G.A. Family Services Honors Staff at Award Ceremony

Administration at Lutheran and G.A. Family Services honored various employees who demonstrated dedication and strong leadership as well as act as role models within their departments. Five employees were honored this month at a company retreat and award ceremony held at G.A. Learning Center surrounded by peers and program managers.

“Year after year, our youth services staff continue to amaze and impress us,” said Tom Holt, president and CEO of Lutheran and G.A. Family Services. “Whether they work for the school, our residential treatment program, or with foster care and adoption families, our staff make a big difference in the lives of children every day. These individuals in particular stand out on a regular basis and deserve credit where it is due,” said Holt. Award recipients were as follows:

James Brentley, Shift Supervisor, was the recipient of the Ernest N. Bastian Award. Ernie Bastian was one of the first Child Care Counselors at the Children’s Home. He was a great role model and mentor to many staff and youth. The Ernest N. Bastian Award is presented to a person who demonstrates excellence in childcare, demonstrates excellent communication skills, advocates for youth, and maintains a positive attitude throughout the year. This is James’ second consecutive year receiving this honor.

Victoria Boria, Teacher at G.A. Learning Center, was the recipient of the Harry J. Sands Award. Harry Sands was the founder of the G.A. Learning Center and was the Director of Education for many years. The Harry J. Sands Award is presented to a person who demonstrates excellence in education, demonstrates a strong commitment to learning both academically and behaviorally, is a positive role model, and achieves multiple goals and milestones throughout the school year.

Abigail Pickert, Resource Aide with G.A. Learning Center, was the recipient of the Lion of the North Award. The Lion of the North Award is presented to a person who demonstrates strong leadership, character, innovation, and sets an example for safety. The award and associated criteria were selected in honor of the G.A. namesake: Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus.

Ericka Garcia-Allison, Assisted Director of Community Based Services, was the recipient of the Lutheran Experience Award. This award is given to an employee who exemplifies all 25 of Lutheran and G.A.’s core values.

Christine Grys, Caseworker for the Regional Permanency Program, was the recipient of the Ann McInerney Award. Ann McInerney was one of the creators of the Therapeutic Foster Care Program for G.A. Family Services and was a great leader, advocate, and role model to our staff, youth, and families. The Ann McInerney award is presented to an individual who demonstrates excellence in the foster care program through advocacy, relationship building, and leadership.

“Congratulations to all of our award recipients and to all of the staff at G.A. Family Services for hard and rewarding work they do every day,” said Karl Wiggins, vice president of G.A. Family Services. “We are blessed to have them with us,” he said. All award recipients were nominated by their peers or managers with a selection committee reviewing and selecting the winners.