The first of April last year was a special date for CHHSM member Oak Meadows Senior Living in Oakdale, Minn. Not only was the date the 20th anniversary of Oak Meadows’ service to the community, but it also was “Oak Meadows Day” in Oakdale. The mayoral proclamation was just one of a collection of awards garnered by the senior living community over the past two years.
The awards — which include Best Assisted Living and Best Senior Retirement Community in the local Woodbury Magazine and Best Nonprofit by the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce, among others — total almost a dozen garnered since 2017. Additionally, Deborah Veit, executive director, completed CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute in 2018 and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister at last year’s Annual Gathering.
“We are humbled and honored” to be recognized by so many organizations in the community, says Kim Utecht Prayfrock, director of community relations.
The accolades make staff and residents alike burst with pride. Residents “feel proud to be living her,” says Utecht Prayfrock. “I can walk down the hall with a prospective resident, and inevitably, I will run into someone who lives here [who will] talk about Oak Meadows being a home.”
Utecht Prayfrock says the affirmation just fuels the employees’ passion to do better. “The recognition helps us realize that we are doing a good job,” she says, “and are making a difference in people’s lives.”
Evidence of that realization, says Utecht Prayfrock, is in the number of long-term employees at Oak Meadows, many exceeding 15 years of service.
But perhaps the most beneficial of all are the relationships among residents and staff alike. “The best part, on both sides, is the friendships we make with each other,” Prayfrock says. “Even though we are a business, we make sure we all take care of each other.”
Quoting a former boss, Prayfrock adds, “It’s a rare person who can take hearts while also taking care of business. Because at the end of the day, we are a business — and we have lots of hearts to take care of!”