Even under the best of circumstances, achieving excellence is a difficult task for any workplace. The staff and residents at Ecumen-Detroit Lakes, however, earned their 2016 Excellence in the Workplace Award from LeadingAge Minnesota under particularly trying conditions: A grueling, two-year expansion and remodeling project that was a test of endurance, patience and compassion.

“Every one of you stuck with us through the difficult times… thank you to everybody who struggled along with us,” said Ecumen-Detroit Lakes Executive Director Janet Green at Tuesday’s award celebration with staff, residents, friends and family.

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Though it meant a lot to receive the accolades of their peers at the LeadingAge Minnesota 2016 Institute in St. Paul last week, Ecumen’s administrative team “had to bring the celebration back here for all of us,” Green said, adding that it was an honor meant to be shared by everyone at Ecumen – administrators, staff, volunteers and residents alike.

The Excellence in the Workplace Award “is a statewide award,” Green noted, which is given annually by LeadingAge Minnesota, an organization representing more than 1,000 older adult service providers across the state.

It is one of several honors given out by LeadingAge as part of its “Stars Among Us” awards program, which recognizes and celebrates not only organizations, but individual caregivers, volunteers and leaders among its membership.

Also present for Tuesday’s celebration were several local, county and state officials, including Minnesota Senator Kent Eken (D-Twin Valley), who lauded Ecumen for “the important and wonderful work you are doing… to ensure that everyone (in the community) has a better quality of life, and that no one is left behind.”

“You have a lot to be proud of here,” he added. “This is a well deserved award.”

Eken pledged to continue working toward providing a dedicated funding source for long-term care across the state.

“If anybody needs constitutionally dedicated and protected funding, it’s those who are in need of long term care,” he said.

Detroit Lakes Vice Mayor Ron Zeman praised the facility and its staff for the service it provides, noting that “your love and compassion for the people you serve shines through every day. Caring for those in need is a big job… the care you give should never be taken for granted. You make more of a difference than you’ll ever know.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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