Darla Heckathorn, director of activities at Warren Manor, has been named the Pennsylvania Health Care Association's MVE - Most Valuable Employee in the statewide association's annual Hero Awards program.
Heckathorn was recognized at the association's conference at Seven Springs last week. As part of the awards program, the health care association made a short video about Darla and why she was chosen for this honor. You can view the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aX-I-N-kUc.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association's Hero Awards recognize individuals who every day go far beyond their job duties in long-term care facilities to make a difference in the lives of their residents, their families and their colleagues. They are the 'best of the best' among Pennsylvania caregivers.
Pictured, from left, are Heckathorn’s children, Matthew Johnson, Nicholas Bailey and Mandy Proper; her husband, Rick Heckathorn; Darla Heckathorn; and her parents, Bob and Jean Turner and Eleanor Johnson.
As Warren Manor's activities director, Heckathorn recognizes the importance of outings, events and engaging activities in creating a vibrant care community for residents and their families. According to her administrator, John McCracken, Heckathorn continually enhances the roster of activities that are offered to residents, always incorporating their feedback about their interests and preferences. From developing a men's group to an under-55 group and special beauty groups for female residents, Heckathorn keeps everyone busy and interacting with one another. She creates special outings for residents to events like the Sea Wolves minor league baseball games in Erie, complete with team hats and t-shirts so residents can proudly display their team spirit.
"Warren Manor is lucky to have Darla as part of our care community," McCracken said. "She makes extraordinary contributions on a daily basis and dedicates her talents, expertise and experience to the tremendous benefit of residents and staff."
When one resident mentioned that he missed camping, Heckathorn arranged to take residents to a campground so they could roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
Heckathorn has been with Warren Manor for 11 years and during that time has not only arranged the outings and activities enjoyed so much by Warren Manor's residents, she has truly made a connection between the facility and the broader community. Warren Manor invites family members and the public to participate in craft shows, chili fest cook-offs, concerts and picnics on the lawn and more, because Heckathorn knows these are opportunities for the public and Warren Manor residents to connect with and learn from one another.
PHCA/CALM is a statewide advocacy organization for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable older residents and their providers of care. Members comprise for-profit, nonprofit and government providers. Together, they represent more than 425 long-term care and senior service providers that care for nearly 45,000 elderly and disabled individuals. For more information, call (717) 221-1800 or visit www.phca.org or www.calmpa.org.