Arkansas Health Care Association and Arkansas Assisted Living Association Honor Top Caregivers at 15th Annual Caregiver Awards in Little Rock

The Arkansas Health Care Association and Arkansas Assisted Living Association (AHCA/AALA) honored 13 honorees at the 15th Annual Caregiver Awards. This annual event was held during National Caregiver Month to recognize caregivers who were nominated for the exceptional care they provide to patients and families across the state.

“The Caregiver Awards are the core of what we do as an organization,” said Rachel Bunch, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Care Association and Arkansas Assisted Living Association. “It’s our promise to be like family when family can’t be there, and these professionals set the standard for our mission and our purpose.”

This year’s recipient of the Administrator of the Year Award is Amber Strom from the Russellville Nursing and Rehab Center. This award honors those Administrators dedicated to the long-term care profession and the residents that are under their care.

The Emergency Preparedness Champion of the Year Award was given to Dardanelle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for their evacuation efforts during the September 2019 flooding. Vickie Kneeland, the facility’s administrator, and her team chose to evacuate every resident to nearby facilities as the river rose.

“We knew that with having 98 patients that would be a big undertaking, so that’s why we initiated our plan early and had all of our residents placed just to make sure they would be safe,” Kneeland said.

The awards were presented at a ceremony on November 19, 2019, in Little Rock. Here is a full list of the recipients:


  1. The Administrator of the Year:  Amber Strom, Russellville Nursing and Rehab Center (Russellville)
  2. Adult Volunteer of the Year: Mondalyn McCormick, White River Health Care and Rehab (Calico Rock)
  3. CNA of the Year
    1. Jessica Hutson, Greene Acres Nursing Home (Paragould)
    2. Ashleigh Patton, Alma Healthcare and Rehabilitation (Alma)
    3. Marchell Harris, River Ridge Rehabilitation and Care Center (Wynne)
    4. Jasmine Bonds, Lonoke Health and Rehab (Lonoke)
  4. Dietary Team Member of the Year: Edna Wiley, Heather Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Hope)
  5. DON of the Year: Cristy Stokes, Bailey Creek Health & Rehab (Texarkana)
  6. Environmental Services Team Member of the Year: Judy Edgin, Lakeside Nursing Center (Lake City)
  7. Group Volunteer of the Year: Little River Beauty Salon, Little River Nursing & Rehab (Ashdown)
  8. Nurse of the Year: Jim Wilbanks, Legacy Heights Nursing & Rehab (Russellville)
  9. Team Member of the Year: Jan Parsons, Twin Rivers Health & Rehabilitation (Arkadelphia)
  10. Emergency Preparedness Champion of the Year: Dardanelle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Dardanelle)

For more information about AHCA/AALA and its members visit

About AHCA: Established in 1951, Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA) is the state’s largest organization of long-term care providers, representing more than 90% of the licensed long-term care facilities in Arkansas. Its responsibilities are to educate, inform and represent members and member facilities before government agencies, other trade associations, and related industries.

About AALA: AALA is dedicated to establishing the highest standards of excellence for assisted living professionals providing housing, assisted living and related services to Arkansas seniors. AALA strives to ensure the right of every Arkansas senior who needs daily assistance to receive the highest quality care in a choice-driven, dignified, safe and clean environment, and to promote independence and maintain the highest quality of life. We believe that our seniors should feel that they are “living in their own home.”