April 27, 2015 (Rifle) – The Colorado Department of Human Services on Monday 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.
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, the department’s Deputy Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Legislative Affairs, and Viki Manley, acting director of the Office of Community Access and Independence, presented the awards. Martinez shared stories of the awardees’ outstanding service to those gathered at the center for the event.
Bendetti, 90, got 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 native of Rifle and has lived here her entire life. She has four children, seven grandchildren and eight great grand-children.
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, Native American art and is a rock hound.
“What an interesting and fulfilling life you’ve lived, Betty,” remarked Martinez. “We’re so happy you’ve chosen to spend part of it here at the veterans’ center.”
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.
On a Monday last month, resident Alma Koster was eating lunch in the dining room. That typical scene changed in an instant as Mrs. Koster began choking on a piece of food.
Kyle Minter, who only recently had begun working at the center, sprang into action. He moved to get behind Mrs. Koster, and just as he had been trained to do, he applied force to her midsection. A lot of us know this as the Heimlich maneuver.
She coughed, he did another compression, and out popped the piece of food. Mrs. 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 community living, 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 the 2015 Employee of the Year.
As for her colleague, Minter, “He exhibits deep respect for our veterans and our elders in our community,” shared the director of nursing.
The competition for employee of the year included nearly 50 nominees, according to Martinez.