ALFA bestows awards

Dedication and innovation were recognized when the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) bestowed awards on individuals and organizations at its annual conference.

Five Hero Awards were presented during a lunch Wednesday that preceded keynote speeches by retired astronaut and Navy Captain Mark Kelly and retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The awards recognize "individuals who are ideal representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people serving in senior living communities," according to the organization. Almost 300 people working in assisted living, independent living and memory care communities across the country were nominated this year. Residents, families, employees and the general public were invited to vote among 15 finalists on ALFA's Facebook page, where more than 18,000 votes were cast.


  • Donell "DJ" Akers, a dishwasher at Horizon Bay of Plano, a Brookdale Senior Living community in Plano, Texas.
  • Elizabeth "Beth" Dreas, a cook at Heritage Woods of Centralia, a BMA Management community in Centralia, Ill.
  • Vienna Rice, activities coordinator at Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone, an IntegraCare Senior Living community in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Corry Roberts, head housekeeper and performer of many other duties at the Inn at Cass Lake, a Holiday Retirement community in Waterford, Mich.
  • Rosario Spires, a resident assistant at Windsor of Lakewood Ranch, a Legend Senior Living community in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Pictured at the ALFA Hero Award Luncheon, from left: ALFA President and CEO Rick Grimes, speaker Gabrielle Giffords, DJ Akers, Vienna Rice, Corry Roberts, Rosario Spires, Beth Dreas and speaker Mark Kelly.

Other awards

Also during the conference, Rhode Island State Sen. Joshua Miller received the ALFA Statesman Award, which honors "a state legislator who has made an exceptional commitment to advocate on behalf of senior living residents." Karen Peck and Maureen McNamara accepted the Horace D'Angelo Jr. Memorial Award, which is named for a late ALFA founder and board member and honors advocates for seniors. Joe Huskinson of Stellar Senior Living's Lincoln Court Retirement Community in Idaho Falls, Idaho, received the Senior Living Community Leadership Award.

ALFA also announced the winners of its Senior Living Arts Showcase. Photographs of the entries were on display at the conference.

Best of the Best

During Tuesday and Wednesday's opening general sessions, ALFA's previously announced Best of the Best Award recipients were acknowledged. The awards "recognize innovative new programs and services that are creating the future of senior living." The competition received about 100 submissions, from which 27 finalists were chosen and then 13 winners.

ALFA members honored:

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