News

Long-time MMH Employee Receives Service Award

Lorys “Johnnie” Penrod Recognized for 47 Years of Exemplary Service

These days, it is hard to find a nursing home employee as dedicated as Lorys “Johnnie” Penrod. Having served in several positions during her 47-year tenure at Minnesota Masonic Home, Johnnie exemplifies dedication in the truest sense of the word.

Escorted by her son, Johnnie accepts the Care Providers of Minnesota award.

On November 12 at their annual conference, Care Providers of Minnesota named Johnnie the recipient of their Dedicated Service Award, which recognizes a provider employee whose service “over the course of his/her career has positively enhanced the quality of life for individuals in a care setting.” According to her colleagues at Minnesota Masonic Home, that describes Johnnie perfectly.

“She is an inspiration,” said Beth Schroeder, administrator of Minnesota Masonic Home. “When I ask her when she plans to retire, she tells me she needs to work three more years to make it to her 50-year employment anniversary.”

Schroeder and many other MMH staff sang Johnnie’s praises in letters to Care Providers as part of her award nomination. Their words reflect Johnnie’s consistent commitment to quality care in an industry that has seen its share of changes.

She began her storied career in early 1971, serving as the day nurse aide for three buildings on the Masonic Home campus (each shift only provided for one aide). Because there were so many demands on her time, Johnnie was instrumental in streamlining many processes at MMH; in one case, devising a magnetic tag system for the doors of the Board & Care wing that identified the care needs of each resident in case of an emergency.

“Any of us who has ever put a parent into a nursing home hopes that someone who is as compassionate as Johnnie was there when we could not be,” said then-Governor Jesse Ventura when he presented Johnnie with the Minnesota Health and Housing Alliance “1999 Caregiver of the Year” award. Ventura later presented Johnnie with the “Governor’s Award for a Better Minnesota,” adding, “Every caring word spent in these years of service has made Minnesota a better place.”

Johnnie remains a fixture at Minnesota Masonic Home, a place where she intends to work because, she says, “I believe in what we do, and I believe in the great people who work here.”

An inspiration indeed.

MMC Scholarship Season Begins Dec. 1!

Beginning December 1, 2018, Minnesota Masonic Charities scholarships applications will be available to complete online! There are a number of scholarship opportunities available, including scholarships for Minnesota high school seniors, Minnesota residents who are currently undergraduates at a 4-year college, and students entering a community college or a vocational/technical school. The deadline for all applications is February 15, 2019.

Masonic Mission Award Winner Announced

Alejandra Castellanos, nursing assistant at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, was recently named a Masonic Mission Award recipient based on a nomination from a patient family. Presenting the award at the Masonic Children’s Hospital was MMC Board of Directors Chairman, Roger McNear. Congratulations, Alejandra!

MMC Accelerates Race to End Cancer

On April 10, 2018, Minnesota Masonic Charities (MMC) announced an acceleration of their 2008 pledge of $65 million to the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. The $25 million accelerated payment marks the 10-year anniversary of the original pledge, and comes at a critical time in cancer research.

The $25 million infusion of funding will have a great impact on advancing “precision medicine” at the cancer center, helping its 500+ members pursue research into an individual’s risk of cancer, develop targeted therapies for cancer treatment, create new tools to study cancer, and recruit the best minds in science to get the job done.

“We believe that the end of this disease is within our sights,” said Eric J. Neetenbeek, president and CEO of Minnesota Masonic Charities. “Using all the information and tools at their disposal, the Masonic Cancer Center will have the ability to advance cancer prevention and treatment at an individual level until cancer finally will cease to exist.”

A long-time partner of the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Masonic Charities has pledged $125 million to cancer care, research and children’s health there since 1955, making MMC the University’s single largest donor.