Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation (CVHR) just announced the winners of its Covid-19 Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Championship Contest this week. Winners won dinner for four from program sponsor, Italia Mia Restaurant located in New Milford, CT, in addition to beach bags filled with goodies, Dunkin’ Donuts certificates and more.

The contest was offered up to the staff at CVHR, as well to the community at large. Nearly one hundred nominations were received from Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital – as well as from doctors’ offices and nursing organizations located throughout Litchfield, Fairfield and New Haven counties. The contest was promoted via local newspaper, social media, and direct mail to healthcare organizations.

“CVHR developed the program to recognize all of the CNA’s who have been showing up day after day, putting themselves and their families at risk, to take care of others. To acknowledge the enormous strain of working under the conditions created by the coronavirus in order to keep our communities safe,” stated David Segal, CVHR Administrator.

Those nominated with distinction for the CNA Championship Contest by their fellow employees and/or supervisors include: Heather Hayden, Shiya McCrea, Caitlin Bailey, Breana Welsh, Angel Walker, Nikki Whitlock, Daniel Lima, Angela Roveto, Sejla Ceric, Jeremy Llivicura, Sly Chavarria, Chrissy Clark, Tabitha Williams, Jordan Satagaj, Rosie Ivery, Krystyne Calubaquib, Malaysia McCrea, Savannah Yeomans, Ginny Hart, and Pam Gasper.

CNA’s who won beach bags filled with goodies for “going above and beyond the call of duty” from Danbury Hospital, Yale New Haven Hospital and CVHR include Cathy Koproski, Leila Gomes, Yvettes Hayles, and Jaclyn Nold, Janette Somers and Brian Holden.

The healthcare professionals who received the final championship gift of a dinner for 4 from Italia Mia, a bottle of champagne and a beach bag of goodies, for “excellence in care,” where CNA, Jenny Penaranda of CHVR of New Milford, CT, healthcare companion, Sarah Goanne, of VNA Home of New Milford, CT and CNA, Olivia Alessandro of Yale New Haven Hospital of New Haven, CT.

“The nominees that came in from our community healthcare organizations, including local hospitals, doctor offices and nursing associations were eye-opening to review. To learn of the massive dedication and teamwork that is occurring all around us in the healthcare field was uplifting to say the least, especially during such a time of crisis. The fact that supervisors took the time to draft these nominations is an enormous reflection of how much they respect and appreciate their support staffs. Patients should read these nominations!” Sarah Christopher, CVHR, Assistant Director of Nursing.

“The CNA’s I nominated have been true heroes, champions and the lifeline between the residents and the nurses throughout this COVID-19 period. They have been amazing, supportive, fearless and strong,” Lori Graves, CVHR Charge Nurse.

Nichole Brant, VNA Home, Program Director said, “One of the reasons Sarah Goanne, of VNA Home, was nominated was because she was the first inline to join our COVID Ready Team, which was made up of caregivers who would care for COVID-positive patients. What’s more, her uncle was diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID and is still on a ventilator until this day due to the virus. Yet that has never negatively impacted Sarah’s exceptional performance. She always has a smile on her face and shows up for work with a positive demeanor.”

“As a CNA it takes hard work, compassion and empathy. There is not one day that goes by that I wonder how the CNA’s do all the work that is assigned to them. At times it is a thankless job as well as emotional and downright frustrating. One wants to do the best but there are not enough hours in the day. It is so heartwarming to see and be able to sit with patient and just hold their hand or listen to a story for the tenth time. I would like to Thank all of the CNA’s for their dedication to this profession,” states Cindy LaCour, CVHR Social Service, Director.

Keira and Kaleigh Frame nominated fellow student, Olivia Alessandro who is a CNA at Yale New Haven Hospital because, “during this time of global uncertainty Olivia continues to remain certain and driven in her studies and in her work as a CNA. Her lifetime goal has been to help patients and she has completed over four hundred and seventy-five hours of training and over sixty hours of clinical experience to become a CNA. She was one of two students selected by her superior to work as an intern during this pandemic at Yale. We are all amazed at her discipline, dedication and fearlessness in working as tirelessly as she does.”

“There is no instruction manual on how to deal with the COVID outbreak, that we all have encountered, you just have to rely on having a great team of nurses and CNA’s,” Georgia Epting Admission Coordinator, CVHR.

Quinn Fusco, CVHR Director of Nursing, “Without CNA’s like our contest champion, Jenny Penaranda, we wouldn’t be able to make it through this health crisis. Jenny embodies what we need and want in a CNA. She is an exceptional employee. Our residents and our staff all agree that she’s the one most deserving of this award at our facility.”

“I can’t think of one CNA who doesn’t give it their all, but when you catch a glimpse of one, after their shift has ended going back to check on a beloved patient, or see one rubbing lotion into the tired feet of a patient that isn’t even on their unit, you know they are special. You know they are driven by their heart and it warms yours,” Kathleen Horvath, CVHR, Director of Recreation.

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