Karen Holicky doesn’t much like to be in the spotlight.
She shows up to work as director of nursing at Minnesota Valley Health Center on time every day, leads the nursing home reliably and consistently, and works hard at making residents feel at ease. Her pride doesn’t rest within accolades, but rather a job well done.
On Oct. 27, however, Holicky had no choice but to accept a bit of spotlight at a Le Sueur Rotary Club meeting, as she was awarded the first-ever Pride of Work Award from the club.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” she said.
For Holicky, the award, which is intended to recognize excellent work ethic within the Le Sueur community, is a reflection of all of the nursing home staff at MVHC, she said.
“I’ve worked in several nursing homes,” she said. “MVHC is the most family-knit. Everyone treats everyone as their own.”
Rotary member and Vocational Committee Chair Dave Tycast led in the creation of the award. He said the club wanted to find a way to get more involved within the community as a whole.
“We’re all about community,” he said. “That’s what we do.”
He hopes the award will continue to grow in stature and will be recognized widely throughout the community. This year’s process involved contacting the community’s local businesses to ask for nominations of hard-working employees.
Tycast said the nomination received on Holicky’s behalf set her apart.
“She stood out for loving her job and being able to do it at a high standard,” he said.
Nursing Home Administrator LuAnn Linn wrote the nomination. She said she didn’t have to think twice about who to put up for the award.
“Right away I thought of Karen,” she said. “Her work ethic is outstanding. She’s reliable. She’s always there on time.”
Holicky first started at Minnesota Valley Health Center as a teenager, when she worked in the kitchen. At 15, she became an aide.
She moved on to work at various places and continued climbing positions to nursing assistant, Trained Medication Aide, and registered nurse. She started at MVHC again about five years ago and attained a bachelor’s degree in nursing through Rasmussen College in Mankato in 2012.
All that experience and education equipped her to take on a lead role at MVHC as the director of nursing. She said she knew from a young age that nursing was the field for her.
“I always loved taking care of people,” she said. “I’m inspired by residents. It’s rewarding to make their day.”
Linn points out that Holicky’s experience and reliability is key to the operation at MVHC.
“I’m very comfortable with leaving the building and having Karen take care of everything,” Linn said.
Holicky said she expects to make MVHC her final destination as she continues on her career. Despite receiving the award as an individual, her “pride of work” exists through her team.
“It’s nice that people can see we’re doing something good here,” she said.
Reach Reporter Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8576 or follow him on Twitter.com @LNHphilip.