Cassia in the News

A Passion and a Calling: Augustana Awesome Awards Showcase the Caring Profession

While caregiving professionals help millions of people nationwide, we seldom take time to honor them and discover what motivates their work. The Augustana Awesome Awards recognize those who embody our mission to foster fullness of life for older generations and others in need.

Award-winning employees and volunteers typically say they feel called to their profession and are passionate about the people they serve. Besides recognizing caregivers, we also recognize residents who defy stereotypical views of older adults—and exceptional collaborations that make a significant difference to our community. This year’s awards, presented by Augustana Elim Care Services, honored recipients whose accomplishments were featured in local publications including the Apple Valley, Burnsville and Rosemount Sun This Week, along with the Rosemount Town Pages and Hastings Star Gazette. Augustana Awesome winners are also listed here:

2018 Augustana Awesome Award winners. Left to right: Scott Rohr; Excellence in Customer Service. Betty Fuller; Resident Fullness of Life. Jennifer Torrini; Excellence in Leadership.  Nancy Froehlig; Excellence in Volunteerism.

The Rosemount Dining Room Server Scott Rohr received the Excellence in Customer Service Award. Scott has served meals to residents since the opening of The Rosemount, where Augustana Care provides care and services for the community developed by The Makado Group.

A retired school teacher with a zest and drive for education, Scott leads weekly talks, which give residents a chance to learn and discuss topics that interest them. He also launched a men’s group at The Rosemount. “Scott Rohr understands the gift of serving,” says The Rosemount Executive Chef Shaun Hammel.

“He effortlessly serves others here at The Rosemount and in the greater community… by bringing passion and energy to his work,” adds Housing Director Bill Peters.

Augustana Open Circle Volunteer Nancy Froehlig received the Excellence in Volunteerism Award. Nancy originally came to Open Circle, which provides adult day services, 11 years ago to enroll her husband Bob. After he passed away, Nancy became a volunteer and has given 3,272 hours of her time to Open Circle.

“Nancy has taken the definition of volunteer to a new level,” says Director Peggy Gaard. “She is the “choir mom” of the community, laundering and mending shirts and vests, organizing music, helping people on the bus and singing in the choir. She sends cards and visits members in transitions.

Nancy also recruits other volunteers and completed a spiritual care BeFriender training so she could make visits to people in need of spiritual care. “She took the sadness of loss and turned it into beauty through giving of herself,” according to Peggy. “In her, we see a living lesson in how to live our lives more fully.”

The Augustana Awesome Leadership Award was given to Augustana Regent Licensed Practical Nurse Jennifer Torrini. “Jennifer will go out of her way to make sure the residents’ needs are met,” says Executive Director Vicki Tobroxen. “On many occasions she has spent an evening comforting and consoling a resident dealing with a fatal health diagnosis. The evening shift is extremely busy and I am always amazed at what she is able to accomplish and still find time to visit with our care suite and memory care residents.”

Jennifer is also not afraid to conduct standup meetings with home health aides to keep them informed, answer questions, provide education and address any issues and concerns. “She is a true team leader,” nominators say.

The Augustana Awesome Awards for Resident Fullness of Life was received by Augustana Chapel View Apartment resident Betty Fuller. Betty exemplifies fullness of life personally and through her work in the community. Each year, her family surprises Betty with an adventurous outing as a birthday gift. At 88 years young, Betty recently participated in a tandem sky dive from 13,000 feet. This year, her plan is to hang glide. There can be no better person to be a role model for exuberant aging.

In addition, Betty leads morning exercises for residents, and for more than ten years, served as the “I’m OK” volunteer, walking the halls on the fourth floor to make sure her neighbors are safe. Betty also volunteers at the Augustana Chapel View Care Center Coffee Shop once a week and goes out of her way to help other residents with whatever they may need. “She has not only shown great fullness in her own life, but she has helped dozens of other residents do the same,” says Housing Director Lynette Clausen.

The Tim Tucker Spirit of Collaboration Award celebrates excellence in collaborations with other organizations. This year’s award went to two partners. One award honored the Apple Valley High School E3 STEM Program and the other award was received by the Act on Alzheimer’s Initiative.

Apple Valley High School’s E3 STEM program has earned the Tim Tucker Spirit of Collaboration Award. First row, from left: Augustana Regent director of health services Evans Mochama, human resources senior recruiter Lesley Farnham, STEM liaison Allison Chuick, Augustana Regent executive director Vicki Tobroxen; back row, from left: Augustana – Elim Care CEO Bob Dahl, Apple Valley student Ryan Noveron-Mendez, STEM program manager James Lynch and Augustana Elim Care CEO Tim Tucker.

To address a growing nursing assistant shortage, Augustana Regent has partnered with Apple Valley High School E3 STEM program for more than two years to attract employees to the skilled nursing field. The program connects Apple Valley juniors and seniors with experiences that prepare them for postsecondary education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

For the past two years, the high school’s E3 STEM program has paid for about 40 students, aged 16 to 18, to attend the certified nursing assistant course at Dakota County Technical College. Augustana Regent hired 11 students as nursing assistants and one as a wait staff member. Augustana Regent is not only attracting young people to work with older adults—it’s empowering residents to mentor students.

The Act on Alzheimer’s Initiative was the product of many partnerships in the Hopkins area, including the following representatives: Front row: (L to R): Emerald Crest Marketing Director Christine Drasher, Gethsemane Lutheran Church member Shirley Koski, St Gabriel’s Catholic Church and Hopkins resident Joan Vosovich and Housing Director of Feeney Manor Assisted Living Kelly Conrad. Back row (L to R): Community Partnership Coordinator from Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging Community Partnership Coordinator Amanda Nickerson, Open Circle of Hopkins Office Manager Laura Herman, Augustana Chapel View Apartments Housing Director Lynette Clausen, Hopkins Fire Chief Dale Specken, Minnetonka resident Sarah Kissock and Augustana Care CEO Tim Tucker.

The Act on Alzheimer’s Initiative helped better the understanding of dementia throughout the city of Hopkins. The initiative brought people in the community together to inform and foster a safe, respectful community for people living with dementia and their families, offering supportive features across the community to improve the quality of life for everyone.

A welcoming memory café is only one of the results of the initiative; it also includes presentations, film and a special “Dementia Live” program, which immersed participants in cognitive and sensory changes to impart a first-hand experience with dementia. The memory café offers a place where caregivers and people with dementia can find fellowship and support.

Should you wish to schedule an interview, please call Jenna at 612-238-8552. To learn more about the awards, please contact Executive Assistant Briana Deschambault at  or 612-238-5201.

About Augustana – Elim Care Services

Augustana Care fosters fullness of life for older adults through housing, health care and community-based services. We strive to help those we serve to live the lives that most inspire them.

Augustana Care is now affiliated with Elim Care, a Minnesota-based ministry founded in 1927 to provide quality, compassionate, and innovative senior housing and healthcare in the spirit of Christ’s love.