The Maine Health Care Association has named two Quarry Hill Maintenance Department employees as recipients of MHCA’s 2016 Celebrating Excellence Awards. Mike Flanagan won an Excellence in Caregiving award, while Doug Gilson was honored for Excellence in Innovation.

A veteran of 14 years at Quarry Hill, Flanagan was nominated as a “go-to person” who not only knows how to find and fix anything, but has also connected with residents as a caring friend and sympathetic ear.

“Mike never hesitates to go the extra mile to make sure every individual that comes to him leaves feeling heard and cared about,” noted colleagues in their letter of nomination. “[He] never gives up until a crisis is averted, a problem is solved and everyone is reassured and comfortable.”

Innovation winner Doug Gilson drew praise as the driving force behind a project that invited Quarry Hill residents to relive “old fishing hole“ memories by helping to stock the community’s man-made pond with 113 rainbow trout from the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife. The initiative grew to involve residents and staff throughout Quarry Hill in acquiring, releasing, and feeding the fish and ultimately enjoying a series of catch-and-release fishing parties. Residents and employees whose donations offset the costs of the initiative won the right to name the fish, resulting in monikers ranging from Jaws to Free Willy.

The 2016 Excellence in Innovation award is Gilson’s second. In 2015, he was honored for organizing a daylong snowmobiling trip for residents in collaboration with the local Lincolnville Mountain Goats Snowmobile Club. The outing has become an annual tradition, including a half-day trail ride in Camden Hills State Park with a hot lunch served by club members at a ski lodge along the way.

Flanagan and Gilson received their awards from Maine First Lady Ann LePage during a recent recognition ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center. The annual MHCA event recogonizes long-term care employees who exemplify commendable levels of caregiving, dedication and professionalism in caring for elderly and disabled citizens in Maine nursing homes and assisted living centers.

Nominees must meet criteria related to quality of caregiving, attention to residents’ rights and leadership among their peers. Nominations are submitted by long-term care communities; an independent panel of judges with expertise in the field of long-term care selects the winners.