Rifle care providers recognized for service
The Colorado Department of Human Services recognized two care providers at the Colorado State Veterans Home at Rifle with awards for distinguished service in their jobs as certified nursing assistants at the residential home Monday.
Betty Bendetti was recognized as the 2015 Colorado Department of Human Services Employee of the Year, and Kyle Minter received the department’s People Helping People award.
Dee Martinez, Strategic Communications and Legislative Affairs deputy executive director, and Viki Manley, Office of Community Access and Independence director, presented the awards. Martinez shared stories of the awardees’ outstanding service to those gathered at the center for the event.
Bendetti, 90, earned her certified nursing assistant credential in 1995, and has worked at the center full time since then. She is a favorite among the residents as she makes rounds with her hydration cart, bringing compassion, a willingness to listen and much-anticipated treats. Bendetti is a Rifle native and has lived there her entire life. She has four children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Before working at the veterans center, Bendetti was a waitress and a housekeeper. In addition to her work at the center, Bendetti enjoys working in her yard and Native American art and is a rock hound.
“We’re so appreciative of your commitment to working with our nation’s heroes,” remarked Martinez, who noted that nearly 50 nominees were considered for the award. “We’re so happy you’ve chosen to spend a part of your life with us.”
Martinez also recounted the quick action taken by Minter, 28, who began working at the center this year, in saving the life of a resident who was choking.
In March, resident Alma Koster was eating lunch in the dining room. That typical scene changed in an instant as Koster began choking on a piece of food.
Minter, who only recently started working at the center, sprang into action. He moved to get behind Koster, and applied force to her midsection, just as he had been trained to do.
She coughed, he did another compression, and out popped the piece of food. Koster says Kyle saved her life.
“He is my hero,” she said later.
“Impressive work,” Martinez said to Minter, who was born and raised in Colorado and resides in Parachute with his wife Tiffany and their two children.
According to Margie Maynard, director of nursing at the home, the recognition of Bendetti and Minter was well-deserved.
“She is a shining example of the type of person that provides service without question and with great love,” Maynard said of Bendetti.
As for her colleague, Minter, “He exhibits deep respect for our veterans and our elders in our community,” Maynard added.
“The Rifle facility staff has done an amazing job of caring for our veterans while valuing their dignity and appreciating them as individuals,” Manley said.
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