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A Thank You To Professional Caregivers: Busch’s 2019 Cleveland Caregiver Award Winners

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“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” –Margaret Mead

We created the Busch Caregiver Award program three years ago to recognize the service and sacrifice of individuals in our community that have taken on the responsibility of caregiving.

Our monthly program accepts nominations from patients and peers for caregivers in and around Cleveland. Nominees may be a hospice professional, physician, nurse, chaplain, social worker, clergy, deacon, volunteer or anyone else who is seen as a caregiver in our community.

While no gift could fully express our gratitude, monthly awardees are given a gift card and plaque for their commitment to serving those in need. They’re also featured in marketing collateral across Busch’s website and social media.  

As each year passes, we’re more and more humbled by the selfless acts of caregivers in our community. While this year is no exception, it wouldn’t be possible without the nominees and nominators involved. Thank you for your participation in our program. Our caring staff strives to uphold the compassion you exhibit in your line of work every day.

January Recipients: Jay and Debbie Schmitt

The January Caregiver Award was given to Jay and Debbie Schmitt from Temple B’nai Abraham. Rabbi Lauren Werber nominated the Schmitt’s saying, “Jay and Debbie are constantly caring for the seniors in our community. They’re the first to reach out and help.”

2019 Jan caregiver

February Recipient: Debbie Jones

The February Caregiver Award was given to Debbie Jones from The AbbeWood. Troy Simonson, activities coordinator, nominated Debbie saying, “I can’t tell you what I would do without Debbie. She volunteers four days a week as though she was on payroll, setting up activities for residents.”


March Recipient: Tom Mullarkey

The March Caregiver Award was given to Tom Mullarkey from L'Arche Cleveland. Executive Director April Boone nominated Tom saying, “He has a gift of making others feel appreciated, heard and loved…He’s a gift in so many ways.”


April Recipient: Jennifer Palmer

The April Caregiver Award was given to Jennifer Palmer, a pediatric registered nurse from Hospice of the Western Reserve. Michelle Miller (LISW) nominated Jennifer saying, “Thank you for your attention to the heart of what this work is all about.” 


May Recipient: Erin Hout

The May Caregiver Award was given to Erin Hout, bereavement coordinator at St. Augustine Health Ministries Holy Family Hospice. Lorene Mihalko nominated Erin saying, “Her tireless efforts in providing and promoting grief education are apparent in everything she does. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Busch Caregiver Award.”


June Recipient: Mark Telepak

The June Caregiver Award was given to Reverend Mark Telepak, chaplain at Crossroads Hospice. Kristy Holt, bereavement coordinator, nominated Mark saying, “To be able to do this type of work day in and day out for years takes not only an emotionally strong and spiritually sound person, but a truly caring and compassionate person. Mark is more than just a chaplain to these patients and their families, he is a sense of comfort.”


July Recipient: Cindy Wheatley

The July Caregiver Award was given to Cindy Wheatley, a cook at University Hospice Seasons of Life. Bereavement Coordinator Amy Quinlan nominated Cindy saying, “For the last 17 years, Cindy has served patients, families and staff, and is known for her creative recipes, famous soups and decadent desserts. She is incredibly appreciated by all who cross her path.”


August Recipient: Diann Meredith

The August Caregiver Award was awarded to Diann Meredith, Hospice of Western Reserve registered nurse at UH St. John Medical Center in Westlake. Rachel Kelch nominated Diann saying, “She is always willing to help our staff out when needed and goes above and beyond her duties. She begins and ends each day with a smile, and we’re so lucky to have her.” 


September Recipient: Rudy Breglia

The September Caregiver Award was given to Rudy Breglia from School Bus Safety Alliance. Meghan Burmeister nominated Rudy saying, “He has helped to get seat belts into buses in both Beachwood and Avon Lake. By shedding light on this accomplishment, we can not only focus on the good that he has already done, but also the good that can be done in the future by other school districts.”


October Recipient: Gail Raymond

The October Caregiver Award was given to Gail Raymond, volunteer caregiver at Lorain County’s LIFE, a Dementia Friendly Foundation at Lakeview Baptist Church. Carole Klingler nominated Gail saying, “For only working at LIFE for a little over a year, she has already made such a difference in the lives of others by helping out in just about every way possible with a positive and caring attitude.”


November Recipient: Dora Harper

The November Caregiver Award was given to Dora Harper, volunteer coordinator at VNA of Ohio. Colleagues Taissa Kutsar and Jenny Schumacher nominated Dora saying, “Our hospice staff is grateful for Dora’s availability and willingness to connect colleagues with assistance in unpredictable situations.” 


2019 Caregiver of the Year

At the end of the year, we award the Caregiver of the Year, a caring individual who has gone above and beyond. Help us in honoring Reverend and Chaplain at Crossroads Hospice Mark Telepak for the 2019 Caregiver of the Year!

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Nominate a Caregiver in 2020

From all of us at Busch, we thank each and every caring individual nominated this year for his and her hard work.

As 2019 comes to a close, we encourage you to nominate someone you know for his or her selfless work as a caregiver in 2020.




Cathy Nichols
Cathy Nichols
Considers it an honor as a Certified Celebrant to listen to life stories, and then design and conduct meaningful tributes. Cathy also trains celebrants nationally, equipping them to share those legacies in ways that comfort and enlighten. Honorably serving Busch families since 2004.

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