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2019 True Blue Award Recipients

From left to right; Tanya Grunow, Jami Nowak, Josh McClellan, founder and CEO of Azura, Dawn Markham, and Laura Volz.

All year long, Azura Memory Care collects nominations for our very special True Blue Award. This annual award recognizes just a few of our Azura Team Members, both from our Leadership and Care Team, who are recognized by fellow co-workers and our Azura family members for exemplifying ALL of our Azura Core Values of Respect, Recover, Innovation, Retain, and Be Exceptional.

The 2019 True Blue Award recipients are a true representation of all of our Core Values and we are blessed to have them in our Azura family of care. Azura is proud to recognize Tanya Grunow, Jami Nowak, Dawn Markham, and Laura Volz. Thank you for your compassion and for the EXCEPTIONAL care and support you provide to our residents and families. You are truly, TRUE BLUE! Learn more about each of their nominations below!

Tanya Grunow, Household Coordinator, Azura of Sheboygan

Every single day I watch Tanya consistently demonstrate all of our Core Values. She is knowledgeable, efficient, energetic, selfless, kind, compassionate, fair and invested in her role as Household Coordinator. Azura is truly her life and our residents are genuinely her family. She truly embodies what a True Blue Award signifies.

Tanya RESPECTs everyone’s opinions and values. She helps her fellow team members as needed, will arrive early and stay late if need be, and covers for team members when they need the day off. Resident family members will often look to her as a source of information and comfort and she always meets them with a smile and support.

Tanya shows INNOVATION in continuing her personal education and spending countless hours researching different forms of dementia and different ways to reach each individual within our care. When  a resident experiences a new expression, Tanya is the first to research and come up with different solutions to help that resident RECOVER.

Tanya trains all of our new team members on the importance of our Core Values at Azura. She not only trains, but leads by example in her thoughts and actions and in doing so, helps Azura RETAIN the finest team team members.

One Azura Family Member shares, “Tanya has shown much compassion while caring for my wife. She knows how to comfort my wife. When she is having a bad day or a rough time, Tanya is always very respectful of [my wife’s] feelings and what she goes through on any given day. Tanya takes the time to sit down and talk with [her] to uncover what is bothering her or what she may need. There is not a time where Tanya hasn’t been supportive of my wife and I. All the while she not only cares for my wife, but the other residents as well. She does one outstanding job.”

Tanya is an exceptional team member and truly exhibits all of our Core Values. Thank you, Tanya, for being TRUE BLUE, we RETAIN the finest in you!

Jami Nowak, Executive Director, Azura of Sheboygan and Azura of Manitowoc

From an Azura Team Member: “It is hard to even put into words how amazing Jami is. The endless hours and personal sacrifice she puts into her home is truly amazing and selfless. Jami shows many, many core values in all of the 5 core values we serve on a daily basis. Anywhere from getting down on the floor to comfort a resident, or offering to work for a team member so they can have the day off when they need it shows RESPECT to our residents and team members.

Jami always makes herself available to the team, comforting them and showing thoughts of appreciation to all when she notices sadness and somberness when they experience the loss of a resident. She has ordered flowers and spent time with the team to make sure they knew she was there for them in these moments to help aid in their RECOVERY.

Jami shows INNOVATION in researching new ways to help a resident and works with the team to implement new engagement ideas and strategies to create personalized moments of joy.

If you are looking for a team player, you wouldn’t find anyone more deserving then Jami. Jami has traveled to other Azura homes to help train and support other Azura team members. She then continues to support them via phone or email if they have questions. Jami is a MOSAIC champion and makes sure our team and outside organizations that visit our home know of our philosophy and use this approach when engaging with our residents. Jami never says no to offering a helping hand which shows Azura RETAINS the finest in her.

She has taken the time and built strong relationships with all of our families and they trust her with any suggestions or advice she gives regarding their loved one. One of the main things you can say about Jami is that she truly is selfless and put the residents and team first and loves them all as her own. Jami makes sure to take a moment throughout the day to stop and say ‘I love you’ to each resident. The endless time she puts into the home and endless research she does to ensure the residents are always feeling happy, safe, and loved is something that brings tears to my eye just thinking about.”

Jami is truly TRUE BLUE in her thoughts, actions, and the compassion she shows to our residents and her team. Thank you for being EXCEPTIONAL in all that you do!

Dawn Markham, Caregiver, Azura of Beloit

Dawn Markham has been with the Azura family of care for 25 years. She is the true testament that Azura RETAINS the finest. Her fellow team members share that  Dawn is always caring to the residents. She takes the time to understand their needs and treats everyone with the most RESPECT. She is an exceptional co-worker, always arrives on time and is very bubbly. The residents truly love her.

An Azura Family Member shares, “My husband has been a resident of Azura for going on 3 months. I visit him frequently and have had many opportunities to observe the care given and interactions between residents and care providers.

There is one individual who impresses me above all others for the loving, competent care she gives to all the residents and their families. She goes out of her way to treat both residents and family members with respect and care. She always greets with a beautiful smile and a hug when I come to visit.

I love how my husband’s face lights up when he sees her and I have noticed how the residents kind of come to life in her presence. Some who rarely talk or try to communicate are more verbal when Dawn is there. There is always laughter when she’s around.  When Dawn is on duty, I know my husband and the other residents are receiving the best possible care and I am grateful for her presence.”

This is an exceptional testimony to the RECOVERy that Dawn provides to those within our care. To many, it is evident that Dawn really loves her job and the people she cares for and many have shared that she is exactly the type of her person that they would want taking care of one of their family members. Azura RETAINS the finest in you Dawn. Thank you for being TRUE BLUE and showing care and compassion to all you meet!

Laura Volz, Director of Community Relations, Azura of Oconomowoc

From an Azura Family Member: “Laura was the main deciding factor to my choosing Azura Memory Care in Oconomowoc. I visited 8 different  facilities… Azura was number 7 in my visits. I had called and talked to Laura on the phone and made an appointment to visit the facility. I arrived and she was expecting me and met me at the front door… We talked for the better part of an hour and it was very obvious that Laura was interested and concerned about the situation with my wife. We talked about the care I was currently giving to [my wife] and the fact that I was becoming very stressed with the routine.

This was the first facility I had visited that I sensed a real interest and concern in my wife and my well being… I was very impressed that she was greeting the residents as we toured and calling them by name. They were responsive to her and she certainly was not a stranger to them. I was very impressed with the facility  and especially the focus on memory care.

After we toured the facility, Laura invited me back into the office and asked if I had any more questions. I thanked her for taking time to talk with me and answer many questions and show me the facility and explain the care program. I sensed a real concern for the well being of all the residents and genuine concern for them by all the staff.

We talked a little more and I was having a hard time holding back the tears as i thanked Laura for her time. I told her at that time I was most impressed with her and the operation than any place I had visited yet. She gave me a packet of material and an application if I was interested. When I got up to leave, she asked if it was alright to give me a hug which I told her would be welcomed. I toured one more facility after that but I was convinced that when I needed to place my wife this was by far my choice of all the places.

When I decided it was time to place [my wife], I filled out the application and called Laura  to make an appointment to bring in the application and discuss it with her. We went over the application and she was very helpful with my questions and gave me help with some items I needed help with… Laura and her staff were there to greet us at the door and [made] my wife feel at home which I greatly appreciated as she had not been to Azura before that day.

This was a very humbling experience for me and the most difficult decision I had had to make in my lifetime. My wife and I have been married 58+ years and it was not easy to place her away from home. Laura was absolutely the deciding factor in my choosing Azura. She gave me complete confidence that even though this was a difficult decision on my part, it was in my and [my wife’s]  best interests and assured me she would be well taken care of.”

This testimony exemplifies all of our Core Values and is one of many reasons Laura is recognized as TRUE BLUE in the eyes of her fellow team members and the many family members she has helped welcome to Azura. Thank you, Laura, for all of the ways you help not only our residents, but their family members RECOVER during this time in their lives. You are EXCEPTIONAL and we RETAIN the finest in you!

Do you know an Azura Team Member that is truly EXCEPTIONAL? Nominate them for a Core Value Award or for the 2020 True Blue Award here!

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