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> Become a CAREGiver > CAREGiver Recognition > CAREGivers of the Year

CAREGivers of the Year

Exceptional Dedication and Compassion

At Home Instead Senior Care®, we understand that dedication and compassion are essential traits of a good CAREGiverSM. That’s one reason we reward our local CAREGivers with CAREGiver of the Month and CAREGiver of the Year awards to show our appreciation for all they do. Home Instead, Inc. also recognizes regional CAREGivers of the Year and one special CAREGiver who shows exceptional dedication is the recipient of the North American award - The Mary Steibel CAREGiver of the Year Award.

Inspiring Excellence

Our CAREGiver of the Year program inspires CAREGivers to strive for excellence. It creates a sense of pride in the fact that the Home Instead Senior Care franchise network recognizes, appreciates and rewards their hard work, compassionate care and service to others. We want to introduce you to our “best of the best” CAREGivers as a testament to the power of a caring heart and determination.

Meet Some of the CAREGiver of the Year Award Winners


Bobbie Smith, 2012 Mary Steibel CAREGiver of the Year Jeannie Cleary-Burns

CAREGiver of the Year 2013

Cleveland, Ohio

Jeannie Cleary-Burns is no stranger to adversity. Widowed in 1985 with five children – ages 11 months to 14 years – she learned to rely on God, a determined resolve and Nancy. Jeannie met Nancy – an “elegant silver-haired lady” – at a parish support group. She and Nancy, who had also suddenly
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Bobbie Smith, 2012 Mary Steibel CAREGiver of the Year Bobbie Smith

CAREGiver of the Year 2012

New Orleans, Louisiana

Bobbie Smith heard destiny calling when she was just a child. Those days, she was helping her grandparents care for the sick and the elderly, and Bobbie was touched with “a God-inspired mission” to serve others. Her grandfather saw her special qualities when she was helping the ill and dying in their Mississippi home. "My grandfather said he was proud of me because some adults could not do the work that I was doing. He said God had ordained me to do this," Bobbie noted.
Do your job well, he said. It might just be the way you make a living.
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Mei Newmann Mei Newmann

CAREGiver of the Year 2011

Denver, Colorado

Mei Newmann loves her neighbor. Her motivation is nothing less than doing the best job she can for clients, watching their faces light up when she arrives and finding ways to enjoy their company. She’s also a lifelong learner who provides competent, compassionate care.
“It’s wonderful to get up in the morning and have a purpose,” Mei says.
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Lisa Barr Kazmierczak Lisa Barr Kazmierczak

CAREGiver of the Year 2010

Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

Lisa Barr Kazmierczak saw eyelids flutter. Her client, who had vowed not to get out of bed that day, was curious. The client and CAREGiver had exchanged words that, had she believed them, would have broken Lisa's heart. Despite encouragement, the client refused to rise and shine. Lisa told her she would check again in 15 minutes, but the client told her not to bother.
Refusing to accept she was unable to lift the client's spirits, Lisa hatched a plan.
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Barbara Maxwell, CAREGiver of the Year 2009 Barbara Maxwell

CAREGiver of the Year 2009

Omaha, Nebraska

"I didn't want a job just for the sake of having a job. I wanted something I'd really love doing." So said Barbara Maxwell, West Regional CAREGiver of the Year for 2009, about joining the Home Instead Senior Care Omaha Service Office in early 2006. This decision was quite a change in Barbara's professional path.
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John Dutille, CAREGiver of the Year 2008 John Dutille

CAREGiver of the Year 2008

Wilmington, North Carolina

When asked why he decided to become a Home Instead CAREGiver, John Dutille of Wilmington, NC-the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Regional CAREGiver of the Year-said, "I've always done caregiving for friends and family members, so the job just fit me. Everything fell into place."
Indeed, John's history of providing care to others began when he was a boy.
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Gerry Rious, CAREGiver of the Year 2007 Gerry Rious

CAREGiver of the Year 2007

Lake Charles, Louisiana

"Whenever I enter my clients' homes, I remember to make them happy by going in with a smile. And I always say that you haven't lived a perfect day until you've done something for someone who can never repay you," said CAREGiver of the Year Gerry Rious. About being a Home Instead CAREGiver, she said, "I'm really drawn to this job. I just love it."
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Alec Rogers, CAREGiver of the Year 2006 Alec Rogers

CAREGiver of the Year 2006

Northbrook, Illinois

Home Instead Senior Care Co-Founder Lori Hogan called CAREGiver of the Year Alec Rogers a "superstar - one who helps Home Instead Senior Care shine brilliantly by touching clients' lives each and every day."
A plant pathologist and former researcher for DuPont, he has lived and traveled all over the world.
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Jeanie Avilez, CAREGiver of the Year 2005 Jeanie Avilez

CAREGiver of the Year 2005

Fresno, California

You don't have to talk long with Jeanie Avilez to realize that she's devoted to seniors. That's what makes her work resume a bit of a puzzle. There's a 16-year span of no service to the elderly between the time she left a nursing home job and when she joined the Home Instead Senior Care office in Fresno.
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Sandra Golden, CAREGiver of the Year 2004 Sandra Golden

CAREGiver of the Year 2004

Columbia, South Carolina

CAREGiver of the Year Sandra Golden has been shining since she joined the Home Instead Senior Care caregiving team in the Columbia, South Carolina office. Known as the "golden girl" by her clients, Sandra has brought happiness to many older adults who have come under her care.
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Jane Travis, CAREGiver of the Year 2003 Jane Travis

CAREGiver of the Year 2003

Carmel, New York

When it comes to clients with physical illnesses or disabilities, CAREGiver of the Year Jane Travis truly understands. Jane, from the Carmel, New York franchise office, has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for many years, but that hasn't stopped her. In fact, she's the first one to admit it's made her a better CAREGiver. "Going through MS makes me more understanding and compassionate for other people's illnesses," she said.
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Helena Hickson, CAREGiver of the Year 2002 Helena Hickson

CAREGiver of the Year 2002

Savannah, Georgia

Helena Hickson came to the Savannah, Georgia Home Instead Senior Care office with the highest qualifications. The third eldest of 12 children born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to a carpenter and his homemaker wife, Helena had plenty of experience caring for her siblings.
When she was grown, Helena moved to the U.S. with the American Air Force sergeant she'd met in England and married. She and her husband, Billy, had two small boys when she received the devastating news that would change her life.
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Charles Ripley, CAREGiver of the Year 2001 Charles Ripley

CAREGiver of the Year 2001

Des Moines, Iowa

A good deed led Charles Ripley of Des Moines, Iowa to make caregiving a successful career long after he had retired from other jobs. "I became interested in caregiving when I took care of a friend with emphysema," Charles said. "I'd pick him up and take him to dinner and I'd drive him where he needed to go. When he couldn't take care of himself, I helped him find a nursing home."
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