Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for July to LaNita "Red" Nelson of the Aging Partners Division of the Mayor's Office. The award will be presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting, which starts at 3 p.m. in the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Nelson works at the Northeast Senior Center and has been with the City since 2006. David Chapelle, Manager of the Northeast Senior Center, nominated her in the categories of customer relations, productivity and valor.
In his nomination Chapelle wrote that life at an Aging Partners Center is very much like an extended family that has daily reunions. At the Northeast Center, one of the "favorite cousins" is Nelson. She is the Kitchen Manager on Mondays and Wednesdays. When newcomers start attending the center, Nelson is the first to greet them and introduce them to others.
Thanks to Nelson, those newcomers arrive as strangers and leave as old friends.
She recently added 'lifesaver' to her long list of accomplishments. One Friday, a gentleman had a problem with his new medications and suffered a dizzy spell while at the Center. When he was absent the following Monday, Nelson became concerned and called him. He told her he was fine, but had some business to attend to, and would call when he was ready to return.
After one week passed, and then two weeks without hearing from him, people became concerned. Several people drove past his home and saw no signs of him. Nelson tried calling again but got no response. She checked the emergency contact list and called his sister, but she was not at home.
Nelson called the Police Department, explained the situation, and asked them to perform a wellness check. Officers found the gentleman in his bed, disoriented and unresponsive, and he was transported to the hospital. Emergency workers estimated that he had been in bed without food or water for a week.
The nominator wrote: "Today he is on his way to recovery, thanks to the actions that Red took. It's what family does."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention and safety. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials.
Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.