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CCH Legend embodies excellence every day

CCH Legend embodies excellence every day

Excellence every day.

That statement is what every Campbell County Health employee strives to be at work, and beyond. There is one employee at CCH who very visibly embodies it, and today we are naming her a Legend—Jonni Belden, RN, the Administrator of The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.

For those who don't know, CCH defines a Legend as, “those people who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation for greatness make someone a legend.”

“A legend should be someone who has consistently demonstrated excellent work, commitment to the organization, and compassion to their residents or patients over an extended work history. Jonni has certainly done this, and continues to do this every day,” says Andy Fitzgerald, CEO, who has known Jonni for nearly 20 years. “I wish I could clone Jonni. She has made me a better CEO by encouraging me, challenging my ideas in a respectful way, and constantly reminding me that we are here to serve others, not ourselves. She is in every way a CCH legend.”

A Wyoming native, Jonni grew up between Riverton and Lander. While attending Casper College, she met her husband, Scott. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Wyoming. The Belden’s moved to Gillette in 1990 when Scott went to work for Powder River Coal Company at North Antelope Rochelle Mine, now owned by Peabody Energy. Jonni has retained her registered nurse (RN) license, and is also licensed in Nursing Home Administration.

Jonni says she found her path to a career in health care when she was 21 and was seriously ill. “My experience with doctors and nurses and the other technicians influenced me to pursue nursing. Some of these caregivers were great; some were not. It helped me discover the one I wished to be,” she says.

Jonni worked in nursing and management at Campbell County Memorial Hospital for years, and then took a job working in the Quality, Risk and Care Management department working on quality measures for long-term care—essentially looking at health care processes, outcomes, patient perceptions and systems that allow CCH to provide quality health care. CCH was looking for an administrator for Pioneer Manor (now The Legacy), and Andy Fitzgerald asked Jonni to step into the role.

“I had missed management and being a leader of change,” says Jonni. And, since she was already working with the quality side of long-term care, she felt she was able to take on the role. “I love my job at The Legacy. I love caring for the residents who call this amazing facility home. I believe I am at The Legacy to help usher in the transition from a nursing home to a living center.”

The Legacy opened in October 2016, after a long haul. The project was approved by the CCH Board of Trustees in 2012. Families of residents, the public, CCH representatives and employees as well as The Legacy advisory board members were all invited to meet with Lantz Boggio Architects in 2013 to give input on the features of the new long-term care facility. Demolition of the site began in February 2013, with the official ground breaking of the site taking place in August 2013. For the last two years, the Gillette community has watched J. Scull Construction bring The Legacy come to life on South Gillette Highway near Lasting Legacy Park. Its emphasis is truly on providing dignified care and purposeful living.

As the Administrator of The Legacy, Jonni is responsible for the division’s strategic plan—she manages the budget, quality initiatives and overall resident care. She is also the director of nearly 200 employees who work there. In Jonni’s exact words: “I work with a group of dedicated professionals to provide quality long-term care and short-term rehab care to our residents.”

And those who work with Jonni tell you that she’s always willing to roll up her sleeves and jump in to help where every help is needed, and no matter the job.

According to Elise Necklason, who works as a Care Manager at The Legacy and has known Jonni for 10 years, Jonni exemplifies every day the attributes she asks of others, “She is always willing to assist, problem solve, and chip-in when help is needed,” she says. She recalls a time when some residents needed to be moved to a different room, and Jonni stepped in and helped make up the beds. “Jonni views herself as part of our team, as well as being our leader,” says Elise. A true mark of selfless leadership.

“She has been known to throw on scrubs and work the floor as a CNA,” says Tiffany Fager, Administrative Secretary at The Legacy. “Jonni walks the walk and talks the talk. She would never ask her staff to do anything she wouldn't do herself.”

Tiffany, who has worked with Jonni for five years and submitted her Legend nomination form, says that she truly believes That Jonni has the best interests for the residents of The Legacy. “Her work and dedication to the success of The Legacy is unparalleled. She is committed to providing a safe, loving and beautiful home to our residents, as well as a superior workplace for her staff. All the detail you see in The Legacy is largely due to Jonni—something she’d never take credit for.”

Sue Ullrich, Director of CCH’s Quality, Risk and Care Management department, has known Jonni for 20 years and she too says Jonni’s No. 1 priority has always been the patient or resident. Sue credits Jonni’s success in long-term care by setting expectations and holding others accountable.

“Jonni has always embraced quality improvement and has a wonderful, nonthreatening way of asking the hard questions. She has good facilitation skills to assist people to focus on the issue rather than blaming people,” says Sue.

collage of people in the snowFor Jonni, the Excellence Every Day statement means that she is striving to do the right thing even when no one else is looking. “It does not mean being perfect. It means doing your best, being humble, being a role model and admitting if you make a mistake, and being a solution oriented team player,” she says. And she not only exudes this herself, she expects it of everyone she works with, and will hold you to it.

“She is tough, and expects excellence every day from all her employees; but she is always fair, thoughtful, helpful, and a great teacher,” says Tiffany.

man playing pianoJonni’s other full-time love is her family. They enjoy spending time together hiking, playing games, traveling, seeking out new experiences and building memories—and they volunteer some of their time together at The Legacy. Her husband, Scott is an environmental manager at Peabody. Her son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Megan and their two beautiful children, Abby and Judah live in California, and Jonni says that they make her heart smile. Her son, Gabe is in college in Oklahoma studying music. And their beloved daughter Ana lives on in their hearts and memories.

When asked what receiving the Legend Award means to her, Jonni said that she was humbled by the award, and honored to be among such great company. “What means the most is it comes from those I lead. The greatest attribute of leadership is being someone others wish to emulate. There are Legends and heroes every day in healthcare who go about their job quietly making a difference in people's lives.”

There sure are, Jonni. Your personal integrity, values and high standard of character are one of the many reasons CCH is Excellence Every Day. We count it a privilege to have you on our team. Congratulations on such a well-deserved award.