Past Award Recipients
2014 - Sandy Skirtin
2013 - Bill Heibein
Sandy Skirtin - 2014 Winner
Sandy Skirten started with the Canadian Mental Health Association Fort Frances Branch in 2001 as the District Coordinator for District Mental Health Services for Older Adults Program. Under Sandy’s leadership, the District Mental Health Services for Older Adults Program was profiled at various conferences in Ontario as one of the unique psychogeriatric programs in Ontario. Sandy accepted the position of Director of Services in 2010. His compassion and drive allowed him to influence and mentor other agency staff in the care for persons living with dementia. In this time, Sandy’s strong voice and influence resulted in the development and implementation of the Behavioural Supports Ontario in Kenora/Rainy River.
Sandy is a visionary in dementia care, providing quality care from quality teams. As a leader in the field of dementia, Sandy is a compassionate innovator who inspires his staff to be the best they can be. Sandy has consistently modelled the caring and compassionate qualities that are necessary in the provision of psychogeriatric services. Consequently, these warm-hearted qualities have been transferred to every one of his front-line staff, and are demonstrated daily in their care to patients and their families. There are very few people in the service sector who do not know and respect Sandy. He is a compassionate person, driven to improving the lives of individuals living with dementia. His accomplishments, too numerous to detail, are evident in all the communities and people he has impacted. He excels at engaging and including individuals to perform to their highest potential and to work together for the benefit of the clients and care partners.
His leadership as the program coordinator for the Older Adults program has seen this program grow substantially throughout the region, and his innovation in education and community engagement has brought about an awareness of dementia in a supportive, non-threatening manner. Sandy has gone above and beyond in his efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families living with dementia, and truly is deserving of this award.
Bill Heibein - 2013 Winner
Congratulations to Bill Heibein for being chosen for the first ever "Excellence in Dementia" award for 2013! Bill is a tireless volunteer and advocate locally, provincially, and nationally. He is involved in numerous activities with the Alzheimer Societies of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Canada. Bill is a member of an Alzheimer Society of Canada advisory group, a Champion for Dementia with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, the honorary Chairperson for the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay’s Walk for Memories for the past 6 years, and was a member of the planning committee for the International A Changing Melody conference held in Toronto during March 2011. Bill is on the research team of a national Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant to develop a self-management program for people living with dementia. Bill continues his 40-year involvement playing bass in the popular local swing and Dixieland band “Bottom of the Barrel”. To top it off, Bill and his wife Heather own and operate Amethyst Farms, where they have bred, trained, and shown registered quarter horses. And if that isn’t enough, Bill has been involved in numerous public campaigns and presentations about living with dementia.
Bill was chosen for this award because of his work locally, provincially, and nationally. He works tirelessly to support others living with dementia, and is always willing to share his experiences, talk publicly, and advocate because he wants to make the dementia journey a little better for those coming after him. Bill is a wonderful role model for all of us, and challenges the stigma of living with dementia every day.
Congratulations Bill! You make our community better for people living with dementia because of the work you do.