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Three Village Shalom staff members receive top year-end honors

Village Shalom’s annual employee holiday party was particularly memorable for Erika Murphy, Logan Cox and Mike Rubaie – Village Shalom’s three staff members who were crowned Employee of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Allen and Gloria Block “Champion of Culture Change.”  

“Our staff is the heart of Village Shalom,” said Karen Glickstein, Village Shalom Board Chair. “When we talk to residents and their families about their experience at Village Shalom we repeatedly hear about the interactions between our employees and the residents that truly make a difference in the quality of residents’ lives. Hearing these stories reaffirms why Village Shalom truly is a home for our residents and recognizing and honoring our staff each month, and again at the end of the year, is so important to our mission.”

The Employee and Rookie of the Year awards are made possible through the Charles M. Helzberg Employee Recognition Fund. Helzberg established the fund in 2000 to recognize exemplary Village Shalom staff members by honoring 12 long-term Employees and 12 Rookies of the Month throughout the year – serving as the nomination pool for the year-end honors.

“It is a great blessing to have the opportunity to recognize our incredible staff members each year,” said Matt Lewis, Village Shalom President and CEO. “Although it’s always difficult to select only three, we are so grateful for Charlie’s generosity which allows us to reward our deserving employees.”

Employee of the Year – Erika Murphy

Erika Murphy has served as Village Shalom’s warm, welcoming presence for six years. The community’s daytime receptionist, Murphy is the voice of Village Shalom and the face for all who come and go. She is a resident go-to resource, fielding questions and walking residents through their questions with grace and patience. This has helped form tight bonds, and Murphy is often found spending her lunch hour off-the-clock with the residents she serves.      

I was so honored to win. So many great employees were up for the award this year, so when I saw my name and picture on the screen, I truly was so surprised,” said Murphy. “One thing is for sure though, I haven’t been able to get that smile off my face since the day I won.”

When Village Shalom switched its phone system in summer 2018, Murphy assumed the lead role, always willing to provide extra training for team members who struggled to grasp the change. 

“Erika embraced the phone system change with patience, humor and willingness to learn,” said Lora Baugher, Village Shalom Director of Information Technology. “She was the front line for calls from residents who were confused or unsure about the change and did an amazing job in ensuring a very smooth transition.”

As Employee of the Year, Murphy received a statuette and a check for $5,000.


Rookie of the Year – Logan Cox 

Logan Cox has spent every moment of his first 10 months as a programs coordinator at Village Shalom, going beyond the call of duty and getting to know the preferences of each individual resident.

Cox often receives compliments about his caring attitude and willingness to help out in any way possible.

“Since Logan’s been with Village Shalom, I’ve noticed his extra efforts in getting to know each resident’s needs, likes and dislikes,” said Zenette Kearney, Village Shalom Programs Manager. “Logan doesn’t just bond with the residents on his unit, he makes it his business to get to know each resident in all units.”

Cox also extends a helping hand to the social services, security and admissions departments, and approaches his work with his signature outgoing, caring and gentle personality.

“I am so thrilled to accept this award,” said Cox. “I work with a great team and am thankful that I get to come in everyday to help better the lives of all residents here at Village Shalom.”

As Rookie of the Year, Cox received a statuette and a check for $1,000. 


Allen and Gloria Block “Champion of Culture Change” – Mike Rubaie

The Block Family established the “Champion of Culture Change” Award in 2008, in conjunction with the Menorah Heritage Foundation. The award honors an exceptional Village Shalom staff member dedicated to the concept of “culture change” – an industry term for improving resident quality of life by developing deep relationships with residents and transforming their physical environment into a home-like setting where they can feel independent and supported to choose how they’ll live each day.

Mike Rubaie has spent the last 11 years getting to know Village Shalom’s residents and staff on a personal basis as a security officer.

“Mike is always willing to help anybody at any time,” said Angela Crooks, Village Shalom Security Manager. “His level of compassion for residents is over the top. Mike is a great role model for everyone at Village Shalom.”

Rubaie can strike up an engaging and neighborly conversation with anyone as he graces Village Shalom’s campus, ensuring the safety of everyone on it.

"I was shocked to win such a prestigious award and am very thankful to those who nominated me,” said Rubaie. “I look forward to continue providing my best efforts for my coworkers and residents for many years to come.”

As “Champion of Culture Change,”Rubaie received a statuette and a check for $1,000.