By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN - Out of a pool of 260 nation-wide applicants, Jess Tormanen of Dassel, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Howard Lake Good Samaritan Society, was chosen as one of two runner-ups for the National CNA of the Year award.
The scholarship award is sponsored by Care Tracker in conjunction with the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators.
Tormanen will receive $500 toward completion of his nursing degree, and the care center will also receive $500 toward education of its employees. He is the son of Richard and Ann Tormanen.
Tormanen was recently accepted into the nursing program at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson, and is currently working on generals.
In order to be considered for the award, a letter of recommendation was sent from the care center with high praise for Tormanen. Care Tracker contacted the care center for even more information about Tormanen, which Director of Nursing Barb McLeod provided.
“As part of the nomination, Barb actually provided quite a lengthy questionnaire to them,” Howard Lake Good Samaritan Administrator Laura Rindfleisch said.
“He (Tormanen) always has a smile on his face,” Rindfleisch said. “He’s great with the residents, and he’s definitely an asset to our organization.”
Director of Social Services Colleen Kunzer said, “We’re very proud of Jess. We’re just thrilled to death.”
Tormanen has been at the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Society for almost two years, and worked for another nursing home before coming to Howard Lake.
“I really enjoy my job,” Tormanen said. “I really like the facility, and I really love the residents they’re the best part of the job.”
Tormanen said that he liked bringing smiles to the residents’ faces, and he recognizes that everyone just wants to be happy, and that it’s tougher to be happy as we age and aren’t as independent as we once were.
“You have to have patience,” Tormanen said. “I thank my mom for that. She took me shopping a lot when I was younger.”
“I’m the youngest of seven children,” he continued. “They always called me the bonus child, rather than the accident.”
Tormanen slowly worked his way into his current field of interest. He initially went into construction, and was a construction foreman in Colorado for a period of time.
While in Colorado, Tormanen said he took advantage of all the outdoors adventures the state has to offer including snowboarding, fly fishing, mountain rafting, and more.
“I was very fortunate, but I’m happy to be back,” he said.
Then, Tormanen managed a sober cab business.
“From that, I found that I loved to take care of people and help people,” Tormanen said.
Tormanen is engaged to be married to Angie Salonek, who also works at the care center, which is where the two met.
A wedding is planned for the summer of 2010.