Mildred Bender Honorees Named for 2022

Mar 11, 2022 | Community

On Monday, February 28, managers, trustees, friends, and family honored the 2022 Mildred Bender Award recipients at a luncheon in the Garden Court Dining on the Founders Campus. Recognized for their outstanding service are:

  • Donna Wetzel, Resident
  • D. Michael Byler, Volunteer
  • Melissa Hevener, Employee

Exemplifying a Spirit of Ministry to Others

The Mildred L. Bender Memorial Fund was established by a loving and grateful family in tribute to a woman whose life and work exemplified a spirit of ministry to others. A life-long member of the Moravian Church, Mrs. Bender spent her final years as a resident of Moravian Manor Communities, where her comfort and concern for others left a lasting impression. Following her death in 1994, a memorial fund was set up in an effort to perpetuate the cherished values she held so dear.

There are two purposes of the fund:

  1. Annually recognize the outstanding service of a Moravian Manor Communities’ resident, volunteer, and employee who best exemplify the ministry, mission, and core values of MMC.
  2. Assist MMC residents needing financial assistance.

Donna WetzelMrs. Donna Wetzel (Resident)

Donna, her husband Jim, and four-legged friend Mia, joined MMC as Pioneers in the first phase of the Warwick Woodlands campus in January 2017.

As a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN),  Donna’s spirit of “helping others” was evident from the beginning. She was most interested in the Lamplighters auxiliary and how she could use her keen eye for up-cycling and crafts to benefit their ministry for raising funds for benevolent care … while providing a resource for cards, gifts, and second-hand treasures for others.

Donna has led our Lamplighters through a transition of leadership. During this time, she and her team have revived and grown the “Lemon Street Boutique” and “Snowy Owl Gift Shop” through COVID-19.

The Lamplighters have many fundraising opportunities for all to participate in, such as the Gift Shop, Artisan Porch Sales, Zook’s Pie sale…Donna is always thinking of others. How to serve others. That is her “business plan.” Though it’s not all “business” for Donna…it’s all about how to serve and provide for others.

Her leadership has brought the Lamplighters into the next generation of finding ways to creatively fund our benevolent services and wish list. A WIN-WIN!

Donna Wetzel exemplifies the Mildred Bender Award and the mission and ministry of Moravian Manor Communities

Mr. D. Michael Byler (Volunteer)

How do MMC staff and residents describe Michael?

  • “Mr. Byler has been a faithful volunteer. His energy, enthusiasm, and friendliness are contagious. He is a true asset.”
  • “Michael is always here for the residents. Talking with them, sharing his stories, and listening to their stories.”
  • “I believe his presence is an extra “gift” for the male residents, who are most likely to encounter more female than male companionship.”
  • “Michael makes social interaction with anyone and everyone look effortless. Everyone is a friend.”

Michael Byler has been a volunteer at MMC since 2017, visiting residents in the care areas on the Founder’s campus. After MMC reopened in April 2021, Michael returned to visit old friends and make some new ones, which he does easily. He is as at home in Herrnhut as he is in the Health Center. It is rare to find this versatility in a volunteer. He is inclusive and kind. That is why people use words like “dedicated,” “an asset,” and “a friend” to describe him. Many thanks for sharing your time and gifts with MMC residents and staff.

Michael Byler exemplifies the Mildred Bender Award and the mission and ministry of Moravian Manor Communities

Melissa HevenerMs. Melissa Hevener (Employee)

As the Senior Unit Secretary and a member of the MMC staff for 41 years, Melissa has shown a strong commitment to excellence during her years of service. She has demonstrated a dedication to the mission and has shown resilience in the face of numerous changes and challenges throughout the years.

She is praised by her nurses for her efficiency and knowledge in managing orders, admissions, and discharges and for her ability to navigate systems to find relevant clinical information in a time-sensitive fashion. She is praised for her initiative and attention to detail. These traits are extremely helpful in maintaining a strong reputation for compliance during surveys.

Melissa has altered her schedule voluntarily on a number of occasions, such as weekends and off hours, to help with admissions and testing.

The doctors, administrators, infection control specialist, her supervisor, the MDS department, and charge nurses have all come to trust in and appreciate her ability to provide guidance and assistance in numerous clinical duties. Melissa has been recognized and praised by many for the quality of training she provides to RNs and LPNs in navigating various health portals.

Call offs are rare with Melissa, and she has been a steady force through even the most challenging of times.

Melissa Hevener exemplifies the Mildred Bender Award and the mission and ministry of Moravian Manor Communities.