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On April 22, 2019, Life Care Centers of America’s Mountain States Division team presented Huma Villarruel, dietary manager at Life Care Center of Stonegate in Parker, Colorado, with its Dietary Manager of the Year Award.


Villarruel received the award during the division’s annual dietary leadership meeting in Aurora, Colorado. A team of divisional and regional dietary leaders reviewed several nominations from Life Care facilities.


“Huma is without a doubt the most amazing dietary manager I have ever had the great opportunity to work with,” said Lucas Carroll, executive director at Life Care Center of Stonegate.


Villarruel has been a DM for Life Care for the past six years and has worked in the health care industry for 20 years. She was praised for multiple reasons including maintaining budget without sacrificing quality of food, maintaining a deficiency-free status of the kitchen during each annual survey, supporting other nutritional services managers at local Life Care buildings, serving as a respected leader with minimal turnover in her department and taking the initiative to advocate for her residents and team.


“She will go out of her way to ensure a patient is able to have specific cultural foods and will make trips to specialty grocery stores to make a patient happy,” said Carroll. “Our residents just gush about how tasty the food is and the variety of food offered. It’s amazing!”


During a severe snowstorm in the Denver area, Villarruel stayed at the building overnight to ensure no delay in meal service to the residents, and her entire dietary team followed her example and stayed overnight as well.


“I was very humbled to receive the award – I don’t feel I do anything that the other managers don’t do,” said Villarruel. “It’s a team effort. My dietary team is amazing and goes over and above every day. I love encouraging them and seeing them grow in their positions. The support I get from my leadership team and co-workers motivates me strive to do better each day. We all have a passion for geriatrics and love to make a difference in our residents’ lives.”


At the meeting, Villarruel also won first place in the salsa competition against 14 other facilities.