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Caring, Compassionate, Kindhearted: Busch’s 2022 Caregiver Award Winners

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For more than five years, we have been honoring the service and sacrifice of local caregivers with our Busch Caregiver Award program. End-of-life caregivers, healthcare volunteers, clergy members, and safety heroes are nominated by their community for their tireless work helping others.  

This year, we had the honor of bestowing the award upon 9 recipients in the Northeast Ohio region. The recipients enjoyed a luncheon in their honor and individual recognition for their selfless service of the community. Join us in extending congratulations to all of 2022’s winners.

Fran Ganda, Volunteer at Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, Cleveland

Fran was praised by her nominator for the tremendous amount of time she donates to the VA, totaling more than 6,400 hours!

Fran often spends several days a week volunteering at the Northeast Ohio VA in different areas, including Dementia Care, Long Term Spinal Cord, Blind Rehabilitation and Heroes Harbor, the inpatient residential hospice unit.

Her nominator said: “Mrs. Ganda truly cares for all of our veterans and their loved ones. She treats all people she encounters with respect, and is a tireless advocate for the residents on hospice, as well as all veterans receiving care at the medical center.”


Jenny LaRiccia, Director of Congregational Care and Staff Care at Bay Presbyterian Church, Bay Village

Jenny is described as a friend, role model, mentor, and shepherd by the members of her congregation and community. She is a gifted teacher to all ages and a compassionate leader in her role.

According to her nominator, “Jenny brings an element of care to everything she does! Her care for people shows through her careful listening skills, sage advice and ability to recognize what's at the root of an issue. She has a unique ability to speak the hard truth in delicate situations while still gently caring for a person.”

Irene Walters, Caregiver/Staff at Homewatch CareGivers of Westlake

When speaking of Irene, her nominator said her enthusiasm, laughter, kindness, and calming attitude sets her apart and make her a highly effective problem-solver and caregiver at Homewatch CareGivers. Her nominator added, “Irene has never met someone that she is not able to care for, reason with and or redirect. She is always flexible and willing to take on more shifts when needed. Another great quality of hers is listening, which gives her the leg up when it comes to conversation. She is always remembering what makes her clients happy when giving care.”

Irene was described as giving her whole heart and soul to every client, friend, employee and person she meets.

Lisa Schultz-Offredo, Trauma ICU RN at MetroHealth, Cleveland

Lisa’s role at MetroHealth takes her to the Trauma ICU, step-down and the burn unit, caring for patients with critical injuries, Covid and other life-threatening illnesses. She fights hard to keep her patients alive, so they can eventually go back home to their families.

Lisa’s nominator had this to say about her service: “Every patient is special to Lisa. She loves her job and her patients. She bonds with the families, keeps them informed and gives the best care possible to each and every patient. Although many patients are not awake, she talks to them as though they are having a conversation. She cleans them up and fixes their hair. Their condition may be scary for the family, but their appearance is the best it can be when Lisa is their nurse.”

Lisa puts her heart and soul into caring for her patients and treating them with dignity. This is exemplified by the many notes of thanks she receives from patients and families of the deceased, all thanking her for her excellent care.

Laurie King, Volunteer at LIFE-A Dementia Friendly Foundation, Amherst/Wellington

Laurie and her Champion Trick Master dog, Putter, seem to share the recognition from Laurie’s community for their volunteer work at LIFE interacting with the participants. Laurie creates games, exercises and other special moments for the community she serves. 

Best of all, the benefits of her work are demonstrated by the outcomes for the participants: One man barely spoke before Laurie and Putter began engaging with him, but he began singing with them and even started speaking periodically. 

Laurie’s nominator noted, “She is always looking for ways to make the day more interesting and more fun for everyone. Her influence is invaluable. Laurie is a gift to us in every sense of the word and we all look forward to her. When a new idea comes up, Laurie can turn it into a reality. She is so gifted and we are so blessed that she shares so much of her talents and abilities with us!”


Dorothy Roquemore-Burkes, In-Home Caregiver, Cleveland Eastern Suburbs

Dorothy Roquemore-Burkes has exemplified the highest qualities of a caregiving professional since beginning her caregiving career in 1983. Through her compassion and hard work, she has helped countless Cleveland seniors to remain in their homes and enjoy a much higher quality of life.  

Her nominator worked alongside Dorothy as fellow caregiver and as a client to Dorothy’s outstanding service. She had this to say: “For Dorothy, caregiving goes beyond being a job; it’s her profession and her calling. Her keen observational and other skills, years of experience and warm, compassionate presence make her an outstanding professional. I greatly valued her advice and contributions to care team meetings when my mother exhibited puzzling symptoms and behaviors that our family and other professionals could not explain. Dorothy’s observations were invaluable in recognizing how to be most supportive to Mom and also help her to continue using the daily living skills she still retained.”

Over her long career, she has made it possible for so many individuals to experience a higher quality of life, sense of well-being, and support in the comfort of their own homes and communities as they move through challenging circumstances.


Nancy Carst, Bereavement Coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron

Nancy’s decades-long career has allowed her to help innumerable children and families along the journey of a child’s serious illness, through life and death and long after.

One of Nancy’s multiple nominators said, “Her heart knows no bounds. Her unparalleled passion for her work and her ceaseless devotion to serve have benefited not only suffering families, but also professional caregivers of all disciplines and levels of training. Nancy is a gifted teacher and her generosity of spirit has enabled countless others to learn from her wisdom.”

Nancy has started and spread many programs at Akron Children's Hospital, as well as throughout the community. Beyond local borders, Nancy’s expertise is sought by practitioners from around the country who have developed their own grief support and bereavement programs with Nancy’s guidance.

A second nominator added, “She is unlike anyone I have ever known. Her strengths are ten-fold. She produces a hospital-wide remembrance service, runs support groups for grandparents, parents and families, and still has the compassion and time to sit with families for as long as they need as they navigate the depths of loss. She has created the most robust memory making program, which allows families to stay connected and close to their child who has died. Nancy is an anchor for so many of those we serve. It is a privilege to work with Nancy and to learn from her incredible amount of wisdom and experience.” 


Ellen Kolman, RN at Cleveland Clinic Pediatrics Department, Strongsville

Ellen is a pediatric registered nurse who goes above and beyond in her role at the Cleveland Clinic in Strongsville. She has worked to get free immunizations for children whose families can't afford them, has set up bike helmet safety events where children have an opportunity to get free helmets and a chance to win a new bike and has championed flu shot clinics for the pediatric population.

She is a teacher to children and their families regarding taking care of their sick loved ones over the phone or bringing them into the office to be seen by a physician.

Of her amazing efforts, Ellen’s nominator said, “Ellen is an outstanding individual and is an exceptional nurse that serves the community.”

Connie Chappell, Caregiver/Staff at Homewatch CareGivers of Westlake

Connie was described as quick to assist new clients, always receiving amazing feedback and being a stellar communicator with her team and clients at Homewatch CareGivers.

She works a more than full-time schedule and has maintained that throughout the COVID-19 crisis without faltering. 

Connie’s nominator added, “Connie is an example of what we look for in a Homewatch Caregiver, always providing exceptional service and doing so with a caring, compassionate heart. Connie is one of the most compassionate, hardworking, dedicated caregivers I have met. She is always willing to assist her clients with anything they need and build wonderful relationships that they depend on.”

Recognize an Exemplary Caregiver in Northeast Ohio

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to these outstanding caregivers!

If you want to nominate someone for the Caregiver Award, just click here. Recipients could be hospice professionals, nurses, chaplains, social workers, volunteers or anyone else who provides service and comfort in end-of-life.  

Nominate a Caregiver



Heidi Thimke
Heidi Thimke
Creates personalized and meaningful celebration of life services. Heidi’s calling is helping families pay tribute to their loved ones in meaningful ways. As a lifelong Lorain County resident, she has been involved with her hometown church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and schools. Proudly serving Busch families since 2012.

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