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2023 Golden Cross Award winners are compassionate caregivers

Posted: February 28 2024 at 07:52 AM
Author: Amy Reimer, Older Adult Ministries Chair

Five exemplary leaders in senior services have been recognized with Northern Illinois Conference’s Golden Cross awards. 

Each year, donations to Golden Cross Sunday offerings fund grants for deserving workers in senior-serving institutions to further their service among older adults. Pong Javier, Deaconess Martha Lundgren, and Deaconess Joy Hayag, members of the annual conference Older Adult Ministry Committee, presented this year’s awards to these deserving recipients. 

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Jillian Price and Lana Pearson
Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center 

Jill started serving at Oak Crest in March 2013 as a housekeeper. In addition to her positive attitude and strong sense of professionalism, Jill has always been known to connect on a deeper level with her clients. 

Lana started working at Oak Crest in February 2000 as a certified nursing assistant. Providing unmatched care and services, Lana goes above and beyond to recognize each person’s individuality.”  

Jill and Lana now coordinate the Oak Crest Salon and the bustling community hub that it has become, said Elizabeth Hoppenworth, resident services administrator for Oak Crest DeKalb. 

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Chaplain Melanie Myatt
Bethany Methodist 

As chaplain at Bethany Methodist, “Melanie provides spiritual care for residents, clients and employees,” said Sunny Lopez, president and chief executive officer of Bethany Methodist. “She is known for her calm and comforting presence in all that she does.’’ 

It is one of Chaplain Melanie’s greatest joys “to companion with those who are searching for meaning and exploring their spirituality,” Ms. Lopez observed. 

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Jobert Dulay
Chicago Methodist Senior Services 

Jobert started working at CMSS in 2017 as a nurse. He has since received his doctorate as a nurse practitioner and now serves as the director of nursing at Harwell House, CMSS’s dementia facility. He uses his knowledge and strong dedication to others to support the residents in his care. “Residents, family members, and staff love and respect him,” said Rose Policarpio, chief executive officer of United Methodist Healthcare Recruitment.

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Ashley Pinedo-Belmontes
Wesley Willows

Ashley serves as an integral part of the dining team at Peterson Meadows/Wesley Willows. She is known as a leader in the kitchen, training new staff and helping others as needed. She always goes above and beyond to help her colleagues. Coworkers say that by keeping track of the residents’ birthdays and making them feel special on their day, Ashley inspires seniors to celebrate life. 

Across The United Methodist Church, Golden Cross Sunday gifts focus on the work of annual conference health-and-welfare ministries and institutions. In the Northern Illinois Conference, this offering supports older adult ministries. The Older Adult Ministries Committee administers the collected funds. 

Please observe Golden Cross Sunday on May 5. For more information on how to celebrate this Special Sunday and the work of the Older Adult Ministry Committee, please contact Deaconess Amy Reimer (OAM chairperson) at or (847) 691-8903. 

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