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Chishti named 24th recipient of Joseph and Eleanor Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award

It’s often said that food is the way to a person’s heart, specifically, the love and thoughtfulness served alongside each meal. For over 11 years, Mohammed Chishti, a dining server at the Overland Park Continuing Care Retirement Community Village Shalom, has dedicated himself to ensuring residents get the most out their dining experience.

On Friday, Jan. 25, Chishti received long-deserved recognition when he was named the 24th recipient of Village Shalom’s Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award.   

Dan Jones (right) congratulates Mohammed Chishti (left), the 24th recipient of the Wolff Award. 

The Joseph and Eleanor Wolff Excellence in Care Giving Award was established by the Wolff family in 2007. Eleanor Wolff was a resident in Village Shalom’s Weinberg Health Center prior to her passing in 2006. 

Wolff’s sons were so pleased with the extraordinary kindness and wonderful care she received, that they established a fund to reward outstanding Village Shalom employees who directly serve the needs of Village Shalom skilled nursing residents. 

The award provides a $750 cash prize, a statuette and a permanent place on the Wolff Award recipient wall in the Weinberg Health Center. The fund will recognize two winners a year for a total of 25 years. 

“I was very surprised to win this award, I kept asking if there might be a mistake,” said Chishti. “I love the work I do for the residents at Village Shalom. They bring me more joy than I could ever bring them.”

Chishti has gotten to know each resident he works with in the Health Center Dining Room. He modifies his approach based on each individual’s needs and preferences and takes the time to confirm each resident’s food selections. He provides the Dining Services Department with valuable feedback that has helped improved the department’s processes over the years.

“Mohammed is a true servant to our residents,” said Dan Jones, Village Shalom Director of Dining Services. “He often arrives early to work so he can visit with residents to check in on them. It’s very clear by Mohammed’s demeanor just how much he enjoys serving our residents.”

Chishti was selected from a field of 10 candidates. The other nominees were Meskerem Yacob, Peggy Lewis, Colette Ferrari, LaTonia Harden, Araceli Gartner, Ronda Lash, John Lash, Anne Allen and Heidi Kaiser. Nominees are selected by fellow employees, skilled nursing residents, their family members, board members, volunteers and other visitors. The Management Team serves as the award’s selection committee. 

“We continually receive accolades about Mohammed from residents and staff,” Jones said on behalf of the Management Team. “His calm nature and attention to detail is exemplary. We are proud to have Mohammed on our team, he is a true ambassador for our residents.”

Nominees must meet several criteria to be eligible to receive the award. The candidate must put the needs of residents first, focus on resident-centered care, actively observe Residents’ Rights, be a demonstrated team player, go “above and beyond’ in all interactions, and actively “live the mission” by providing the highest quality of care to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of residents. Chishti was nominated for the award by Shelley Wertz, Village Shalom Executive Assistant and the Management Team.   

“Mohammed is reliable, hardworking and so kind,” said Wertz. “He is thoughtful about the care he provides to the residents in the dining room of Health Center. If one of them needs something, he is happy to ensure it is there for them.”