Park Place’s Kunkel honored with Spirit of Hospitality

Monday, September 16, 2019
(Photo Contributed) Doris Kunkel was recently presented with the Spirit of Hospitality Award from Avera Health Systems. She serves as a resident companion with Park Place Estates, who nominated her for the honor. From left, Bob Sutton, Avera Health president and CEO; Dr. Merritt G. Warren, Avera Health board chair; Park Place Estate Companion Doris Kunkel; and Sister Debra Kolecka, OSB, chair of the Avera System members.

LE MARS — For 14 years, Doris Kunkel has served as a resident companion for Park Place Estates assisting residents with daily living activities.

In August, Kunkel was one of several recipients across the Avera Health Systems family to be honored with an Avera Caring Spirit Award.

Kunkel had been nominated by Sandra Reuter, Park Place Estates director, for Avera’s Spirit of Hospitality Award.

“I am very flattered to be recognized for what I love to do most — to care for the elderly and give them the best care they deserve in life,” Kunkel said.

In Reuter’s nomination of Kunkel for the award, she wrote, “Her dedication to the residents living there has provided a consistent quality of life for them and a familiar face to provide peace of mind for them and their family members.”

In addition to being there for the residents and family members, Reuter made sure to note the other ways she has stepped up to become what she cites as an, “extremely valuable employee.”

Reuter noted instances of filling in for housekeeping, saying the blessing before the meal, organizing the facility whether it be a closet or the garage, handles the seasonal decorating of the facility turning even the dining room into a home-like atmosphere, amongst many other duties.

“Doris Kunkel is truly the kind of employee that everyone wishes they had on staff. She is always on the look out to help others, kind with an emphasis on happy. I am sure she would tell you that there are others who should get the award before her, that she is just doing her job, but I can tell you that she is a treasured gift from God and we are so glad she chose to bestow her gifts on Park Place,” Reuter concluded.

Kunkel said she first received the opportunity to enter the healthcare field 33 years ago as a nurse’s aide. That opportunity led her to spend 18 years at Happy Siesta. After taking time off to care for her mother-in-law who had cancer, she spent a few years working the home care field prior to joining Park Place Estates.

“Back in my younger days, 10-12 years old, I took care of my grandma when she was ill, helping out on summer vacations with daily house and person cares. I remember her smiles and thank you’s from her and my dad and how that made me feel,” Kunkel stated.

“I have always been proud of my career choice. I have not considered this ‘a job’ but a rewarding opportunity to care for others who are unable to care for themselves. My residents are my world. They are always on my mind — on the clock and off,” she concluded.

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