Southern Hospitality Shines at The Verandah

Louisiana Community takes Home Top Prize at Annual Sunshine Excellence Awards


Recently, Sunshine Retirement Living announced the winners of its Sunshine Excellence Awards, an annual ceremony that honors the valued staff members who have exhibited an unwavering and steadfast commitment to their work, which in turn has inspired their fellow employees to achieve their very best for our senior residents. This is the first in a series of stories highlighting some of winning staff members and communities

The beautiful Graywood neighborhood of Lake Charles, Louisiana is home of The Verandah, which offers both Independent Living and Assisted Living with Memory Care. It lies just a few miles south of I-10, about halfway between Houston and New Orleans; in other words, deep in the heart of Southern charm and hospitality.

“This part of the country is definitely known for its warmth and kindness,” said The Verandah Executive Director, Kayla Baham. “That means our residents expect a lot good ol’ fashioned Southern hospitality from us day in and day out, and we do our best to exceed their expectations.”

Kayla’s efforts and those of her staff have not gone unnoticed. Two weeks ago, Kayla was awarded the May Sunshine Award, the highest honor offered among the Sunshine Excellence Awards. The award is named for the late May Sunshine Hasso, whose 20 years of experience in the senior housing industry was instrumental in shaping the world-class standard of service exhibited today at Sunshine Retirement Living.

“Kayla Baham has consistently gone above and beyond, exceeding expectations on every level at The Verandah,” said Sarah Peters, Sunshine’s Director of Marketing. “She sets high standards and inspires her team by example. She genuinely cares about the well-being of her residents and staff and empowers her team, and seeks to boost self-esteem by consistently recognizing good job performance, while challenging everyone to be their individual best. We are a better team because of her.”

Having watched Kayla grow from a sales position into her role as Executive Director, Jeremy Fruge, Assistant Manager at The Verandah, concurs:

“Kayla is a barometer by which Sunshine measures its cultural pillars – People, Passion, Excellence. Her unwavering commitment to residents and employees, along with her diligence in promoting positive change has served as a resource to countless seniors and their families at their most vulnerable. It’s a model by which any industry professional should mold themselves.”

Kayla’s passion also permeates her relationships with residents and their loved ones. She’s always more than willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her seniors are properly cared for and safe.

“I’m genuinely shocked and honored to be chosen for this tremendous award among the dozens of other outstanding executive directors,” said Kayla. “Working at The Verandah is truly a labor of love. But it’s safe to say this wouldn’t have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of my team.”

Speaking of The Verandah team, Kayla wasn’t the only staff member from The Verandah to be recognized by the Sunshine Excellence Awards. Rhonda Lyons was chosen as Outstanding Care/Team Member.

“It is readily apparent that Rhonda loves her job,” said Kayla. “She always goes out of her way to empathize with our residents and find ways to make them smile. She works diligently each day to deliver a Sunshine experience and set a positive example for her team members.”

In establishing Sunshine Retirement Living, May Sunshine Hasso’s vision was to provide world-class service and excellence for all senior residents, staff and all who visit any Sunshine community. We’re delighted that her legacy for delivering exceptional care and hospitality is in very capable hands.

This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, June, 2019.

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