2024 Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award Finalists Celebrated

SWJ Mission Award Winner Chris Gebhart poses with Keith Frndak, Rachelle Arnold, Tracey Johnson and Jim Limaugh

On Saturday, June 22, 2024, Concordia Lutheran Ministries announced the recipient of the organization’s highest employee honor, the Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award, at a banquet and ceremony held in celebration of the award’s 35 finalists.

The award was created by an employee-led committee to honor Concordia’s late Chairman of the Board of Directors, Stephen W. Johnson, who served at Concordia for 19 years before passing away in 2020. He was a visionary man of great faith and wisdom who guided Concordia in keeping its mission the top priority, and the award will preserve his memory and promote the recognition of employees’ Christ-like hearts.

From Concordia’s total 3,500 employees (in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida), 68 total nominees received a collective 92 nominations from community members, patients, residents and colleagues. A selection panel for the award blindly judged the nominations, ending with 35 finalists, including 10 honorable mentions, four spotlight honorees and one winner:

Christine “Chris” Gebhart, the activities director for Concordia at Villa St. Joseph.

Chris has been working with residents since 1997, and she has made a difference in countless lives. In her current role as activities director, she fosters relationships with residents and patients at the facility as well as their families, getting to know each individual’s likes and dislikes. She creates schedules of activities with her team that interest, educate and enhance the lives of those in her care. Those who nominated Chris spoke to her dedication, sensitivity, kindness, empathy and grace, whether she is supporting coworkers, residents, patients or their families. She is also an active member of Christ Church at Grove Farm in Sewickley, mentoring the youth group, participating in charitable events and volunteering in community service efforts. Whether at Concordia or in her community, Chris is a selfless individual who carries out Concordia’s mission in everything she does.

“Chris knows everybody’s name,” said Rachelle Arnold, Concordia at Villa St. Joseph administrator. “She’s the kind of person who sets you at ease immediately. The residents want to go to activities just to be where she is. She’s that kind of person – she lights up a room because of that light that’s in her. So when you’re with Chris Gebhart, you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Person-centered care is always at the center of who she is and what she does in this community.”

As the recipient, Chris has the choice to go on a mission trip funded by Concordia or a $15,000 charitable donation made in her name. Charitable donations of $5,000 will be made in the name of the four spotlight honorees, and they will have the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia to see the mission work Concordia does there in partnership with Compassion International, $1,000 donations will be made in the name of the ten honorable mentions and donations of $500 will be made in the name of the distinguished finalists.  

Spotlight Honorees
Rev. Charles Lentner, Chaplain, Concordia at Sumner
Terah Green, Social Worker, Concordia Hospice of Washington
Lynn McKinnis, Physical Therapist, Concordia Visiting Nurses 
Stephanie Snow, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, Concordia Physician Practice

Honorable Mentions 
Casey Cox, Marketing Liaison, Concordia Visiting Nurses
Mike Dunham, Physical Therapist, Concordia of Monroeville
Andrew Fernandez, Maintenance, Concordia at Ridgewood Place
Kristen Fiorina, Physical Therapist, Concordia Visiting Nurses
Susan McLafferty, Marketing Liaison, Good Samaritan Hospice
Alyssa Mormur, Nurse Aide, Concordia at Ridgewood Place
Linda Shurina, Driver, Concordia at Cabot
Jesse Vogel, Cook, Concordia at Cabot
Verdia “Vee” Williams, Food Service Aide, Concordia at Sumner
Brittany Wooley, Registered Nurse, Good Samaritan Hospice

Distinguished Finalists
Tina Bussey, State Tested Nursing Assistant, Concordia at Sumner
Michele Corll, QI Coordinator, Concordia Visiting Nurses 
Laura Deeter, Clinical Supervisor, VNA Alliance    
Shellee Deless, Licensed Practical Nurse, Concordia of Cranberry
Kathryn Flickinger, Medical Records, Concordia at Bethlen
Nicole Fox, Nurse Aide, Concordia at Cabot          
Josh Hartman, Delivery Technician, Concordia Medical Equipment
Mandy Jones, Social Worker, Concordia at Cabot
Carol Kaake, Licensed Practical Nurse, Concordia Village of Tampa
Emily Kocher, Activities Aide, Concordia at Villa St. Joseph
Georgia Lindo Lobban, Admissions Assistant, Concordia Village of Tampa
Kelsie Mazzotta, Licensed Practical Nurse, Concordia at Cabot
Kayla Miller, Licensed Practical Nurse, Concordia Visiting Nurses
Nicole Negley, Nurse Aide, Concordia of Wexford
Bobbie Nice-McAfee, Service Coordinator, Concordia of the South Hills
Jim Parrish, Bereavement Coordinator, Concordia Home Health and Hospice of Bethlen
Jennifer Rickman, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, Good Samaritan Hospice
Joyce Robinson, Social Worker, Concordia Hospice of Washington
Jen Rorar, Catering Manager, Concordia at Sumner
Angela Zimmick, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Concordia Visiting Nurses

A special thank you to the Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award Committee and Selection Panel, Ceremony Host and Emcee Natalie McKay, Co-Presenter Matt Hooks, Special Presenter Rachelle Arnold, Concordia Director of Chaplaincy Services Rev. Jack Hartman, Concordia President and CEO Keith Frndak, Concordia Chairman of the Board James Limbaugh and Tracey Johnson, wife of Stephen W. Johnson, for your support, time and talents in the continued development of the program and for ensuring a wonderful evening of recognition for our finalists.

Related: 2022 Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award Finalists Celebrated and 2023 Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award Finalists Celebrated

Concordia has a vibrant employee culture of team members who truly make a difference in patients’ and residents’ lives every day. Learn more about our mission, competitive wages and outstanding benefits on our Careers page.

Watch the livestream of the 2024 Stephen W. Johnson Mission Award Ceremony and be sure to check out photos from the ceremony below!

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