2018 Finalists


Outstanding Caregiver(back to top)

Lorenzo De La Rosa

Position: Caregiver

Organization: CareAssist Services


We want to recognize Lorenzo for his tireless devotion to all Seniors in his care. He is the most reliable and dedicated employee we have ever had the pleasure of working with. Lorenzo is an exemplary employee who constantly exhibits our core values in his work with his clients. He understands and adapts to his client’s ever-changing care needs. He is adaptable, resourceful and an excellent communicator. His first and foremost priority is his client’s safety and well-being regardles ...

Hailee Kurtz

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Senior Helpers


Hailee is 21 years young, and has done a lot in her few years, and knows there is much more she can do and learn. She is very compassionate and truly cares about the senior community. What she lacks in age, she makes up for in integrity.
She loves to ask her clients about their secrets, not the dirty laundry kind of secrets, a much more important secret. Hailee said "seniors are like vaults, each is different on the outside. Some have weathered the storm, some have sadly been forgotten ...

Moe Togafau

Position: Caregiver

Organization: ActivCare Living


Moe has earned the respect of his co-workers through his quiet confidence. He is always positive and is quick to find a solution to any situation. Eagerly, he takes on new roles and always goes above and beyond in his performance. Although humble by nature, his actions speak louder than words. Moe has been recognized for his compassionate care in the past. He is a recipient of the ActivCare Living Chance Hero Award, an award given in honor of the ActivCare Founder’s Legacy to those who share M ...

Barbara Reed

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Senior Helpers


Being a Caregiver is fulfilling to Barbie, just like her former students, she gets the opportunity to share in people's lives. She tries to motivate, sometimes educate, but always encourages her senior clients. She treats each client as if they were family as she enters their homes. She is loving, positive, and cheerful each day. She cherishes the wisdom and friendship she gets from her clients. Besides providing companionship and care, she tries to reinforce their skills and promote i ...

Elinore Lagman

Position: Caregiver

Organization: Irvine Cottages


Elinore is a very honest, dedicated and trustworthy caregiver. She has a huge heart and cares about both the physical needs and the emotional needs. She prides herself on knowing her residents’ specific needs, takes the time to do the little things; hair and makeup, making favorite meals and snacks, taking residents on walks to the park and many outings, performing karaoke nights singing everyone’s favorite golden oldies, organizing afternoons of competitive Bingo with fun prizes and chall ...

Stina Nur

Position: Caregiver

Organization: 123 Home Care Services Orange County


It does not take long for a client to recognize Stina as a part of their own family. She provides the highest quality of care, has an upbeat attitude, and maintains professionalism at all times. She is truly a hero to our company. We are so lucky to have her working with our clients.

Calixto Santos

Position: Outstanding Caregiver

Organization: Attentive Home Care


Calixto has shown his dedication as a caregiver to a veteran client who lives alone, and whose living conditions have greatly improved under his care. Calixto works with this veteran client with patience and perseverance: taking care of his client’s ADLs, monitoring nutrition and hydration, insuring that he lives in a safe and sanitary environment, and lending an attentive ear when his client (who has no one else to confide in) needs someone to talk to. His client has expressed gratefulness ...

Karin Malone

Position: Outstanding Caregiver

Organization: Oasis In-Home Care


Senior client, Patricia Chapman, shares her experience: “When my husband came home on hospice, it was very difficult for me, as well as all our children and grandchildren. I was so afraid to leave his side; I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat.” Many families experience this type of worry when their loved one is placed on hospice. In Patricia’s case, however, she wasn’t alone. She had outstanding caregiver, Karin Malone, who recently assisted Patricia during the difficult passing of her ...


Outstanding Social Worker(back to top)

Jean Sunwoo

Position: Care Manager

Organization: St. Jude Medical Center


One of Jean’s strengths is her ability to collaborate and excel in a fast-paced, team oriented environment while providing the highest level of patient-centered care. Every day she works tirelessly to ensure her patients are supported and know they have her as an advocate in their corner. A story that comes to mind that exemplifies Jean’s dedication to her patients deals with a complex patient who did not believe there was much left worth fighting for in life. This patient had a diagnosis as ...

Jennifer Beach

Position: Palliative Care Program Social Worker

Organization: Monarch Healthcare


Jennifer says “I have been working as a medical social worker since 2003. I have worked both inpatient and in the community visiting home of the people I serve. I love helping others, especially seniors. Many of the people I visit are isolated, depressed and in need of support. My job gives me satisfaction in knowing that I make a difference in someone’s life. I want to improve the quality of life in every one of my members.

I worked with a 65 year old homeless man who was diagnosed with s ...

Laura Valenzuela

Position: Social Worker

Organization: Healthcare Partners Long Beach


Cheryl works endlessly helping families, patients, groups, and communities to enhance their well-being and success in their health, prognosis, and healthcare goals. Cheryl finds so many different avenues to help people develop their skills and abilities through her many resources available and resolve any challenges that may be in the way.

Kathryn McRae

Position: Social Worker

Organization: Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center - Torrance


When I mentioned to different case managers and Social Workers about the senior care hero awards nomination for a Social Worker every single one at the hospital said the same name. They all agreed with me that Kathryn is an outstanding social worker and no matter the challenge or the type of obstacles, she always finds a way to help her seniors and families.

When I met with her and started to ask her about herself and told her about her nomination, her first reaction was “No, I can’t acce ...

John M. Alexander

Position: Case Manager for Continuing Care

Organization: Kaiser Permmanete


John is not just a case manager, he is an advocate for seniors. He focuses on helping connect the senior and family with the correct resources to help them have a life where they can thrive. John doesn’t hand off a case until he has ensured that he has done the best job possible for a positive outcome. This is what makes him stand out from others in his position.

I first met John in 2016 when he was working with the CCRU Team (Community Care Response Unit) of Anaheim. He was helping a number ...

Teresa Maldonado

Position: Director of Social Services

Organization: Mirada Hills Rehabilitation and Convalescent Hospital


I came to know Teresa when I came to her office one day to share some resources that she could share her patients to prepare them for discharge. This was assistance with In-Home Care services provided Accredited Home Care. She asked a lot of questions and I could see that she wanted to be sure that she was recommending a service that was going to provide by a reputable company. Her patients trusted her recommendations and she did not want to point them in the wrong direction. She was advocatin ...

Cynthia Tostado

Position: Social Worker

Organization: Leisure World, Seal Beach


As a Medical Social Worker for several hospice companies over the course of seventeen years, Cynthia had the opportunity to be a part of a person’s last journey. She told us, “It’s been a humble experience, as I had been allowed to walk with the patient and family during this sacred time. During my work as a hospice Social Worker, I discovered that I enjoyed working with the senior population, providing grief and loss counseling and finding resources for those that I was serving.”

Wor ...

 Gilbert Dorado

Position: Behavioral Health and Care Management

Organization: Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center - San Pedro


There are too many reasons why he deserves to be recognized, I cannot list all of them, but I can definitely tell you why. There are social workers and there are social workers. Among caring individuals in our lifetime Gilbert broke the mold. When he meets with a patient or their family for the first time they notice his very unique smile and approachable personality. Immediately, they feel like they’ve known him for years. No matter how challenging the situation, he always finds the solution ...


Outstanding Nurse (back to top)

Samantha Dunlow

Position: Director of Case Management

Organization: Los Alamitos Medical Center


As you can see, Samantha puts 110% in everything she does and always goes the extra mile to help others. There are so many stories that show her dedication and drive, but one story in particular stands out. When she was working as an RN, she had a patient that would come in often due to his HIV. She became friends with him as she really enjoyed helping him. He always maintained a positive outlook on everything and wanted others to be happy as well. One time, she walked in while he was vomiting a ...

Nancy Ortiz

Position: RN Case Manager

Organization: Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital Torrance


Many little girls say they want to be a nurse, but Nancy wasn’t kidding. After helping her mom after the back surgery when she was 12, she became a volunteer candy striper at a hospital at the age of 13. She enjoyed reading to the elderly and painting the older ladies’ nails to give them a little boost. Then she volunteered at the local nursing homes throughout her teen years.

Now as an RN case manager at a hospital, Nancy enjoys working with families who have elderly parents to help care ...

Adrienne Norquist

Position: Nurse Practitioner - Certified

Organization: Healthcare Partners Torrance


Adrienne always goes above and beyond with her patients. This beautiful, intelligent Nurse Practitioner shows so much compassion for the care and outcome of her patients, knows every patient and family member in their first visit, listens to her patients and families and gives state-of-art care to everyone involved. She works as a community partner and her communication skills far exceed the average healthcare provider. I wish all my kids would grow up to be like Adrienne! She is a miracle wor ...

Sandy Platamone

Position: RN Case Manager

Organization: Salus Hospice


Sandy has been known to make herself available 24/7 over a weekend, when she is technically off work if she has a patient who is near life's end. She assures the family that she will be there, and she is at precisely the right time. Sandy also advocates for hospice patients whether at home, Board and Care facilities or skilled nursing facilities to ensure that their wishes are respected and followed. She is an educator by nature, and gives all the knowledge she has away to raise up care ...

Yvonne Wu

Position: Manager for JSA team

Organization: Alignment Healthcare


Yvonne is very focused on her work and on our mission to give every senior, wherever they live, the highest quality medical care available. Her compassion shines through when she sits with a patient and family to discuss end of life and what their wishes are.
She is tireless in her work, often volunteering to see member's on the weekends if their families cannot make a week day appointment. She truly does "sacred work" every day of the week.

Dayna Ayala

Position: Director of Case Management

Organization: Fountain Valley Regional Hospital


I would like to acknowledge my boss Dayna Ayala who is the Director of Case Management and Social Services at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. I have known Dayna for several years now, and have been fortunate to have been promoted to Clinical Manager of our Case Management Department for over a year now, which has allowed me the opportunity to work more closely with her.

In this short period of time, I have observed Dayna in so many situations where she has exemplified the true spirit of Ca ...

Frances (Fran) Newhouse

Position: Nurse Case Manager / Discharge Planner

Organization: Placentia Linda Hospital


Fran has worked at Placentia Linda hospital since they first opened that's 45 years ago. She has received many awards and recognitions over the years, too many to list in this short bio. It took me a while to convince her to show them to me. I wasn’t expecting to see so many, a full box full of thank you letters, awards, certificates and even awards from CEOs and hospital management. This was impressive, but what was most impressive was the large amount of thank you cards given to her by ...

Jason Mendoza

Position: LVN

Organization: Villagio at Capriana


The words that keep coming up when people are asked to describe Jason are caring, reliable, dedicated, knowledgeable, positive and passionate. He is patient with his residents, which are comprised completely of dementia sufferers, and he is kind and compassionate with the families.


Outstanding Physician (back to top)

Dung Trinh

Position: Physician Investigator

Organization: Irvine Clinical Research/Senior Helpers Nominee


Dr. Trinh was born and raised in Vietnam during the Vietnam War years, he was the oldest of 4 children. He remembers sleeping under his bed at night in fear that the roof of his house would collapse from the fighting outside. When he was 5, living in Saigon at the time, on April 29, 1975 his family was bused to the Saigon Airport. They waited on the tarmac at the airport, when his helicopter arrived he was told to run and get in. He ran in and sat down, he said at that time he felt a sense o ...

William Shankle

Position: Medical Director

Organization: The Shankle Memory and Cognitive Disorders Center


Dr. Shankle's accomplishments alone would categorize him as a hero for anyone suffering from Alzheimer's dementia. But it would be the result of all that he has done and continues to do that qualifies him for hero status – he provides hope.

Joomo Yang

Position: Physician

Organization: Advanced Medical Home Physicians


I met Dr. Yang 16 years ago, and over this time he has been a resource and support to me and the hospice patients I serve in the the community. He not only cares for the patients he serves but will also step in and help the members of the care partners in the community. He personally facilitated the care for the grandfather of a nurse at local assisted living. This nurse was in distress because her grandfather was actively dying. Dr.Yang made time in his already busy day to see the patient and f ...

Chalat Rajaram

Position: Senior Medical Director

Organization: Vitas Healthcare


Dr. Rajaram is Vitas’s rock star! He is known throughout the senior healthcare community; when he walks into a senior community or facility, he is always greeted with hugs and excitement. People respond to his sincerity, softspokenness, humility, and kindness. He loves writing poetry for the Vitas staff and he is always the first one to sign up for the monthly in-office meditation class. Always humble, when interviewed about his work and achievements, after answering the questions, he end ...

Michael Haga

Position: Housecall Physician

Organization: Advanced Medical Home Physicians


I first met Dr Haga 13 years ago,through out those years I"ve had the privilege to work alongside him, watch him and his team deliver complex and compassionate care to his patients. Dr Haga takes the time to get to know each of those he cares for many times he becomes a voice and advocate for his patients and their families. He is loved and known for being a hugger and a hand shaker . He loves what he does and it comes across to his patients and those whom are around him. Unfortunately my ...

Brooke Nichols

Position: Physician

Organization: Healthcare Partners Long Beach


Dr. Nichols does an outstanding job with her patients on having patience, listening and helping them with their healthcare goals and what is best for their care. She is so compassionate, caring and everyone that has the chance to meet her feels so honored. Her patients love her and I think she is the best physician in all of Southern California.

Michael Tehrani

Position: Physician

Organization: Apple Health


Although Dr. Tehrani’s program has proven very successful for his patients, his vision is to expand this successful program to other doctors and healthcare practitioners. He would like the healthy aging outcomes his patients have achieved to reach all seniors. Dr. Tehrani is passionate about this mission as he is doing extensive outreach in the community and education to other physicians and health professions, especially training residents. He is a frequent speaker in the community, at hea ...

Russ Granich

Position: Chief Medical Officer

Organization: Hospice of The East Bay


This is just one of many stories that illustrate the kind of wonderful doctor Dr. Granich is. After what happened, he developed a protocol for the hospital that would allow other patients to get their final wishes met.

Mary (not her real name) was 82 when she got sick and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors were able to treat her but she ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU) on a breathing machine called a ventilator. After three weeks on the machine, the doctors told her that th ...


Outstanding Executive Director (back to top)

Josie Teehanke

Position: Owner/Operator

Organization: Alliance Senior Living and Paradise Home & Garden


When I first met Josie I was looking for a residential care home for a client. It was a challenging situation but she more than met expectations, so when a client of ours, “Bill,” an 85 year needed a miracle, we contacted Josie. Bill was a healthy, active man who had emergency surgery on his esophagus which resulted in the need for a feeding tube. This was a big shock to him and the family, there was no earlier signs of this situation and it was not being well accepted. Prior to this he was ...

Robert Do

Position: Executive Director

Organization: St. Edna Subacute and Rehabilitation Center


Robert Do has been vital to the success and patient experience at St. Edna. Each department director and team member raves how friendly, approachable, caring, and effective Robert is at his job. Robert is always available when they need help and he would do everything in his power to resolve an issue quickly and correctly – never cutting corners and always putting his patients above all else. Robert always has the patients best interest at heart and wants to make sure their stay at St. Edna me ...

Chuck Eusey

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Brookdale Brea Assisted Living


Years ago, Chuck used to take care of his Grandmother in an Assisted Living community in the Westminster area. After she passed away he felt like he was missing out on seniors so he volunteered weekly at an Assisted Living community in Irvine for about 8 months. He ran Bingo on Mondays and ate lunch with residents.
Chuck realized that he had a passion for seniors so he obtained his RCFE license, and started as the Business Office Director in a Palm Desert Senior living community and was prom ...

Art Francis

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Terrace View Care Center


Art Francis is AMAZING!!! He is positive, caring and has strong leadership skills. Art has a 30 year back ground in the health field and has a passion to help others. When I think of a Senior Care Hero, I think of Art Francis. Art is an outstanding leader who inspires his team everyday to do their best.

I am nominating Art because (story coming this week)

Alejandra Valle

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Irvine Cottages


Alex’s leadership, knowledge, innovative and positive family-centered approach have shaped and impacted many of us who have worked alongside her for the past 6 years at Irvine Cottages. We are honored to have the opportunity to learn from Alex, and look to her as a role model for what we want to be in the future. She is an honest and dedicated professional and we cannot think of another person who is more deserving of an award because, simply put, Alex is an extraordinary Executive Director.
A ...

Carole Bush

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Emerald Court


Carole has always said she wanted her community to be the Disneyland for Seniors, the Happiest Place on Earth! Following that mantra her community is very unique. Visitors always comment there is a positive, welcoming energy that people feel the moment they walk through the doors! A Veteran’s wall pays tribute to the residents and fallen hero’s honoring their service and sacrifice to our country. Her Veteran’s wall is so unique that the parent company has used her model as the prototyp ...

Randy Pesqueira

Position: Executive Director

Organization: Senior Center in Central Park


Randy has made an impact in the senior community more than anyone could imagine. As an Executive Director of the Huntington beach senior center he has helped countless of seniors in the area. As only few people know, he was in charge of securing funds and programs to build the brand-new state of the art Huntington Beach Senior center. This took more than a decade to come to fruition, but he did it. He spent countless hours using his free time, he made sure that they stay on track and stayed focu ...

Aileen Brazeau

Position: Director

Organization: San Clemente Villas by the Sea


Aileen is a sparkle girl – from her eyes, to her smiles, to her outfits, and especially her heart – she sparkles, and the residents feel it. Her love for what she does and who she serves is so genuine. For the first 2 years that the Villas were open, Aileen would take the 20 residents living at there out to eat at their favorite Chinese place – her treat! Of course, as her place filled up, it became impossible to continue doing that, but she invests in her clients in many other ways.

Aile ...


Outstanding Senior Care Professional (back to top)

Derek Mannion

Position: Owner and RCFE Administrator Certification

Organization: Alliance Eldercare Senior Placement Service



When I first met Derek, I instantly liked him! He was kind, reassuring, professional and had lots of connections to the world of senior care. I knew that this was more than a "job" to Derek when he expressed his strong love for his elderly father who was living with him.

My parents weren't quite ready to make a move at this time, but just months later, my mother was soon to be released from a Skilled Nursing Facility, and we thought she needed more care t ...

Melinda Stilwell

Position: Community Relations Specialist

Organization: Senior Helpers


When she was young, her Great Granny was in a Convalescent Home where she would go visit several times a week, she had Alzheimer’s. Her Uncle also had Alzheimer’s Disease, he was found lost outside of a grocery store and was taken to a mental hospital because there was not enough awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease at that time.
When Melinda was a teenager she would go to a Convalescent Home in Fullerton and volunteer by painting nails, doing hair, helping with crafts, and just going to ...

Patty Alexander

Position: Vice President - Placement Specialist

Organization: Care Partners At Home


I looked up the word “hero” in a dictionary and here is what I found: “A person who is admired or identified for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the actual definition because to me a hero is so much more than someone who is admired for doing great things. Let me explain. I feel a real hero is someone who does great things for others selflessly. Even if no one is watching them do it and no one will be aware of these grea ...

Cesar Delgado

Position: Senior Care Services Executive

Organization: Season of Life Consultants


After his years of service with the local Office on Aging, Cesar spent 15 years founding a non-profit serving older adults and families throughout California and he partnered with a local housing developer to build housing communities for older adults and families. Cesar's work with older adults, children and families has provided him with many life enriching experiences that have defined his career and provides the foundation for his approach to senior care.

Di Patterson, Credentialed Pro ...

Marty Burbank

Position: Founder & CEO

Organization: OC Elder Law


Marty has a heart for service. He goes above and beyond to help those in need. Just after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017. Marty received a call from a woman who said, "I heard you help seniors." Marty's response was, "yes, I try. What do you need?." The woman explained that her mother was stranded in Puerto Rico and she wanted to get her out of that mess and home with her. So Marty went into action. Marty not only few over to bring this woman ...

Judy Osuna

Position: Community Outreach

Organization: Alzheimer's Family Service Center


When I first met Judy, I immediately saw a sincere compassionate woman that displayed an unconditional love for seniors. As I spent more time with Judy, I would hear more beautiful stories of the seniors that have touched her life. She has a strong sense of faith and spirituality. She will be receiving her degree in Ministry in June. Judy is so humble and gives so freely of herself to help those that can't for care for themselves. I don’t think she realized how deeply she has touched the ...

Elaine Watrous

Position: Owner, CLPF, NCG, CSA

Organization: Elite Fiduciary Services


Years ago, Elaine Watrous was asked by her father to be the family Trustee. Not knowing what that would entail, Elaine inquired with a local law firm so she could be well educated and prepared. The law firm got to know Elaine and realized she had an accounting degree and connected with the seniors so well that they hired her to manage their Trust Administration Department.
Elaine remembers her first client, an elderly widower who was alone ... She went out of her way for him and helped him wit ...

Ellie Nixon

Position: Outreach Director



Ellie Nixon is a legend in the Orange County Senior Industry, everyone knows who she is and what she does. If you do not know Ellie then you need to get out and volunteer more helping seniors. When I told her that I was going to nominate her, she was so humbled and said that she did not want to be recognized for something that she loves to do. She told me, “I have always wanted to help families, but I found my real passion working with dementia sufferers and those who are going through that e ...