Imagine being at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis and all of a sudden a list of compliments about you is read over the intercom in front of your peers from all over the country.
"It hit me pretty hard," said Joe Lux of Canby. "I wasn't expecting it. It was humbling."
Lux was named the Aging Services of Minnesota 2012 District E Caregiver of the Year for his years of service to the residents at Sylvan Court in Canby. This award is the highest honor awarded to Minnesota caregivers who serve older adults.
Lux was honored by Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade association for older adult services organizations in Minnesota.
Lux thought the award could have gone to other workers at the facility.
"We have a lot of gifted employees here," Lux said.
He was nominated for the award by Nancy Salmon, administrator of the care center, with supporting letters from a number of staff members and family members of residents under his care.
"Joe can tell you the likes and dislikes of every resident," said Salmon. "He can tell you who excels at Brain Games and who might fudge at Bingo. He knows who will sleep through exercises, who will sing along with the music, and who the Wii bowling champion is likely to be. He can also tell you who gets up early and how they like their eggs cooked."
A favorite activity of the residents is to go on drives with Lux, who is a Canby native and knows many of the residents and their families.
"We have a handicapped-accessible van that can hold two wheelchairs in back with a person in the front seat," he said. "On Wednesdays I take two groups for rides in the country. We've gone to Lake Cochrane, Porter, Madison. Places the residents know. It brings back good memories for them."
Lux said a resident who didn't say much at Sylvan Court talked for the next hour after driving by her former farm site.
At Sylvan, the residents complain that the "days go by too fast," said Lux, who serves as a nursing assistant to residents, and also coordinates activities, exercises, and social events.
Lux said he is celebrating his 10th year at Sylvan. He worked in middle management at Schott Corp. for 28 years and then retired. After three months at home, his wife suggested he volunteer at Sylvan.
"It's been a nice adventure," he said. "It's really rewarding."
Lux said the residents are parents of kids he went to school with.
"They treat me like a son," he said. "I have lots of parents. It's a reward just to be a part of their lives."
The Caregiver of the Year Award is considered to be the highest honor given by Aging Services.
"The Caregiver of the Year award is about honoring the very best of the best," said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. "It's also an important opportunity to show Minnesotans the face of the people who care for our loved ones when we cannot. Joe Lux is the kind of caregiver we all hope will be there for us when we need help."