Denita Thomas, assisted living medical records coordinator at St. Joseph of the Pines, has received the Hero Award from the North Carolina Assisted Living Association (NCALA).

The association annually presents three Hero Awards to direct caregivers who exhibit exemplary service and care in protecting each resident’s right to privacy, fostering independence, nurturing the spirit of, and promoting the individuality of each resident.

Thomas said the honor took her by surprise.

“I was very shocked to have been chosen for this award,” she said. “I really appreciate the residents for depending and counting on me for many years here at St. Joseph of the Pines. I couldn’t ask for a better or more fulfilling job.”

NCALA President Frances Messer said she was “honored to present this award to such a deserving individual.”

“Denita is truly a role model and well-respected in this community,” Messer said.

Kimberly Morton, director of assisted living at St. Joseph of the Pines, said nominating Thomas for the award was an easy decision.

“Denita understands the complexity of caring for older adults,” Morton said. “She stands out among her peers as someone who is committed to serving not only the residents and their families but the community as a whole. Denita is compassionate, patient, and full of grace.”

Morton added that Thomas is “a stellar example of a team player.”

“Her peers would agree that she comes to work each day with a fresh set of eyes and ears, actively pursuing ways to assist others in performing their best because she is genuinely interested in the well-being of each colleague and resident in the community,” Morton said. “She has even been known to take the medication cart for colleagues who were pursuing a higher education and needed to leave early to attend class.”

Thomas will receive a certificate from the governor’s office at the NCALA Fall Conference next month in Winston-Salem.

St. Joseph of the Pines is an aging services network offering a full continuum of retirement housing, health care and community-based services for older adults as well as community outreach to those in need. It is a Trinity Health Senior Community continuing the legacy of the Sisters of Providence.

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