Kaela Leasman Named JWCC/Community CNA of the Year

Kaela Leasman of St. Vincent’s Home in Quincy has been named John Wood Community College and Community Health Care Agencies Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) of the Year for 2019.

Kaela received the award during a luncheon held Friday at the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center. 

The event was co-sponsored by JWCC and Community Health Care Agencies that recognized 10 area CNAs nominated for the honor. Lynn Niewohner, retired director of the West Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, served as emcee.  This year marks the 24th anniversary of the local CNA of the Year celebration. The theme for the celebration is "Angels of Healthcare.”

CNAs provide personal assistance with a wide array of daily activities and also strive to meet the physical, emotional and social needs of those for whom they care every day. 

“The CNA of the Year recognition award was established to honor local Certified Nurse Assistants, our ‘Angels of Health Care’, for their contributions to the care and well-being of the ill and the elderly,” said Dr. Laura Routh, Administrative Chair for Health Sciences.  “Successful CNAs are those individuals who are compassionate, caring and flexible, and understand that each individual in their care has unique needs and personalities.  As a front-line care giver, CNAs develop very special relationships with those in their care. There is a great deal of pride and deep satisfaction that comes from knowing they make a difference each day in the lives of others.” 

As the 2019 JWCC/Community CNA of the Year, Leasman received a plaque, $300 and a variety of gifts donated by local businesses.  A traveling plaque will hang in St. Vincent’s Home during the coming year and her name will be added to the JWCC CNA plaque.

In addition to the CNA of the Year award, there were two subcategories that were awarded for 2019. Most Compassionate Essay was presented to Virginia Householder of Good Samaritan Home in Quincy, and Best Interview was presented to Terri Clayton of the Illinois Veterans’ Home.

Each of the other nine nominees received a small cash prize and gifts donated by local businesses. The nominees were as follows:

  • Kialee Jeffers of New Canton, nominated by Barry Community Care Center
  • Peggy Tarr of Quincy, nominated by Blessing Hospital
  • Angel Eldridge of Plymouth, nominated by Golden Good Shepherd Home
  • Virginia Householder of Quincy, nominated by Good Samaritan Home
  • Terri Clayton of Quincy, nominated by Illinois Veterans’ Home
  • Heather McBride of Pearl, nominated by Liberty Village of Pittsfield
  • Elizabeth Freeman of Mendon, nominated by North Adams Home
  • Opal McCafaferty of Quincy, nominated by Sunset Home
  • Beth Griswold of Quincy, nominated by Supportive Living for Seniors

"Employment opportunities for CNAs are excellent throughout the region," Routh said. "Earning a CNA certificate from John Wood Community College and becoming a part of the rapidly growing healthcare industry can be done in one eight-week session. Classes are available in both daytime and evening sessions, and start at several points throughout the year.”

More information about upcoming CNA classes and career opportunities can be found atwww.jwcc.edu/academics/degrees/nursing-cna/or by calling 217-641-4334.

John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees and certificates and personal enrichment courses.

Learn more at: www.jwcc.edu.