Distinguished Service Awards

We are so proud of the many successes that  our members have achieved, through their work as individuals and as groups, to support our shared mission of improving nonprofit senior services in Pennsylvania. Recognizing the need to showcase the exemplary work of our members, we created the LeadingAge PA Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) program in 1973.

These LeadingAge PA awards, presented in June during the annual conference in Hershey, gives our membership the opportunity to share the tremendous work individual members and member organizations have performed to enhance the field of aging services through their involvement, innovation, leadership, or advocacy, as well as their personal or organizational generosity. Not only have these members raised the bar through their daily interactions with residents, families, and co-workers, but they also have set the new standard for excellence in senior services throughout Pennsylvania.  


Each of our Distinguished Service Awards focuses on a different aspect of service. With so many talented and noteworthy recommendations, our awards task force spends many hours every year weighing the merits of all nominees. We are excited to present this year's exemplary DSA winners who set a new standard for excellence in senior services throughout Pennsylvania!  

Paul P. Haas Lifetime Achievement Award: LeadingAge PA's most prestigious award is presented to a distinguished individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, service, and commitment to the association and across the state to positively impact and advance the field of aging services. Congratulations to this year's winner, Susan Cooper Drabic, NHA, MPH, president and CEO of Morningstar Living!

Leader of the Year: This LeadingAge PA award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in  management or governance accountability, is proactive in quality of care to residents and has played a pivotal role in overall operations leading to organizational success. Phoebe Ministries' vice president of pharmacy services, Cynthia Richart, RPh, is this year's winner. Congratulations! 

Manager of the Year: This award is presented to an outstanding mentor who has nurtured, coached, counseled and encouraged others in order to help them develop personally and professionally as an individual and/or as part of a team. Hats off to Rachel Gullett, RN and director of nursing for Phoebe Richland - part of Phoebe Ministries, this year's recipient!

Innovation of the Year: LeadingAge PA's Distinguished Service Award for Innovation of the Year recognizes a program or service that is a model of innovation and excellence and that contributes significantly to the quality of life of individuals served. This year's winner is the Fellowship Community's Magical Memory Table.  Congrats!

Volunteer of the Year - Individual or Group: This award recognizes an individual or group that has enhanced the quality of life of seniors through volunteer work for the benefit of the residents, member organizations and / or greater community. For 2021, we are blessed to have two deserving awardees, Carolyn Rutherford, a longtime volunteer at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village, and Brethren Village Grocery Stores, an all-volunteer run service for Brethren Village residents. Congratulations!

Caregiver of the Year - Licensed: The LeadingAge PA award for licensed caregiver of the year recognizes a licensed staff member who provides excellent clinical care to his or her residents, while demonstrating leadership and a commitment to the field of long-term care nursing. Congrats to Linnie Clark, RN, and clinical coordinator for Morningstar Living, this year's winner!

Caregiver of the Year - Direct Care: LeadingAge PA's award for direct caregiver of the year recognizes a caregiver who serves as a model of commitment to compassionate care. We are pleased to honor Gisela Dietrich, CNA, at the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg, with the 2020 award. Congratulations!

Staff Member of the Year: This Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who has exhibited excellence within his or her role and enhanced a member organization through exceptional service to staff, residents and families. Hats off to this year's winner, Wilfredo Macatantan, a housekeeping associate at Pine Run Community!


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