Barlow, John Crawford, Stephanie Gassman, Cheryl Hall, Barbara Jackson, Jessica Knepp, Christopher Mattison, Chanell Miller, Lisa Perez, Joseph Weeks

Ten years — Tracie Higgs

Fifteen years — John Barlow, Precita Crawford, Nancy Cunningham, Cynthia Davis,Tammy Green, Melissa Johnson, Tracy Labelle, Virginia McConaghay, Emily Moore, Darlene Peterson, Annette Reynolds

Twenty years — Gerald Haglund, Debra Malone, Melissa Tobias

Retirees — Deborah Bergey

The Green Rehab & Skilled Nursing (Greenhurst):

Five years — Alana Stafford

Ten years — Jotina Boutelle, Kathy Brisky, Scott Carlson, Wendy Chapman, Lindsay Constantine, April Goodrich, William Leach, Stacey Sharp, Daniel Vandolsen, Henry Walter

Fifteen years — Amy Constantino, Alice Marsh, Brenda Olds

Retirees — Ruth Baker, Susan Billgren

The Homestead (Gerry):

Five years — Robyn Keech, Heather Mower

Ten years — Judy Benson

Fifteen years — Pamela Marsh

Twenty years — Marcia Howe

Thirty years — Teresa Sheldon

Orchard Grove (West Ellicott)

Five years — Richard Doss Jr., Susan Richards

Ten years — Stephanie Piazza

Heritage Ministries Management Company:

Five years — Kara Johnson, Matthew Myschisin

Fifteen years — Rebecca Smith, Jody Gustafson

Retirees — Tim Morrison, Sam Shreffler

Employees of the Year:

The Park- Mary Lena De Santis

The Village — Dennis Thomas

The Green — Mark Akam

Orchard Grove — Kathy Vergith

The Homestead and Heritage Management Company — Tanya Dirling

Heritage has grown from its original retirement campus in Gerry, NY to a multi-site, multi-state provider which includes the following locations and services:


The Homestead, Gerry, NY — retirement housing and assisted living at Bergquist Memorial

The Woodlands, Ellicott, NY — retirement housing and assisted living at Orchard Grove Residences

The Green, Greenhurst, NY — rehab and skilled nursing

The Park, Jamestown, NY — rehab and skilled nursing

The Village, Gerry, NY — rehab and skilled nursing

Heritage Living at Chautauqua Mall — community services and information for elders and their family members

Vinecroft Retirement Community, Clarence Center, NY — retirement housing

The Kenney, Seattle, WA – retirement housing and assisted living at Lincoln Vista

Hearthstone Communities, Woodstock, IL — retirement housing, assisted living at The Village, childcare and rehab and skilled nursing care at the Manor

Rolling Fields, Conneautville, PA — rehab and skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, childcare

For more information on Heritage, please visit www.heritage1886.org.