After pushing back this year’s celebration of National Nursing Home Week, a New Jersey-based operator finally got a chance to repay its workers by gifting them thousands of dollars worth of prizes.

The annual event is typically recognized in May, but CareRite Centers, which operates 29 facilities in New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Florida, delayed it to late September for safety precautions. The company then announced the results from its celebration in late October. While not entirely unique among long-term care, the company’s treatment of National Nursing Home Week is certainly one of the more remarkable displays.

This year, prizes and gifts for workers included money, all-inclusive resort packages, kitchen appliances, outdoor home equipment and sports tickets. A CareRite Centers spokesman told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that the organization’s ownership funds the celebration and prizes “as a token of thanks and humble appreciation to our incredible employees in the trenches, day-in and day-out.” 

“Words truly cannot express our deepest levels of respect, pride, and genuine appreciation that we have for every single one of our team members in the CareRite Centers Network,” said Akiva Rudner, chief operating officer for CareRite Centers. 

One CareRite Center employee, Ricky Torres, walked away with an up to $10,000 reward to pay any bill, or dream vacation for four people after receiving a top honor. Torres, an environmental services team member at Water’s Edge Rehab & Nursing Center at Port Jefferson, in Jefferson, NY, was named its Professional of the Year. He joined the facility about six years ago. Co-workers praised his dedication and commitment before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am so honored and thankful, but I wouldn’t be here without my great team,” Torres said. “I’m just thankful to be noticed for something like this.”

He added that his strategy for success, especially over the past year, has been having a great team environment. 

“You have to do everything the right way first, I always want to go above and beyond,” Torres said. “We have a great team and a great work environment. The major key is having a great team.”

Next year’s winner will have their rent or mortgage paid for six months, with no monetary limit, CareRite announced. A great way to say thank you — any time of year.