By: Jon Anderson, PT, Therapy Resource
It is with great pride and admiration that we announce the recipient of this year’s Natalie Blasczienski Award: Mark Woods. Mark was honored for this accomplishment at the Annual Therapy Leadership meeting and at a celebration held at his facility. This prestigious award, created in memory of the extraordinary Natalie Blasczienski, recognizes therapy leaders who exemplify the qualities that made Natalie such an incredible human being. Natalie’s unwavering dedication to helping others, her love for her family and friends, and her remarkable spirit continue to inspire us all.
Mark Woods, the Director of Rehabilitation (DOR) at Pleasant Valley Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Garland, Texas, has made a lasting impact on his team, the facility, and its residents. Through a rigorous nomination process, Therapy teams from across our affiliates shared countless stories of Mark’s unconditional love, unwavering dedication, and strong leadership, especially in times of adversity.
Mark’s morning inspirational texts, appreciation for his team’s growth, and weekend grilling sessions for PRN staff are just a few examples of how he consistently demonstrates his love and support for his team. His kind-hearted actions, such as providing a ride to a resident who would have otherwise missed church service, show his genuine compassion for the people he serves.
In his relatively short time as a DOR, Mark has already had a significant impact on his facility. By leading meetings focused on the question, “Would you send your loved one here?”, Mark has driven positive change and improvement in the resident experience. His commitment to education and professional development has resulted in the addition of 14 new full-time team members and the implementation of evidence-based programs that have improved quality measures.
Mark’s exceptional leadership was particularly evident during the Texas snow apocalypse, when he worked tirelessly at the facility, helping residents and cleaning up after multiple bursting pipes, or through his thoughtful support for a staff member facing the devastating loss of her child. These efforts further underscore his compassionate nature and unwavering dedication to his team.
We are thrilled to honor Mark Woods with the 2023 Natalie Blasczienski Award. His inspiring actions, devotion to his team, and embodiment of the qualities that made Natalie such a remarkable individual make him more than deserving of this prestigious recognition. Congratulations, Mark, and thank you for your continued dedication to enriching the lives of those around you.