Florida’s Advocate for Long Term Care
Providers and the Elders They Serve
Back to Press Releases

Two Emerald Coast Rehabilitation Center Volunteers Honored by FHCA

Gladys Santiago and Neil Godfreaux's Sing-a-Long Group Named Volunteers of the Year

August 11, 2017
Contact: Kristen Knapp, APR
(850) 701–3530 or kknapp@fhca.org

Tallahassee, FL – More than 800 long term care professionals from across Florida were on hand as two volunteers at Emerald Coast Rehabilitation Center in Fort Walton received statewide recognition for their contributions – Gladys Santiago as the Adult Volunteer of the Year and Neil Godfreaux and the members of Neil’s Sing-a-Long as Group Volunteer of the Year. The awards, presented during the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) Annual Conference in Orlando July 31-August 4, is the highest honor given to volunteers by Florida’s long term care profession.

Gladys Santiago (pictured right) has been a dedicated adult volunteer who visits the care center four times a week, spending at least two hours each day with residents for over 17 years. “She does manicures that incorporates sensory stimulation for residents with dementia and encourages self-esteem through conversation, prayer, manicures and her genuine interest in each individual she comes in contact with,” said Rhonda Dickman of Emerald Coast.

Santiago has also helped grow Emerald Coast’s activities program by bringing in other groups, developing the “’Son Shine” club, organizing members of her church to participate in karaoke with residents, and playing guitar and serenading them with song.

Neil Godfreaux and the members of Neil’s Sing-a-Long have been volunteering at Emerald Coast for more than 20 years. Godfreaux recognized how much residents enjoyed the Sunday music selection he played, which inspired him to create a sing-a-long group to contribute to residents’ overall quality of life.

“Godfreaux’s sing-a-long group shares our mission by providing things to contribute to the residents’ overall quality of life. The residents truly love when he comes to share his time and talents with them,” Activities Director Liz Scott said.

Added FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed: “Ms. Santiago and Mr. Godfreaux are so inspiring and their service adds so much to the lives of the the center’s residents. Their enthusiasm and dedication to serving the residents and supporting the staff of Emerald Coast Rehabilitation Center encourages us all.”

The 2017 Adult and Group Volunteer of the Year recognitions are part of Florida Health Care Association’s Long Term Care Achievement Awards. These awards annually honor an Administrator of the Year, Resident of the Year, and a number of community volunteers for their service to long term care. For more information about FHCA’s Long Term Care Excellence Awards, visit the Quality Improvement section of the FHCA website at http://www.fhca.org.

The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation that serves nearly 1,000 members and represents more than 500 long term care facilities that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and subacute care, short-term rehab, assisted living, and other services to the elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development, and financial stability of its members. As Florida’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the elderly they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population.  For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit http://www.fhca.org.


# # #