Vivid orange sneakers may not be the norm in a nursing home but residents look forward to seeing these shoes; it means Gayle Mountain is there to advocate on their behalf. Gayle has been a certified ombudsman with the Pasco and North Pinellas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council for almost four years and her efforts are being recognized. This year, she has been selected by her local and state peers to receive the Don Hering “Excellence in Advocacy Award.” Her dedication is apparent in her smiling face, signature orange shoes, and numerous hours advocating for elders and others who live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult family-care homes that may not otherwise have a voice. Gayle has traveled over 5,301 miles, devoted 815 hours, and investigated 85 complaint cases in the past year, and she’s not slowing down! Gayle and her fellow volunteers investigate concerns including abuse, lack of dignity and respect, lack of assistance, food issues, and violations of basic rights.
During National Volunteer Week, Gayle Mountain was honored with the Don Hering “Excellence in Advocacy Award”. There were several special guests in attendance including Liz Hittos, the District Director to Congressman Gus Bilirakis (9th District), Jared Ochs, the Legislative Assistant to State Representative Richard Corcoran (District 45), and State Senator Mike Fasano (District 11). Liz Hittos and State Senator Fasano both spoke to the group praising Gayle's accomplishment and thanking all the volunteers for their wonderful work.
After the announcement, volunteer appreciation continued. Each volunteer was presented with gifts from District Manager Lynn Penley, special recognition from Communities for a Lifetime, and special letters from State Representative Richard Corcoran. State Senator Mike Fasano shook each volunteer's hand and thanked them all for their special work.
Thank you Gayle Mountain and all the Pasco and North Pinellas volunteer ombudsmen, for your work to advocate for the health, safety, welfare, and rights of long-term care facility residents!
|(L-R) Carol Weideman, Gayle Mountain, Don Hering|
|(L-R) State Senator Mike Fasano, Gayle Mountain|
|(L-R) Liz Hittos, the District Director to Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Gayle Mountain|
|(L-R) Jared Ochs, the Legislative Assistant to State Representative Richard Corcoran, Liz Hittos, the District Director to Congressman Gus Bilirakis, State Senator Mike Fasano|
|(L-R) District Manager Lynn Penley, Gayle Mountain|
|Pasco and North Pinellas Council and special guests|