Four statewide awards presented to Perry Lutheran Homes

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Mollie Clark, left, marketing director for the Perry Lutheran Homes, accepts the 2021 Public Trust Award on behalf of the PLH from LeadingAge Iowa CEO Shannon Strickler.


The Perry Lutheran Homes recently received four prestigious industry awards from LeadingAge Iowa, an association representing not-for-profit providers of aging services in Iowa. The awards included:

  • The Perry Lutheran Homes Project Deliver the Love was chosen for the 2021 Public Trust award.
  • The Perry Lutheran Homes Chief Operating Officer and Administrator Melissa Gannon was chosen for the 2021 Excellence in Leadership award.
  • The Perry Lutheran Homes StepUp Career Advancement Program was chosen for the 2021 Excellence in the Workplace award.
  • Inge Smothers, certified medication aide (CMA) at the Perry Lutheran Homes, was chosen for the 2021 Caregiver of the Year award.

The Public Trust award is given to an organization that goes beyond its health service or housing role to advance public trust and confidence by supporting and/or improving the greater community demonstrating the organization’s commitment to mission and social responsibility.

The Perry Lutheran Homes won the award for helping community members find and form lasting connections with “invisible elders” in the community through their unique creation, Project Deliver the Love. The Project Deliver the Love video is available online.

“Project Deliver the Love is truly an award for the community of Perry,” said Mollie Clark, marketing director for the Perry Lutheran Homes. “Because of people, congregations, businesses and service organizations in our community stepping up to volunteer, donate and deliver the love, this project was an incredibly successful and impactful, even more than we could have ever imagined So many people were positively impacted by this project, and it really shines a light on the elderly people in our community to celebrate and serve and do everything we can to bring more joy into their lives.”

The Excellence in Leadership award is given to an individual in a significant leadership position who demonstrates leadership actions that enrich and enhance the lives of older adults, is a strong motivator and mentor for others and has done specific actions that create a supportive team culture.

Melissa Gannon, chief operating officer and administrator for the Perry Lutheran Homes, won the Excellence in Leadership award based on her dedication to successfully leading the Perry Lutheran Homes simultaneously through a pandemic, derecho and acquisition of a senior living community. Watch the Excellence in Leadership award video online.

“I was both shocked and honored to receive this incredible award,” Gannon said. “It means the world. Senior Living Community leaders across the country have faced so many challenges throughout the past couple of years. More than just myself, the Perry Lutheran Homes team has stepped up to rise above the challenges of the pandemic, to take in 13 displaced CCDI memory care residents in one day due to the derecho, and to successfully acquire a new senior living community. I’m surrounded by some of the most talented and compassionate people. It’s been a challenging journey, but I know that we are better because of it.”

The Excellence in the Workplace award is given to a program that demonstrates in policy and practice that investing in the staff and workplace environment are critical to the delivery of quality care and services. The winner shall demonstrate innovation in workforce development policies and practices and ensures that all levels of staff obtain training.

The Perry Lutheran Homes’ StepUp Career Advancement Program won the award for providing a pathway for employees of Perry Lutheran Homes who are working in any career field or position to earn certifications and degrees through promotion, higher education and tuition reimbursement.

The StepUp Career Advancement Program was launched to build a stable, direct care workforce of highly trained, qualified and committed nurses, nurse aides and other long-term care staff at Perry Lutheran Homes, ensuring that every older adult in need of care receives the best care possible.

In creating this program, goals include reducing turnover, improving culture and morale, improving resident satisfaction and quality of life, among varied other benefits to staff, residents, and the community. The StepUp Career Advancement video is also available online.

The Caregiver of the Year award is given to an individual who demonstrated skills, both professional and interpersonal, that exceeded expectations. The award winner has positively affected the quality of life of those served, significantly improved a service or program and demonstrated a strong and rare commitment to the organization and those served.

Inge Smothers, certified medication aide (CMA) for the Perry Lutheran Homes, won the Caregiver of the Year Award for her compassion and joy in going above and beyond meeting residents’ needs. Watch the Caregiver of the Year video online.

“Inge is truly amazing at what she does and is so deserving of this award,” Gannon said. “Not only is she an excellent CMA with great skill and exceptional care, but she is a beloved friend to our residents and their families. Inge pays attention to the details that matter and goes above and beyond bringing love and joy into our residents’ lives.”

Community members, family and friends are invited to join in celebrating these awards with a delicious yogurt parfait breakfast bar, along with Perry Lutheran Homes staff and residents, on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 9 a.m. The event will take place at the Perry Lutheran Homes Eden Acres Campus located at 1300 28th St. in Perry. Attendees will be screened, and masks are required.

Mollie Clark is the marketing director for the Perry Lutheran Homes.

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